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BART managers get 3.7% raise, hire consultant to help them deal with unions

Raise percentages same as those given to end union strike last year

BART directors voted unanimously Thursday to give raises totaling about 3.7% this year to General Manager Grace Crunican and other top officials at the transit agency.

The percentage increase in compensation and benefits for the top executives is the same that employees represented by labor unions received in

a new contract that was approved early this year, BART spokesman Jim Allison said.

That's in line with BART's historical practice of giving similar raises to top officials to those it gives to rank-and-file workers, he said.

BART directors voted to give Crunican and the other top executives raises of 1.86% retroactive to Jan. 1 plus another 1.8% increase on July 1, according to Allison.

Crunican's raise will increase the $323,200 compensation and benefit package she received in 2013.

The other top officials affected by the vote today are general counsel Matthew Burrows, controller-treasurer Scott Schroeder, district secretary Kenneth Duran and independent police auditor Mark Smith.

At the same time, BART directors voted to spend up to $250,000 to hire a consultant they hope will help them improve contract talks with employees and avoid strikes in the future.

The board's vote calls for Rhonda Hilyer of Agreement Dynamics, Inc., which is based in the Seattle area, to look at every aspect of how the

transit agency negotiates contracts, including a system of checks and balances to prevent errors.

BART management's contract negotiations with employees lasted more than eight months last year and early this year and resulted in two four-day

strikes.

In addition, after a tentative agreement was reached in late October, BART management claimed in early November that there was a glitch and it hadn't meant to include a provision for paid family medical leave.

A dispute over the medical leave provision led to more labor tension before a resolution was finally reached in late December. A new labor agreement was finally approved by both sides in early January.

BART's board of directors recently established a special review committee to investigate BART's labor negotiations policies and practices from top to bottom and to make recommendations to the board and General Manager Grace Crunican to improve future negotiations.

That committee recommended hiring Hilyer.

Hilyer will work closely with committee members and will interview people who are involved in labor negotiations and evaluate the relationships

and communications among those who were involved in the most recent negotiations,

Her contract will be paid out Crunican's operating budget.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

— Bay City News Service

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