City inks contract with firefighters

By Brett Jones/Staff Writer
published Jan. 10, 2009

Mustang City Council members last week inked a three-year deal with the local firefighters union, bringing months of labor negotiations with the union to an end.

The city of Mustang still has not reached an agreement with the police union.

City Manager David Cockrell said last week the city had been negotiating with the firefighters since the spring.

“It shows how committed our firefighters are to work with us,” Cockrell said. “I am glad we have a package that is fair to our firefighters and those that we serve.”

The plan approved covers three fiscal years beginning with the current 2008-2009 year, but Cockrell said it will require future Councils to approve additional funding in future budgets.

Details of the plan include:

Cost of living increases

In the 2008-2009 fiscal year, there is no cost of living increase for firefighters. Beginning at the start of fiscal year 2009-2010, firefighters will receive a 3-percent increase. At the beginning of fiscal year 2010-2011, firefighters will receive a 4-percent increase.

Cockrell said firefighters will also receive merit step increases and any earned service longevity increases along with the COLA increase.

Paramedic incentive

The city now pays a $2,100 per year incentive for firefighters to earn a paramedic certification. The new agreement calls for that to be increased to $2,500 per year.

Health insurance changes
The agreement calls for firefighters to pay $100 per month for their health insurance for family coverage. It was $50 previously.

Educational bonuses

The city pays a one-time incentive for degrees obtained. The city will pay firefighters a one-time bonus of $470, up from $320, for an associates degree. A bachelors degree will draw a one-time bonus of $650, up from $500, and a masters degree bonus will be $770, up from $620.

In the 2009-2010 fiscal year, an incentive of $300 will be given to firefighters who obtain instructor one certification.

Sick leave

The city is increasing the amount of sick leave that can be accrued from 456 to 912 hours.

If a firefighter leaves the department, he can sell back a percentage of the sick leave at a discounted rate to the city.

FOP balance

In 2011, the new contract states if the FOP pay scale is higher than the pay rates for firefighters then the firefighters’ union pay rates will be increased to match.

“We have traditionally for a quarter of a century paid our firefighters and police officers at or very, very close to the same wage,” Cockrell said.

City Finance Director Brenda Wright said the impact of the new contract will be an estimated $5,000 for fiscal year 2008-2009, an estimated $65,700 for fiscal year 2009-2010 and an estimated $65,789 for fiscal year 2010-2011.

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