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Union urges changes in crossing guard contract

Crossing guard
Crossing guard

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) – A regional union representative wants Wausau to scrap a contract privatizing crossing guard services.

“This contract...was unilaterally decided by an individual in the city of Wausau,” AFSCME Council 40 staff representative John Spiegelhoff told the City Council last week. “Those decisions should not be made unilaterally by one person.”

Police Chief Jeff Hardel, who signed a three-year deal in August with All City Management Services on Wausau's behalf, did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday.

Hardel has said the city outsourced the guards because a police lieutenant was spending 10 percent of his time coordinating the crossing guards and because police were pulling patrol officers off of the streets to fill in for crossing guards when they called in sick. The contract can be renewed for another three-term when it expires in June 2014.

Spiegelhoff said the contract will cost the city at least $18,000 more than it had budgeted for crossing guard services.

“When one would consider the privatization of services in a municipality, I would suspect that the costs are paramount and that those costs should decrease,” he said.

Hardel said last month that the contract will pay for itself in the money the city will save on liability, workers compensation and other expenses.