Elizabeth Nelson's City Council Blog

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I write a City Council newsletter with my summary of agenda items coming before City Council. Sign up to receive it first via email, or read it here later on this blog.
I post charts of how Council voted after each meeting, and also post my perspectives on how issues were resolved. I post news that affects Ward 4 residents tagged with "Ward 4 News", with construction updates also tagged "Construction 2021". News that affects all city residents is tagged with "City News".

City Council Newsletter (June 19, 2021)

Hello neighbors!

Welcome to everyone who is new to this newsletter! Before every Council meeting, I write up my own summary of each agenda item and try to pull details that I think are most relevant to understanding them. My hope is that these summaries can help residents keep track of what City Council is doing. For issues that matter to you, I encourage you to follow links (next to each agenda item) to the City's Legistar website, where you can find all the background information.


This week’s regular agenda is fairly short, though the Consent Agenda is quite long. We will have second reading (final approval) for amendments to our Non-discrimination ordinance, first reading for amendments to the ICPOC (Independent Community Police Oversight Commission) ordinance, and two contracts related to solid waste/recycling (DS-1 and DC-4).



Ward 4 news of interest: plans for the former Lucky’s grocery store (1919 S. Industrial) were announced this week. This proposal comes from the same company (Prentice4M) that recently built the development on Henry Street nearby. The architect for the project is Lisa Sauve (Synecdoche Design Studio), who also sits on the City Planning Commission. To read more about this project, see their press release:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/prentice4m-announces-4m-city-club-creating-15-minute-neighborhood-in-ann-arbor-301313381.html



One of my favorite Ward 4 residents is State Representative Yousef Rabhi, who is now finishing his last term (due to term limits). This week, I was excited to learn that my friend and County Commissioner Jason Morgan plans to run for that seat. If you would like to find out more about Jason’s campaign to represent us in the State legislature, you can find it here:

https://www.votejasonmorgan.com



This week Governor Whitmer announced plans to lift restrictions and open the state to ‘full capacity’ on Tuesday, June 22. The announcement can be found here:

https://www.michigan.gov/whitmer/0,9309,7-387-90499_90640-562084--y,00.html



As we return to something close to pre-pandemic “normal,” I am reflecting on all we have done to adapt and cope these last fifteen months. It is particularly remarkable how various community organizations and businesses have worked through challenges since March 2020. I believe this is a measure of who we are as a community, how strong we are. I’ve started interviewing community leaders who have led organizations through this pandemic— I know there are many stories to be told. My first two interviews are with organizations I know well: the Ann Arbor Thrift Shop (where I volunteer) and Trinity Lutheran Church (which employs me at their preschool). Below are links to those two interviews. I will be doing more interviews this summer. If you are interested in hearing about - or sharing! - the story of another organization or business in town that worked through this pandemic, please reach out.


Interview with Mari Arno

President, Ann Arbor Thrift Shop

https://youtu.be/P19EIJ0tQIc


Interview with Pastor Lori Carey

Trinity Lutheran Church

https://youtu.be/5D2mU55vQWs

Barrier Busters

Residents in need of financial help during this crisis (e.g. to avoid eviction, pay utility bills, cover emergency medical expenses) can find resources at this link:

https://www.washtenaw.org/2818/Barrier-Buster-Agency-Provider-List


Housing Access for Washtenaw County

Housing Access for Washtenaw County (HAWC) is Washtenaw County’s central intake for individuals and families who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness. If you are homeless or experiencing a housing crisis, please call HAWC at (734) 961-1999

http://www.housingaccess.net/


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Coffee Hours

Sunday June 20th 3:00pm

I hold coffee hours Sunday afternoons at 3pm before City Council meetings. This week I will be holding in-person coffee hours at Las Vegas Park. If you can, please bring a chair.

https://www.a2gov.org/departments/Parks-Recreation/parks-places/pages/lasvegas.aspx


Council Caucus

Council Caucus on Sunday nights before Council meetings is suspended for the summer.


