The Press-Dispatch

January 26, 2022

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READER GUIDE Subscriptions: Change of address: subscribers changing addresses will please give old address as well as new one along with phone number. We cannot guarantee prompt change unless this is done. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Press-Dis- patch., P.O. Box 68, Petersburg, IN 47567-0068 or e-mail to Subscription rates: One year: $35 for Pike County and all 475/476 zip codes; $38 in the state of Indiana; $55 elsewhere in the USA. Paid in advance. Subscrip- tions taken after noon on Friday will not receive a pa- per until the second edition after their subscription date. About us: Andy Heuring and John B. Heuring, Pub- lishers Andy Heuring, Editor John B. Heuring, Adv. Mgr. Sherri Sebella, Reporter Eric Gogel, Production Mgr. Monica Sinclair, Office Mgr. Cindy Petty, Adv. Sales Pam Lemond, Adv. Sales Brakston Farrar, Designer • • • Published every Wednesday by the Pike County Pub- lishing Co. Phone: 812-354-8500 820 E. Poplar St., P.O. Box 68, Petersburg, IN 47567- 0068 • • • Entered in the Post Office in Petersburg, Indiana for transmission through the mails as Periodical Mail, postage paid at Petersburg, Indiana – published weekly. (USPS 205-620) Contact us: Phone: .....................................................812-354-8500 Fax: ......................................................... 812-354-2014 Andy Heuring, Editor Advertising General News Circulation subscribe@pressdispatch. net A-4 Wednesday, Januar y 12, 2022 The Press-Dispatch Submit East Gibson news items: Call: 812-354-8500 Email: or bring in a hard copy: 820 E. Poplar Street, Petersburg EAST GIBSON Commissioners, council to negotiate with union By Janice Barniak County Commissioners and County Council members will meet to discuss the county's po- tential contract with Teamsters af- ter a disagreement about employ- ee benefits that began this year. The Gibson County Council has said extra holidays, changes in taking sick time and more will ultimately affect the county's bot- tom line, while commissioners say the extra perks and days are essen- tially free benefits that make up for previous years when employ- ees got less. Moreover, the county council has asked what the coun- ty government received as conces- sions in negotiations that they saw as less to taxpayers' benefits. "If council president Overton wants to work with commission- ers, he should be here tonight. He should be here tonight and talking to us, and working things out," said Commissioner Warren Fleetwood. "He was tested this morning for COVID and does not have the re- sults back yet," said attorney Jason Spindler, before the two commis- sioners agreed to set an executive session and meet with the coun- ty council. "We need to come to an agree- ment," said Commissioner Mary Key. "Let's make this as peaceful and organized as we possibly can." Commissioner Kenneth Mont- gomery, who negotiated the con- tract with the Teamsters, said he will not attend. "The council has never done that before, wanted in on negoti- ation. And I say to heck with it," he said. "Even if it don't pertain to money, we got to have the council in on it? Bull crap. It doesn't work that way." "By Indiana Code, it doesn't work that way," said Key. "I'm not going to meet with them, because they don't have the right," Montgomery said. Union represntative Rick Boyles, who negotiated the contract with Montgomery, said the employees voted to approve it in good faith, and were told a majority of com- missioners supported the changes. "All of a sudden the council is coming in trying to change things." Boyles said. "I don't un- derstand...In fairness, I was deal- ing with the person you guys com- mitted to negotiate with." Key said she hadn't seen the changes to the contract until the morning after employees voted, so she was not in the majority that was okay with the contract, although that doesn't mean she disagrees with it. She added she still hasn't seen an EMS negotiat- ed contract either. County auditor Mike Watkins said he had questions about wheth- er the public sector followed some of the same rules on labor that the private sector did, as far as over- time, because in his time in the pri- vate sector, he had to be sure to pay the overtime or he'd be in trou- ble with the Dept. of Labor. "We don't listen to federal laws," joked Montgomery. The auditor pretended to be stabbed in the heart by the words. "Your fingers were crossed, right Kenny," quipped attorney Jason Spindler. "Are they going to fire me? " joked Montgomery. From the audience, however, commissioners heard criticism that they didn't need an attorney to mediate as it was "not a divorce," and that they should just approve the contract as was within their right. "What is the problem here? Vote on the damn contract and get on with it so we all can go home," said Cecil "Bob" Allen. "You guys should ratify this with no problem whatsoever." Spindler told the audience the council had budgeted but not passed a 50 cent an hour pay raise, working out to $20 a week, and it would be possible for the council to withhold that — based on costs they anticipate in the contract or another reason. Boyles said county employees are stuck in the middle and, if the contract changes, they will vote again. "It's very disappointing commis- sioners...There's no settlement. This is the contract we negotiat- ed," he said. The commissioners voted 2-1 to meet with the council in executive session, with Montgomery as the dissenting vote. TROJANS EDGED BY CHARGERS Gibson County COVID cases at local high By Janice Barniak Health Dept. Director Diane Hornby told com- missioners last week that while the Gibson Coun- ty Health Dept.'s previous high case per day av- erage was 35, that number, as of Jan. 18, was 86.1 new cases per day. The county is out of rapid tests and they do not know when they will get more. "Obviously if you're going to do anything, do it now. I'm asking the community to do whatever you can to slow this down. The whole state of In- diana is red. There's not one yellow county in the whole state. We're in a mess. The schools are call- ing me, and we're at the levels where we're going to have to go virtual again to get things slowed down," Hornby said. Some of the cases are people who are vacci- nated, some people are on their second bout of COVID, said Commissioner Mary Key, and Horn- by agreed. She added that just because the CDC quaran- tine says five days, that's only for people who feel better and can keep a mask on. "However, a business can opt to let them stay out for 10 days," Hornby said, and the health de- partment is going to allow that for their own em- ployees. Commissioner Kenneth Montgomery said it was common to have sinus or small issues this time of year, but when people cough now, every- one moves away, as Commissioner Key did when he coughed. "You were coughing hard, boy. Why take a chance," she joked. Trojan sophomore Hayden Mellette jumps up through some Charger players to shoot the ball during the Wood Memorial boys' junior varsity game at Pike Central on January 15. Ayden Clark, Trojan sophomore, jumps up for the shot, getting fouled during the Wood Memorial boys' junior varsity game at Pike Central on Saturday, January 15. Trojan junior Alton Falls dribbles the ball down the court with a Charger guard on him during the Wood Memorial boys' varsity game at Pike Central on Saturday, January 15. Will Morton, Trojan sophomore, looks for an open teammate to pass the ball to during the Wood Memorial boys' varsity game. Trojan senior Owen Day takes the ball down the court and into the key around his guard during the Wood Memorial boys' varsity game at Pike Central on Saturday, January 15. Reese Morton, Trojan senior, jumps up to shoot the ball over the top of two Charger players during the Wood Memorial boys' varsity game.

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