Sussex County has reached a tentative contract with the union representing county workers, Chris Carney, director of the Board of County Commissioners, said at the board’s meeting Jan. 25.
The contract still needed to be voted on by the Communications Workers of America membership, he said.
Negotiations began in November and an agreement was reached Jan. 23. The previous three-year contract expired Dec. 31.
“There were promises made to employees regarding improved communications and that will be a promise that we keep,” Carney said.
Late last year, union representatives had said some county employees’ salaries were so low that they qualified for food stamps, subsidized heating fuel and other public welfare programs.
Commissioner Jill Space pointed out that the relationship between the Board of County Commissioners and county employees has improved in the past five years.
”This board all had a very open mind about listening to what would be fair and equitable and still respect the taxpayers and respect our county workers who in some areas really were woefully underpaid as a trend for years,” she said.
During the public-comments section of that meeting, Matt Wolff, a Sussex Borough resident and county employee, said he is not happy with the new contract.
He pointed to new equipment that the county has purchased. “We wonder as a worker, you got money for this, you got money for that. We got six new tandems, we got a $500,000 machine coming. You have no money, really?
“It seems like there’s always money for the Sheriff’s Department,” he added.