City Council Regular Meeting

Monday June 21st 7:00pm

My summary of this Council meeting agenda is posted below in this newsletter.

https://a2gov.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=829773&GUID=A74E5A71-A5E8-484E-8F77-89FFB48E61E8


Note that Council is still meeting "virtually" using the Zoom application. Video feeds of Council meetings are broadcast on CTN and YouTube. Public comment is audio only using dial-in numbers. Please check the Legistar link for the latest information.

A2ELNEL.com Website Updates

In addition to writing this newsletter, I post updates to my website with my perspectives on how issues were resolved at City Council and details on how Council voted at each meeting. I also post information about meetings and issues that affect Ward 4 residents, along with news that affects all city residents.

You can see a listing of all my posts here: https://www.a2elnel.com/blog/

City Council Voting Chart for June 7, 2021

https://www.a2elnel.com/post/city-council-voting-chart-for-june-7-2021


Juneteenth 2021 Community March and Virtual Program

There will be a march today 10AM to noon from from Fuller Park to Wheeler Park, followed by a virtual program at 1PM.

https://www.a2elnel.com/post/juneteenth-2021-community-march-and-virtual-program


Aging In Place Efficiently Forum June 29, 2021

The City of Ann Arbor is looking for 25 homes to collaborate with on the Aging In Place Efficiently pilot program, and is hosting a virtual forum on Tuesday June 29, 2021 at 2PM to explain the program.

https://www.a2elnel.com/post/aging-in-place-efficiently-forum-june-29-2021


Industrial Highway Detour Update (June 9th - July 23rd 2021)

The temporary traffic control plan on South Industrial Highway was altered June 9th. During this period of construction, no right turns onto Stimson from South Industrial will be allowed.

https://www.a2elnel.com/post/industrial-highway-detour-update-june-9th-july-23rd-2021


Packard Lane Closures June 14-25, 2021

There are intermittent lane closures on Packard Street between Stone School Road and Independence Boulevard.

https://www.a2elnel.com/post/packard-lane-closures-june-14-25-2021


Eastover, Ferdon, Crestland, Saint Francis Resurfacing June 21-July 1, 2021

Resurfacing on Eastover Place, Ferdon Road, Crestland Drive and Saint Francis Drive begins Tuesday, June 22.

https://www.a2elnel.com/post/eastover-ferdon-crestland-saint-francis-resurfacing-june-21-july-1-2021


Proposed City Acceptance of Connector Walks (Delaware, Morehead)

The City is proposing to accept "connector walks" as sidewalks near Deleware Dr, Delaware Ct, Morehead Dr, Morehead Ct. This is expected to be on the Aug 16, 2021 Council agenda.

https://www.a2elnel.com/post/proposed-city-acceptance-of-connector-walks-delaware-morehead

A2COUNCIL Updates (A2COUNCIL.com)

For anyone interested in understanding and analyzing the recent work of Council, I have created a resource at A2COUNCIL.com with summaries of issues and direct links to City documents. For each City Council meeting since November 2018, you can find links to the City's Legistar website, CTN's YouTube video, and links to my newsletters and voting charts. I have listed agenda items of interest from each meeting, along with articles I've written and articles published on MLive.

https://www.a2elnel.com/a2council

http://a2council.com

Council Meeting Agenda 6/21/21

Below is my summary of some issues on the City Council Agenda this week, with links to more information about each of them. If you have comments about any of these issues, feel free to email me at my official City email: ENelson@A2gov.org

The full agenda (including a link to the latest published PDF agenda) can be found on the A2Gov Legistar website:

https://a2gov.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=829773&GUID=A74E5A71-A5E8-484E-8F77-89FFB48E61E8

Ann Arbor City Council Monday June 21st (7:00pm) Electronic Meeting


City Council meetings are broadcast live by CTN on Comcast (channel 16) and AT&T (channel 99). They are also streamed live on YouTube and Viebit: https://www.youtube.com/user/ctnannarbor

Questions to the Agenda

In preparation for a Council meeting, Council members can ask questions of staff about scheduled agenda items. Questions must be submitted by noon on the Wednesday before a Council Meeting, and answers are returned the next day (Thursday) by 5pm.

AC-1 (21-1200) Agenda Response Memo and eComments - June 21, 2021

This agenda item has a PDF attachment with all questions raised by Council Members, and the answers provided by staff.

