Interim Administrator Larry Fronk said the new firefighters’ deal is in line with the police contract that was settled last summer. That negotiation did not go as smoothly.
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Because police cannot strike, when contract talks reach an impasse and fact-finder’s recommendations aren’t agreed upon, the contract goes to a conciliator for the final decision. A conciliator decided the police are underpaid compared to some of their peers in other communities and the township was too conservative in its revenue projections.
The officers’ union contract provided a $1,000 addition to base pay, plus a 2.5 percent increase retroactive to 2016 and 3 percent hikes in 2017 and this year. The sergeants and lieutenants got a 4 percent raise retroactive to last year and a 3 percent raise in 2017 and 2018.
The new fire union contract also includes a provision for firefighters to get a second set of turnout gear which could be a life saver, according to Trustee Ann Becker.
“When the firemen go on a run, their suits get soiled with carbon, their suits get carcinogens there’s a lot of things that happen in the suit,” Becker said. “What they’ve learned over time is there is a higher risk for cancer for firefighters being encased in who knows what. So we are giving our guys a second suit, so if they do go on a run in their shift they have a second one to change into.”