The Osage Beach Board of Aldermen has taken the first step in establishing a collective bargaining process for city employees.

The Osage Beach Board of Aldermen has taken the first step in establishing a collective bargaining process for city employees.

The board held the first reading of an ordinance that sets out a structure for the designation of a bargaining unit, a bargaining agent and the bargaining process. The vote was unanimous.

City Attorney Ed Rucker said the Missouri Supreme Court has held that public employees are entitled to collective bargaining rights similar to employees in the private sector. If a city does not have an ordinance to manage the collective bargaining process, the courts could step in and order the process.

According to the ordinance, which will be considered for its second reading at the April 4 board meeting, any labor organization seeking designation as a bargaining agent to represent employees must submit a written description of the bargaining unit sought. Within 14 days, the mayor and board of aldermen will appoint a three-person recognition committee consisting of the city administrator and two members from the board of aldermen.

The committee then has three options:

•Agree to the unit

•Send the description back to the labor organization for clarification.

•Reject the unit as being inappropriate with specific written reasons

The labor organization can either accept the committee's decision or appeal to the board of aldermen within 14 days.

Within 45 days of the bargaining unit being established, a secret election would be held to determine whether the majority of employees in the unit want to be represented by the labor organization for collective bargaining.

Bond issue support

The board of aldermen approved resolutions in support of the Camdenton School and School of the Osage school districts.

Phyllis Morose, a Camdenton School District resident, spoke to the board during Citizen's Communications and promoted the Camdenton School's bond issue. She urged the board to adopt a resolution supporting the issue. It passed unanimously.

Alderman Kevin Rucker, a resident of the School of the Osage School District, said the board should do the same for the Osage District bond issue. There was limited discussion on the different between the bond issues since Camdenton's is a no-tax-increase referendum, and Osage's calls for a 12.9-cent increase in the tax levy. Aldermen unanimously approved a resolution backing the Osage issue.

City parks

Improving and then maintaining the quality of the city's parks was on the minds of aldermen as they decided to spend more than what was budgeted for turf management.

The city operates eight sports fields at two parks — The City Park off Osage Beach Parkway and Peanick Park off Highway 42. There are five baseball/softball fields and three soccer fields.

Proposals were sought for turf maintenance including fertilizing, seeding, aerating, etc. Aldermen agreed that the city's parks are important to attracting visitors to the lake and to providing quality sports fields for youth and adults.

"We need to get the fields started in the right direction," Alderman John Olivarri said. "If we don't now, when will we? I don't want to see us do this half way."

City Planner Cary Patterson, a sports enthusiast, said the city has a brand new City Park but hasn't done anything to build a turf program. There are algae issues and domestic grass is beginning to affect the quality of the fields.

"We need to build our turf or we're not going to have the quality of fields we envisioned when the park was built," he offered.

As a result, the board voted to accept the proposal of TurfMark Services, LLC, of Osage Beach in the amount of $36,400.

City staff had recommended the proposal of Lake Ozark Grounds Maintenance, LLC, for $16,852. However, aldermen decided the TurfMark program was more in line with long-term management of the parks.

Other business

The board also:

•Agreed to send a letter of support on behalf of Ameren Missouri which is joining forces with the state's other two members of the Missouri Electric Alliance in support of Missouri House and Senate bills that would modernize the regulatory framework of electric utilities.

•Approved the purchase of water treatment and odor control chemicals from DPC Enterprises and Brenntag.

•Approved a bid for a 2011 John Deere bunker and infield rake with light for $12,097.79.