Communications from the Mayor


MC-1 (21-1030) Appointments - Confirmations

These appointments from the Mayor were presented at the previous meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting.

  • Marianetta Porter - Ann Arbor Public Arts Commission

  • Hugh Flack - Building Board of Appeals

  • Robert Hart - Building Board of Appeals

  • Lynn Nybell - Elizabeth Dean Fund

  • Angela Rasmussen - Housing Board of Appeals

  • Lisa Stelter - Housing Board of Appeals

  • Jason Talley - Housing and Human Services Advisory Board

Consent Agenda

Below is the list of items included on the Consent Agenda. If no one on Council specifically requests that an item be pulled for discussion, the whole of this list will be approved in a single vote. I encourage you to look at this list and offer suggestions to me about anything you would like to see pulled for discussion.


CA-1 (21-0848) Resolution to Approve Amendment Number 5, to the Professional Services Agreement with Tetra Tech, Inc. for the Ann Arbor Landfill Monitoring and Maintenance Program (additional $380,111.00, contingency $40,000.00 for a total contract value of $1,233,653.73).


CA-2 (21-1107) Resolution to Approve Amendment Number 3 to Contract with Waste Management of Michigan, Inc. for Commercial Refuse Collection Services (estimated $4,342,600.00 for an Estimated Total Contract Value of $20,172,000.00)


CA-3 (21-1027) Resolution to Approve Purchase of Liquid Oxygen for Water Treatment Plant Services from Matheson Tri-Gas Bid No. ITB-4682 (estimated $80,000.00/year)


CA-4 (21-0951) Resolution to Adopt Final Project Plan for the Barton Pump Station Valve Improvement Project and Designate an Authorized Project Representative


CA-5 (21-1016) Resolution to Authorize a Sole Source Purchase Order to Spring City Electrical Manufacturing Company in the amount of $42,510.00 for Street Light Poles and Associated Fixtures and Luminaires


CA-6 (21-1025) Resolution to Award a Construction Contract to Corby Energy Services, Inc. for the 2021 Streetlight Replacement and Painting Project ($974,510.00, ITB 4679)


CA-7 (21-0609) Resolution to Approve a Contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation for the Plymouth Road Resurfacing Phase II Project ($1,299,868.00)


CA-8 (21-1019) Resolution to Extend the Contract with P.K. Contracting, Inc. for Pavement Marking Maintenance - FY2022 ($445,000.00)


CA-9 (21-1022) Resolution to Approve a Right-of-Way License Agreement with Spin, Inc., for the Operation of Electric Scooters in the City of Ann Arbor


CA-10 (21-1015) Resolution to Award a Contract in the Amount of $215,030.64 to P.K. Contracting, Inc. for the 2021 Healthy Streets Deployment (ITB No. 4678, Estimated Total Project Cost of $353,973.00)


CA-11 (21-1018) Resolution to Approve a Contract with Applied Handling, Inc. for ITB #4681 - New Garage Doors at Fire Station 1 ($67,464) (8 Votes Required)


CA-12 (21-1097) Resolution to Approve Increasing the Purchase Order for Alternative Communication Services, LLC ($31,596.25)


CA-13 (21-1049) Resolution to Accept a Fair Food Network Grant for the Ann Arbor Farmers Market for $30,000.00 and Appropriate Funds (8 votes required)


CA-14 (21-1068) Resolution to Approve an Amendment to the Purchase Order with Schindler Elevator Corporation for Maintenance, Inspection and Repair Services (Not to Exceed $10,000.00)


CA-15 (21-1090) Resolution to Amend the Fleet and Facility Unit FY 2021 Budget by Appropriating Funds and to Approve the Purchase of Vehicles from National Auto Fleet Group (Sourcewell Bid - $305,219.60) (8 Votes Required)


CA-16 (21-1069) Resolution to Approve May 20, 2021 Recommendations of the Board of Insurance Administration for Insurance Renewal Agreements with Midwest Employers’ Casualty, CompOne Administrators, and Allianz


