Fire fighter’s union/district sign new contract

September 1st, 2011 by Ken

Lacey Fire Commissioners, echoing the fire fighter union’s action, signed a new three year labor agreement Thursday night, which both parties say, will save taxpayers money.

Fire fighters will receive no COLAs during the length of the contract, but the savings is in the health insurance policy. Gone is the “cadillac” plan under which fire fighters paid nothing for their health care, replaced by a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA).

Under this plan, the district will put aside money for each firefighter’s plan – – $2200 for a single person and $4500 for a family. From that plan, firefighters will pay for their own health care.

“It’s a significant savings over the life of the agreement,” said Acting Fire Chief Gary Pearson.

President of the union Kelly Perry agreed. “We think we’ll save the taxpayers between $300,000 and $500,000,” he said. Perry said the former health care contract was going to bankrupt the district if it continued. “We took a look at our nine comparable fire districts, and seven of them have gone to an HRA type of health plan.”

Also included in the new labor agreement is a reduction in the number of step pay increases.

Fire Commissioner John Christiansen, whose son is a fire fighter, abstained from voting.

In other fire district business, the commissioners agreed to include candidates running for fire commission in the selection process for a new fire chief. They hope to have a new chief hired by November.

Posted in Government, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News

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