August 20, 2014

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North Ridgeville Council approves fire contract

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — City Council voted to approve a new two-year contract that will grant the city’s firefighters raises for this year and 2014 and up the share they pay for medical insurance.

The pact covers 2013 retroactively to the start of the year as negotiators for Local 2129 of the International Association of Firefighters have been bargaining with the city since October 2012.

Under terms of the contract, which Council approved unanimously, 6-0 — Nancy Buescher, R-1st Ward, was absent — firefighters will receive a 4 percent raise for this year and a 2 percent increase in pay for 2014.

Base pay will stand at $58,080 for 2013 and rise to $59,241 next year.

Firefighters with three to five years’ experience currently earn about $57,000 a year.

The union represents 34 firefighters, who voted 27-6 to accept the two-year deal, according to Mayor David Gillock.

Firefighters had been without a contract since the end of 2012.

Firefighters also agreed to shoulder a slightlt larger percentage of the monthly costs of their medical insurance, which will rise from the current 10 percent to 12.5 percent starting in January.

Another major provision of the contract agreed to by the union calls for a reduction in the maximum number of hours that can be paid for accrued sick time from 1,500 to 1,200.

“This was a good-faith step by the firefighters,” Crites said.

The provision also allows a firefighter to cash in unused sick time if he or she leaves the city’s employment after 10 years of service, but anyone who is dismissed from their position for cause will forfeit all banked sick time.

“In the past someone could be fired for cause and still collect,” Crites said of the change. “This really speaks to the integrity of our firefighters.”

Negotiations had deadlocked over a proposed three-year contract when City Council sided earlier with a factfinder over proposed salary increases and other issues.

The dispute was on the verge of being decided by an arbitrator when both sides finally came to a tentative agreement last week.

Crites termed the contract “a fair deal that’s in line with public sector practices these days. Every municipality is being asked to do more with less overall.”

Resolution of the contract helps set the stage for talks between the city and its other two principal unions.

The current three-year contract with police contains a re-opener clause for talks over wages for 2014, and the union representing the department initiated discussion with the city about six weeks ago, Crites said.

The city recently began talks with its local chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees that represents, which represents city hall and service department workers, according to Crites.

The current AFSCME contract expires Dec. 31.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.

  • Summer Smart

    Just another point of the entitled career as firefighter. I thought one became a fireman because they wanted to help people, not rob the residents.

    • Spec440

      It must be hard living such a miserable life.

      • Summer Smart

        Anyone who knows a fireman knows that nothing they receive is ever good enough and it is the residents that are paying for it. I am quite happy with what I have, but am tired of being taxed for others to complain about wanting more. Nothing more than that….

        • Pete

          Summer, what do you feel is a fair wage for someone who is willing to risk his or her life for yours? North Ridgeville has highly trained medics also that are called upon to help your friends, neighbors, and family when they are sick or injured. What percentage of your taxes goes into their pocket and what amount goes into your Mayor’s or department supervisors? Now tell me who do you depend on more? I hope you don’t pick the figure heads.

          • Summer Smart

            Would you say someone in the military risks his or her life and gets probably less than half of what fire fighters do who, in some areas, have very few calls in which their lives are actually at risk. No, I don’t agree with it going into the mayors pocket or departement heads either. In this worldt things are topsy turvy. A child care provider who watches our children gets paid the least amount of money, all the while people in government leach off the backs of the residents. Have you added up lately how many levies you are paying for? Do you question how the money is being put to use for the residents that voted it in? It wasn’t because we want to pay someone to do next to nothing, we expect them to do something. I have met some firemen who make cracks about how they just might not make it in time if you ever called them, all because you said something they didn’t like. So much for wanting to help people.

          • Pete

            I believe our soldiers should be payed way more than police or firefighters but in your argument they don’t deserve it unless we are at war. Should they get paid a lot for sitting on a ship in some exotic country? I’m sure you’ll be the first to whine about.

            I bet you never ever heard one firefighter ever crack about such a thing, if they did then they aren’t true firefighters. That’s what is honorable about police and firefighters, no matter how bad some of the public perceives them(like you) they still preform their jobs professional.

          • Summer Smart

            Actually, I have heard remarks come directly from a firemans mouth, to a friend of mine. Fire departments in some areas are considered “optional departments,” which is why a levy needs to be passed in order to support it. Union contract time comes up and they aren’t paid enough, they don’t have enough vacation time, etc. These are the departments that do not have the calls the a city has and yet gets paid to sit and watch tv and play on their computers during their “working hours.” Yet, these are the ones who complain about not making enough. They use vacation days to work other jobs. On average, they actually work 6 hours a day with all the vacation time they have. It isn’t about whining, its about facts that the public should be aware of. Remember this when levy time comes up. Take a good hard look at how your firemen use their time, ask for statistics, see how they react when questioned, see how they treat you when you call them about an issue that isn’t “life threatening.” Then ask yourself, why are you here if you are going to treat the residents as “nuisances.” Lastly, why am I voting to pay for someone to treat me this way with my own tax dollars. Just some thoughts.

  • tickmeoff

    In this day and age, Private industry doesn’t pay, It’s the government! You can’t ship government jobs overseas!

  • GreatRedeemer

    I don’t understand why we pay firemen to sleep at the firehouse yet, we are able to have multiple shifts of police officers that go home after their 8-12 hour shift.

    • Pete

      If you have 18 people working per day and now you divide it by 3 you’ll need to hire 36 more firefighters, the 18 are needed to fill each vehicle needed for that day. Now is it cheaper to pay the benefits and salaries for 18 guys or 52?

      • Summer Smart

        How do the Townships handle it with only volunteers? Nobody sleeps anywhere but in their own beds at home.

        • Pete

          They get to fires much later with greater damage. They get to patients later with greater risk of death or permanent damage to that patient. Homeowners pay higher insurance for fire protection. if you can live with lesser protection then so be it but if you think your taxes will decrease you are sadly mistaken. I’d rather pay the pennies a day than to risk my families safety and increased damage to my hard earned belongings.

      • GreatRedeemer

        Well I don’t know. Do they get paid for 24 hours of work now ?, if they take a sick day do they get paid for 24 hours ? So if that is the case, or more or less the case then yes it might be cheaper to hire. You also will save money on facilities, have less overtime and be able to pick and choose the top performers. Today everyone has a cell phone, instant communications why cant some of these people be on call ? Do you really need a full staff all of the time ?

  • edjriwnnt

    Let’s not forgot “total compensation” when looking at what government employees make. Medical insurance can run from $10,000 to $20,000 a year depending on whether the government worker is only covered, or their whole family is covered.

    Add in paid sick days and pensions as well when figuring “total compensation”, which makes a huge difference compared to their base salary.

    I am not here to say the NR firefighters are over compensated or not, but you need to bring “total compensation” to the discussion.

  • Summer Smart

    I am not in a jealous rage; simply stating facts that I experience or have seen experienced. And I am not whining. You asked me to defend my position by responding, so that is all I have been doing. As far as I am concerned, this conversation is over. Its like trying to defend oneself against a certain political animal who reverts to name calling when all else fails.