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City firefighter contract approved

Ironton firefighters’ wages and benefits will change after Ironton City Council took action Thursday on a union contract that has been pending since March.

Friday, October 13, 2000

Ironton firefighters’ wages and benefits will change after Ironton City Council took action Thursday on a union contract that has been pending since March.

Council members voted to accept the contract presented by the International Association of Firefighters Local 532 in a 6-1 vote.

The contract provides salary increases, uniform allowance increases and meal tickets.

Council chairman Jim Tordiff voted against the contract.

"I will not support this, not to say they don’t need it," Tordiff said. "The meal ticket is not a large item, but when we’re at a time when our budget is so tight and we’re looking at future cuts, it’s hard to support it."

Included in the fire union contract is a 2 percent raise for the firefighters for 2000, followed by a re-opener wage agreement for 2001 and 2002, Ironton Mayor Bob Cleary said.

"The firefighters are guaranteed a 2 percent raise this year," Cleary said. "For the next two years, though, the ‘re-opener wage agreement’ will be on a wait-to-see basis. We will take a look at the budget at that time and evaluate what type of an increase we can afford."

Under the new contract, a firefighter starting out can make $23,620 a year and can go as high as $28,654 per year, Cleary said.

"I think this is a fair contract with minimal raises," he said. "If at all possible we can give our city employees something, I feel we ought to do it."

And, they have a slightly better fringe benefit package, he added.

The contract has been pending since March because the firefighters were claiming parity with the police department, which basically means they are equally as important as the officers enforcing the law, Cleary said.

"Both departments place their life on the line in many different instances," he said. "But council had several questions about what was being requested by the (firefighters) union and they wanted those questions answered before they acted on the matter."

Councilman Jesse Roberts said the matter needed to be resolved.

"It’s time we move forward with this and give these men what they’re entitled to," Roberts said. "Both departments are risking their lives under different circumstances, so, they should be treated equally as much as we possibly can."

In other business, council also approved an ordinance that amends the city’s annual operating budget for the fiscal year ending December 31 and declares an emergency.

"I don’t believe any of us feel the numbers we project are the actual amounts we need to finish this year, but we do need to be prepared just in case," Roberts said.