SALEM COUNCIL Law firm to help in talks

A service organization has a special contest planned for later this summer.
SALEM -- City council has agreed to hire a Cleveland law firm to aid it in labor contract negotiations with its safety forces.
Council approved a measure Tuesday hiring Pepple & amp; Waggoner for the job at $175 an hour.
City officials are hiring Pepple & amp; Waggoner because negotiations with the city's police and fire unions have stalled, said Councilwoman Nancy Cope, R-at-large, and a member of the city's negotiating team.
Cope wouldn't comment on what the sticking points in negotiations have been.
Negotiations with firefighters are before a fact finder who will recommend a settlement. If the two sides can't agree on the recommended settlement, the matter will be transferred to binding arbitration.
Talks with the police union have yet to reach the fact-finder stage.
Contracts with both unions expired Sunday. The safety forces are working under their old contracts until a settlement is reached.
Also on agenda
In other matters, council approved the Salem Lions Club's proposal to hold a frog-jumping contest at 1 p.m. Aug. 3 in the municipal parking lot near Penn and Pershing streets.
Proceeds will go to the Lions for community-related projects.
"I think it's a neat idea, not only to raise funds but to have fun," said Councilwoman Alma Apicella, R-at-large.
Council gave the first of three required readings to a proposal to rezone to commercial the property on North Lincoln Avenue occupied by the Salem YWCA.
The YWCA is selling the property, which is zoned residential, said council President Dave Ventresco.
The YWCA is combining its operations with the Salem Community Center, which is expected to open this fall.
No plans for the YWCA building have been announced, Ventresco said.
Now that council has given the rezoning matter its first reading, it is being referred to the city planning commission for further review.

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