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City inks agreement with its firefighters

 

 

Two laid off firefighters will be back on the job soon thanks to an agreement with the union that was approved Thursday by Ironton City Council.

The new contract calls for firefighters to begin paying 3 percent of their retirement pickup (city workers had been paying nothing for their retirement), to accept a 20 percent cut in the department’s food budget and a 25 percent cut in each firefighter’s clothing allowance.

These concessions will stay in place each of the three years of the contract. However, health benefits, pension pickup and wages will be renegotiated each year.

No wage increases were included in the new contract. Also, the employee share of health insurance was held at the current 5 percent.

The contract meets the city council-mandated requirement that each department cut 7 percent from its budget.

The ordinance finalizing the agreement was approved unanimously. Although the council agenda had scheduled only a first reading of the ordinance, members agreed unanimously to suspend the rules and give it the required three readings needed for adoption.

“You don’t know how happy I am,” Aaron Collins, who is both firefighter and union president, said to council after the agreement was adopted. Collins was one of two firefighters that had been laid off; the other was Scott Cunningham.

“I commend you for coming to the table and sitting down,” council member Bob Cleary said. “We gave everyone a budget to reach and you passed your goal — the goal we set. I appreciate that.”

The city continues negotiation with the police and public works unions, which have also faced layoffs and must cut seven percent from their respective budgets.

In other matters, council also approved resolutions requiring Fire Chief Tom Runyon and Police Chief Jim Carey to begin paying seven- and-a-half percent of their retirement pickup; the city will pay the other two-and-a- half percent.

The rules were suspended to give the required three readings to and adoption of an ordinance allowing for the purchase of a MARCS radio system for the police department.

Third reading and approval was given to a plan to purchase new dumpsters for the city to rent to businesses.