CA-17 (21-1033) Resolution to Approve a Purchase Order with Axon Enterprise, Inc. for Axon Taser and Body Worn Camera Upgrades and Related Five-Year Addendum ($915,177 Total)


CA-18 (21-1067) Resolution to Approve a Contract with Governmental Consultant Services, Inc. for Lobbying Services ($48,000.00)


CA-19 (21-1062) Resolution to Approve a Contract with Ann Arbor SPARK for Economic Development Services ($75,000.00)


CA-20 (21-1139) Resolution to Approve the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the City of Ann Arbor and the Command Officers Association of Michigan, effective January 1, 2021 - December 31, 2023


CA-21 (21-1017) Resolution to Approve the Settlement and Mutual Release Agreement between the City of Ann Arbor and Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to Resolve Challenges to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Program (NPDES) Permit for the City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant


CA-22 (21-1169) Resolution to Approve a Professional Services Agreement with Rivenoak Law Group, P.C. for Legal Services Relative to Sustainability Initiatives ($50,000 annually)


CA-23 (21-1093) Resolution to Increase Downtown Development Authority FY22 Budget ($554,704) (8 Votes Required)


CA-24 (21-1041) Resolution to Amend Ann Arbor City Budget for Fiscal Year 2021 (8 Votes Required)

Public Hearings

Anyone wanting to comment on these issues may speak for 3 minutes, without having specifically reserved time. Issues subject to public hearing will also be up for a vote by Council later in the meeting.

PH-1/B-1 (21-1042) An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 112 (Non-Discrimination), Section 9:151, Title IX of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor to Add Definition of Race to Include Prohibition Against Race-Based Hair Discrimination (ORD-21-18)

The City’s non-discrimination ordinance will be amended to add protections for Race-Based hair discrimination by referencing “traits historically associated with race.” Amendments include specific mention of hairstyles such as “braids, locks, twists, and wraps.”

Ordinances - Second Reading

In order to amend the city code, Council must vote to approve the change, via ordinance, at two Council meetings. The following proposed ordinances were approved at a previous Council meeting, and are also subject to a public hearing as listed above.

B-1 (21-1042) is the same as PH-1 above.

Ordinances - First Reading

In order to amend the city code, Council must vote to approve the change, via ordinance, at two Council meetings. The following proposed ordinances are being introduced for "first reading". If approved, the ordinance will be voted on at a subsequent Council meeting ("second reading"), where it will also be subject to a public hearing.

C-1 (21-1208) An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 8 (Organization of Boards and Commissions), Sections 1:214 and 1:215, Title I of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor To Amend Commission Appointment Process, Add Exceptions to Allow Earlier Review of Incidents in Limited Cases, and Increase Number of Information Managers (Independent Community Police Oversight Commission)

Amendments to the City ordinance governing the Independent Community Policy Oversight Commission (ICPOC) will clarify the appointment process, increase the number of ‘information managers,’ and allow for earlier review of “significant incidents generating public interest” at the discretion of the Chief of Police. ICPOC will recommend candidates for appointment and the four Council liaisons to ICPOC and the Human Rights Commission will nominate members from among those recommended. Amendments would permit up to five ICPOC commissioners (“Information Managers”) to access confidential records, data and information related to a complaint (currently, only “two or three” may have access). Regarding incidents of public interest - where internal reviews (AAPD or Human Resources) are complete and there is no pending criminal or civil litigation - the Chief of Police may permit Information Managers to conduct ‘earlier review’ of incidents in the public interest.

Motions and Resolutions

The following agenda items are motions and resolutions, which are approved or rejected in a single meeting. Agenda items marked "DC" are proposed by Council members, items marked "DB" are proposed by City boards and commissions, items marked "DS" are proposed by City staff.


DS-1 (21-0663) Resolution to Award a Contract to Manpower, Inc. of Southeastern Michigan for Temporary Staffing Services for Public Works (RFP # 21- 09)

This is a three year contract in the Public Works department for temporary staffing services for a period of up to three (3) years, with an option to extend for two (2) additional one (1) year periods if approved by the City Administrator. See my "Additional Thoughts" section below.


