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Fire department gets 'cost-of-living' adjustment

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The
wage hike averaged 2.6 percent across the board depending on a
firefighter’s rank, said Phil Sipe, president of International
Association of Fire Fighters Local 157 in OKC.

This
was basically a cost-of-living adjustment,” he said. “I think the
new contract is reasonable. The city is happy with it and we’re
happy with it. As far as the taxpayers are concerned, it’s a
win-win all the way around.”

The
wage adjustments were determined after a peer cities market survey
was completed, said Monica Coleman, OKC’s assistant personnel
director.

I
can’t say we had any major disputes with them (union negotiators),”
she said.

According
to the contract, pay increases ranged from 2.23 percent for district
chiefs to 3.47 percent for sergeants/drivers.

The
two sides reached a tentative agreement Sept. 3 and it was ratified
by the union membership Oct. 11.

City
negotiators agreed to pay an additional $334 in health benefits for
each firefighter enrolled in the union’s insurance program.

As part
of the new pact, which is retroactive to July 1, the city will pay
for probationary permanent employees who are required to attend EMT
(Emergency Medical Technician) classes during off-duty time at a cost
of $48,500.

The
new union contract will increase the city budget by $2.9 million. The
new fire department budget for the current fiscal year will be $103.1
million compared to $100.1 million in fiscal year 2012-2013.

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