Lexington council approves contract with firefighters

bfortune@herald-leader.comOctober 12, 2011 

Lexington's Urban County Council on Tuesday accepted the contract negotiated between the city and Lexington firefighters. The contract was ratified by firefighters 308-99 on Sept. 21.

Twelve council members voted in favor of the three-year contract. Members Chris Ford and Bill Farmer abstained. Farmer said he abstained because he did not think the council should be voting on collective-bargaining contracts, saying it has a role in such contracts through the budgeting process. Ford could not be reached for comment after the meeting. Council member KC Crosbie was absent.

Attorney Joe Scholler, who negotiated on behalf of the city with the firefighters union, said the three-year contract would result in $2.3 million in savings the first year, $2.1 million the second and $300,000 in the third when compared with the cost of the firefighters' last contract.

The union agreed to a two-year wage freeze and other pay concessions. The contract includes reductions in holiday and vacation time, and less extra holiday pay for two years.

Firefighters will take a reduction in city health insurance costs of $100 a month per firefighter for the first year of the agreement.

For its part, the city agreed not to lay off firefighters during the first two years of the contract. Also, the government agreed to fund two paramedic training classes at a cost not to exceed $40,000 a class.

Reach Beverly Fortune at (859) 231-3251 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3251.

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