DC-1 (21-1031) Resolution to appoint Jamall Bufford to the Ann Arbor Public Art Commission (7 Votes Required)

This Mayoral appointment was introduced at the previous meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting. Because the nominee is not a registered elector, 7 votes are required.

  • Jamall Bufford - Ann Arbor Public Art Commission

DC-2 (21-1061) Resolution to Appoint Chris Vanden Broek, Lunia Oriol, and Yongwen Zheng to the Environmental Commission

These appointments are from CM Disch, who serves on the Environmental Commision. These were introduced at the previous meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting.

  • Chris Vanden Broek - Environmental Commission

  • Evan Redmond - Environmental Commission

  • Lunia Oriol - Environmental Commission

  • Yongwen Zheng - Environmental Commission

DC-3 (21-1185) Resolution to Revise 2021 Council Calendar

The calendar of Council meetings will be amended to add work session dates: July 12 and November 8, 2021.


DC-4 (21-1191) Resolution to Amend and Extend the Service Contract for Municipal Resource Recovery Services for the City of Ann Arbor between The City of Ann Arbor and Recycle Ann Arbor for One 18-month Term, with Mutual Option for a One-year Extension (estimated $1,641,528.00 for 18 Months of the Contract with an Estimated Total Contract Value of $30,059,406.00 from FY06 through FY23)

The City’s contract with Recycle Ann Arbor (RAA) will be extended for 18 months (cost: $1,641,528) with an option to extend for one year. The City contracts with RAA for the collection of residential recycling as well as service for 32/64/96 gallon carts at multifamily homes of eleven units or greater, commercial establishments, and civic units (estimated to be a total of 8,400 carts at 2,500 locations). Under the amended contract, RAA will provide their own collection truck fleet for these services and the City will no longer provide collection trucks, fuel, repair, or maintenance of recycling trucks.

Additional thoughts…

This week’s Council agenda (June 21, 2021) includes a contract that was postponed from our last meeting, because members of Council wanted to ask more questions about it. Agenda item DS-1 is a contract for temporary staffing services in our Public Works Department — it raises concerns because of established City policies for labor and employment.


DS-1 (21-0663) Resolution to Award a Contract to Manpower, Inc. of Southeastern Michigan for Temporary Staffing Services for Public Works (RFP # 21- 09)


For many years now, the City has established and re-affirmed policies in support of decent wages and union labor.


LIVABLE WAGES

In 2001, Ann Arbor City Council passed a Living Wage ordinance, which establishes a baseline for compensation when the City hires any business to provide significant services to the City. The ordinance requires that employers providing services to the City or recipients of grants for financial assistance (in amounts greater than $10,000 in a twelve- month period of time) pay their employees who are working on the City project or grant, a minimum level of compensation.


This wage requirement is written into every contract that comes to Council for approval. The ordinance includes specific hourly rate minimums, which are regularly updated and adjusted as cost of living (COL) increases. Specific hourly wage requirements for 2021-2022:

The current Living Wage is defined as $14.05/hour for those employers that provide employee health care (as defined in the Ordinance at Section 1:815 Sec. 1 (a)), or no less than $15.66/hour for those employers that do not provide health care.

https://www.a2gov.org/departments/finance-admin-services/purchasing/Documents/LW_Declaration_2021-22.pdf


The City is exempt from its own Living Wage ordinance, in order to staff various seasonal and temporary jobs. For example, a number of jobs this summer season at Fuller Park, Buhr Park, Huron Hills Golf Course, and Veterans Memorial Park Pool were posted with pay as little as $9.87 an hour.

https://recruiting.ultipro.com/CIT1009CA2/JobBoard/f90d5294-f62d-4de2-9878-31193309121c/?q=&o=postedDateDesc


Some might argue that these jobs in our parks system are mostly (or exclusively) filled by younger people (not independent). Just last year, though, the Wheeler Service Center listed an “AFSCME Like Temp Job” for pay at $13.33 an hour (March 31, 2020). At that time, the prescribed hourly Living Wage for Ann Arbor was $13.61 (with health benefits) and $15.18 (w/out health benefits).

https://www.a2gov.org/departments/finance-admin-services/purchasing/Documents/LW_Poster_2019-20.pdf


