After more than three months of negotiations, the Oxnard City Council this week ratified a contract with its employees union.
More than 300 clerical, technical and professional employees represented by the Public Employees Assn. of Ventura County have worked without a contract since July 8.
The new contract provides a 3.9% salary increase in January, with an additional 2.25% increase to some employees in June.
A medical benefits increase of $50 per employee per month is retroactive to Aug. 6.
The council voted 3 to 0 to ratify the contract. Council members Geraldine Furr and Manuel Lopez were absent.
While "it's not a bad adjustment," the contract still fails to compensate Oxnard employees as much as workers in cities of comparable size, said Barry Hammitt, union director. Oxnard employees earn about 30% less than their counterparts in comparable cities, he claimed.
The ratification comes in the midst of serious budget problems in Oxnard. Struggling to complete this fiscal year without drawing from reserves, the city must chop expenses by about $750,000, City Manager David Mora said.
The city in recent weeks has announced that it will eliminate its director of economic development, a position held by Mike Haviland, for a savings of $60,000. The Economic Development Department will be combined with the Redevelopment Department on Oct. 27.
The City Council also eliminated a deputy city attorney's position, held by David Kennedy, who had started work Sept. 25.
The city announced two weeks ago that its estimated 1988-89 revenue is about $1.7 million less than expected, while expenditures are about $850,000 more.
In June, the council adopted a 1989-90 budget with service-level reductions of $1.9 million.
At the same time, the council withdrew $805,000 from reserve funds, which it has been forced to do several times since the 1986-87 fiscal year.
Oxnard remains at an impasse with the its firefighters union. The 87 union members have repeatedly criticized the council for failure to meet their contract demands and for cutting fire services to save money.