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EMS union chief returns to ambulance

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 by Jo Clifton

City Council on Thursday will take up Council Member Ann Kitchen’s resolution directing that the city manager “immediately take all necessary steps to continue all provisions of the previous contract except where prohibited by state law” for its Emergency Medical Services personnel. The previous labor agreement between the city and the Austin-Travis County EMS Employee Association expired on Oct. 30, as the Austin Monitor previously reported. Council Member Leslie Pool said during Tuesday’s work session that she wanted to make sure that the union’s representative, Tony Marquardt, could continue his work for the union. After Tuesday’s meeting, Marquardt told the Monitor that because of the lapse in the contract he was now back on an ambulance full time. The city’s Law Department expects to present an ordinance enacting as much of the old contract as possible for Council approval on Dec. 7, the next meeting after this week. However, Marquardt said he did not believe that it was necessary to pass the ordinance and that the union might have objections to some parts of it. The city’s interim labor officer, Larry Watts, said it is absolutely necessary to have the ordinance but indicated that there are some things that an ordinance cannot do because of state civil service law. One of those things might be allowing Marquardt to represent the union on a full-time basis. But the EMS chief can place Marquardt on administrative leave in order to take care of union business, which is what will allow Marquardt to attend this Thursday’s Council meeting, Watts said.

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