FAIR EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES

The City of Ann Arbor supports and promotes fair employment practices. Candidates for our local elected offices compete for endorsements from labor organizations because this is an issue that matters. It is illegal to prefer unionized employers but the City can prefer employers who have employment practices of the kind often found in unionized companies. Our community believes in the right of workers to organize, negotiating fair wages and benefits. When the city uses private contractors, we cannot require that those contractors hire only unionized labor. Since 2012, Michigan state law has prohibited municipalities like Ann Arbor from simply requiring that our private contractors employ union labor; a government unit

shall not, in any bid specifications, project agreements, or other controlling documents:
(a) Require or prohibit a bidder, offeror, contractor, or subcontractor from entering into or adhering to an agreement with 1 or more labor organizations in regard to that project or a related construction project.
(b) Otherwise discriminate against a bidder, offeror, contractor, or subcontractor for becoming or remaining or refusing to become or remain a signatory to, or for adhering or refusing to adhere to, an agreement with 1 or more labor organizations in regard to that project or a related construction project.
MCL 408.875

We cannot explicitly require that a private contractor employ union labor, but we can show preference to bids that include fair employment practices. In 2020, City Council passed an ordinance to do just that, by expanding our definition of a “responsible bidder.” Since passing that ordinance, any “responsible bidder” on a City contract must provide significant documentation of worker compensation (relative to experience), licensing, insurance, as well as safety-training programs and registered apprenticeship programs. These are terms typically included in union-negotiated contracts.

https://library.municode.com/mi/ann_arbor/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TITIAD_CH14PUCOSEPR_1_312DE


Three months ago, Council revisited the question of how we define a “responsible bidder,” consistent with these 2020 ordinance amendments. City staff recommended that Council accept a bid on a contract that seemed not to meet our definition of a “responsible bidder.” That contractor failed to provide much of the documentation required in our ordinance and - compared to another contractor’s bid - offered fewer of the preferred terms (e.g. a registered apprenticeship program). Ultimately, Council voted to substitute one contract for another, favoring a slightly more expensive bid that used union labor (3/15/21).


CITY WORKERS DOING CITY WORK

City jobs are typically union jobs. When the City has regular, ongoing labor tasks, there is a value to putting those jobs on the City payroll, with union-negotiated contracts. A private contractor hired by the City to do work for the City is more likely to use non-union labor or define jobs as ‘temporary’ (without benefits) rather than long-term (with benefits).


In 2018, Council passed a resolution regarding solid waste services and asserted a preference for directly employing workers in long-term, rather than temporary jobs. From that 2018 resolution:

RESOLVED, That City Council proclaims its opposition to privatization for solid waste services not currently performed by an outside contractor
RESOLVED, That City Council directs the City Administrator to end the practice of using temporary employees on a long-term basis to forestall the hiring of permanent employees unless and until the City Council expressly approves such action.

https://a2gov.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3504800&GUID=B186B70D-ED25-4EDE-94E5-0BD624FD4253


That particular resolution is relevant to this week’s agenda item DS-1.


CITY POLICY AND CITY CONTRACTS

Agenda item DS-1 is a three year contract for temporary staffing services to “support seasonal workload fluctuation and to temporarily fill gaps.” The job descriptions for temporary staffing:

  • Operating light to heavy equipment and tools to maintain and repair streets and pot holes

  • Installing, repairing, maintaining, inspecting and removing water distribution and collection system components

  • Driving and operating solid waste trucks

This week, Council will discuss if and how that third job description might contradict City policies approved in 2018. The temporary employees in this contract will fill a need for up to 5500 labor hours. In answer to questions about this contract, staff explain that the City has used this staffing service since 2012 and that the contract “is not forestalling the hiring of permanent employees.”


This week’s Council Agenda Responses include more explanation about the work of these temporary employees and why staff recommends this contract instead of full-time City employees:

https://a2gov.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=9496949&GUID=C66F1B65-6EFF-4C6B-9B88-8B419E623715


I look forward to discussing this issue at our meeting!


Thank you for helping me represent Ward 4!

Elizabeth Nelson

ENelson@A2gov.org


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