City Council OKs firefighters’ contract

Marietta City Council accepted the negotiated contract with the International Association of Fire Fighters Thursday.

The contract is good until Oct. 1, 2020.

The vote of council was divided twice as an extended discussion emerged questioning the timing of the contract’s adoption.

“There are legitimate reasons we have multiple readings, one of which is to try and maintain transparency,” said Councilwoman Cassidi Shoaf, who was not in favor of suspending the second and third readings of the legislation prior to taking a vote on the contract itself. “In no way does this mean that I do not support the contract.”

Despite Shoaf’s reservations on suspension, the remaining six members of council did vote to move forward for a vote Thursday night. This was only after comments from Safety-Service Director Jonathan Hupp, who along with City Auditor Sherri Hess and Assistant Safety-Service Director Bill Dauber were on the administration’s side of the table in negotiations with the IAFF local bargaining unit.

“This evening the administration is meeting with the IAFF to sign this contract,” he said stressing the importance of returning to that group in “good faith.”

This is the first time the firefighters will see a raise since November of 2015.

Councilwoman Cindy Oxender noted that she thought the contract, which had been headed to conciliation with the state, was “the best deal we’re going to get” and said concessions were made by the IAFF for the good of the city as a whole.

The contract is only one of three the city has to complete with its bargaining employees. Hupp said the Fraternal Order of Police negotiations are still in progress as are the negotiations with the Teamsters.

The IAFF contract will impact the general fund by taking an additional $114,000 according to Councilman Mike Scales.

But Scales said he could not support the legislation Thursday because the whole picture of the city’s finances was not in view as of yet.

“I cannot vote yes because we don’t have enough revenue to support this contract,” he stated. “I’m only voting no based on the finances. I’m not for it until we know where the money comes from.”

So while the legislation authorizing the contract passed 6-1, with Scales against, several council members noted that the future finances of the city are to be determined by what appears on the November ballot, and if that measure has the support of the voters.

“I’m voting in favor of this with the prayer to fight another day,” said Councilman Geoff Schenkel. “I hope the public is ready to meet the challenges we’re facing.”

At a glance

Pay rates for firefighters approved by council:

¯ Captain: $22.05 per hour.

¯ Lieutenant: $21.04 per hour.

¯ Inspector: $28.58 per hour.

¯ Firefighter after four years: $19.50 per hour.

¯ Firefighter in fourth year: $18.94 per hour.

¯ Firefighter in third year: $18.21 per hour.

¯ Firefighter in second year: $17.40 per hour.

¯ Probationary in first year: $16.04 per hour.

¯ New hires after execution of contract: $15.42 per hour.

Notes:

¯ These pay scales are an increase of 1 percent from rates of 2017 which had not risen since November of 2015.

¯ These pay scales are scheduled to increase by 1.5 percent on Nov. 1.

¯ These pay scales are scheduled to increase by 2 percent on Nov. 1, 2019.

Source: Marietta City Administration

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