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Discussions for a new firefighter contract ended this afternoon at Town Hall.
Longboat Key Friday, Dec. 7, 2012 5 years ago

UPDATE: Town, firefighters find common ground

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

Longboat Key Town Manager Dave Bullock’s bargaining team and the Longboat Key Fire Rescue union have found common ground with respect to a new three-year contract.

After two days, 12 hours worth of discussions and a variety of counterproposals, both sides have agreed to wording for a three-year contract that gives firefighters two options.

Both options still involve freezing the current pension plan moving forward.

Bullock has scheduled a closed-door executive session with the Longboat Key Town Commission 10:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 10 to discuss the agreed upon language.

If the town and its firefighters ratify a future contract, firefighters have two options. They can either choose no retirement plan moving forward, or choose a town-offered defined contribution plan.

For firefighters who choose no retirement plan moving forward, they would receive a 17% wage increase and be responsible for their own retirement.

If firefighters choose a town-offered defined contribution plan moving forward, the town will give those employees a 3% wage increase. That plan also involves the 10% contribution of an employee’s base wage to the plan and will match up to an additional 5% of an employee’s voluntary base wage.

The town-offered plan, however, does not mandate employee contributions and offers no cost of living increases.

In both plans, six employees that are eligible to join the Deferred Retirement Options Program (DROP) must do so before the pension plan is frozen.

Also for both options, firefighters are eligible for a 3% wage increase in year two of the contract. In the third year, firefighters are eligible for a wage step increase and a cost of living increase, if the commission decides to give a wage increase to other non-represented employees.

As part of the contract language proposed, firefighters are also eligible to have personal time and emergency leave counted as hours worked for overtime eligibility. Additional changes made by both parties in the old contract have also been agreed upon.

After meeting in executive session with the commission as required by law, the parties will reconvene to see if they can reach a final agreement on the proposal that must be approved by both parties.

For more information and reaction from both sides, pick up a copy of Thursday’s Dec. 13 Longboat Observer.

Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].

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