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2014, but then-Interim County Administrator Tom Harmer rejected that request last fall. In January, the commission offered a halfway counter-offer: a $1,000 lump sum plus a 3 per- cent raise for fiscal year 2014. That offer was good enough for the union, which OK'd the deal with a vote held Feb. 13. The Board of County Commissioners should vote next Wednesday, March 5, to officially ratify the deal. But that doesn't mean any long-term issues have been settled. The current three-year contract, since it was to begin in 2011, is already set to expire this October. According to Teamsters International Representative Mike McElmury, that means the union will be back at the negotiating table with the county come April. McElmury calls the situation "ridiculous." After more than 30 bargaining sessions, the union was forced to request the impasse hear- ing that led to the public meeting last month. "We negotiated with the city and in seven ses- sions of bargaining we came to an agreement with them," McElmury says. The county's Employee & Labor Relations Department declined to comment on the contract since the board still needs to ratify the agreement. McElmury, for one, hopes the recent steps toward consensus could make the next go-'round easier. "We're pushing very hard to get the high-dol- lar attorney they hired out of Jacksonville out of the picture," McElmury says, referring to John Dickinson, a partner at Constangy, Brooks & Smith. "We felt we didn't make any progress till the board actually dealt with us in person. If they keep him, I see more prob- lems taking place." % • Gene Burgess and Melonie Burgess, licensed acupuncture physicians • Serving Sarasota since 2008 • Treatment rates are on a sliding scale, from $15-$35; new patients pay a one-time additional fee of $10 AFFORDABLE ACUPUNCTURE FOR EVERYONE 3615 Webber St • Sarasota, FL 34232 (941) 922-4611 Open Tuesday through Saturday Our Mission To provide our community with high quality and affordable acupuncture and herbal medicine and to create a treatment space that connects people and builds community. Click for larger map and driving directions Click To Schedule An Appointment Online MENTION THIS AD TO RECEIVE $5 OFF THE NEW PATIENT FEE Sarasota News Leader February 28, 2014 Page 57

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