JAY – Selectpersons voted unanimously Monday night to approve a two-year union contract with Town Office staff that is expected to save the town nearly $300 to $400 a month on health insurance, Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said Tuesday. The action followed an executive session.

The contract is for July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2019. The pact with the United Steelworkers covers one full-time deputy tax collector and one part-time deputy town clerk.

Employee benefits in contracts were a hot issue with townspeople during budget talks earlier this year. They continually asked selectpersons to reduce benefits.

There will be no wage increase in year one, LaFreniere said.

A wage reopener clause will allow for discussion of wages in year two, she said. Another wage reopener will kick in if there is significant loss in value to the town.

Health insurance coverage will change from the Maine Municipal Association to Allegiant Care, resulting in a premium reduction for the town of nearly $300 to $400 per month, depending on coverage.

The health insurance change will go into effect in October.

Allegiant Care was formerly known as Northern New England Benefit Trust.

The part-time employee does not have the health insurance benefit.

The contract eliminates longevity, reduces earned-time off and changes the retirement for new employees, LaFreniere said.

It also eliminates tuition reimbursement and education stipends for continuing education courses, reduces the sell-back of earned time such as for floating holidays and vacations, she said.

It eliminates the town’s $100 contribution to employee’s flexible spending account.

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