Vote would boost pay for city's firefighters

November 25, 1997

Vote would boost pay for city's firefighters


Staff Writer

Hagerstown City Council members are expected tonight to approve a new pay scale for firefighters.

The pay scale would bring firefighters' salaries in line with patrol officers starting July 1, a city official said Monday.

If approved, the increase in wages and benefits would cost the city about $203,000 during the upcoming fiscal year, which starts July 1, 1998, said Eric Marburger, city personnel manager.

Firefighters' wages and benefits are paid out of the city's general fund, he said.

Council members will vote on the contract at their 7 p.m. regular meeting today.

Members of the International Association of Firefighters Local 1605 overwhelmingly approved the proposed changes for the final year of a three-year contract on Nov. 9, said Andy Hartman, union president. Hart said he could not recall the actual vote.


"I'm just glad that we're finally catching up," Hartman said.

The highest annual salary for a firefighter - with 27 years experience - will be $39,165 as of July 1, 1998, according to the proposed changes.

As of July 1, the highest annual salary for a city police patrol officer will be $39,165, for an officer with 27 years experience, Marburger said.

Under the proposed contract changes, a starting firefighter's annual salary will rise from the current $23,449 to $24,147 on July 1, Marburger said.

The highest annual salary for a member of the union will increase from $33,310 for an assistant fire marshal with 23 years experience to $39,965 on July 1 for an assistant fire marshal with 27 years experience, Marburger said.

Council members on Sept. 16 unanimously approved a new three-year contract for Hagerstown City Police union members. That pact included a revised pay scale and 5 percent annual pay raises.

City and firefighter union officials began negotiating on Oct. 30 for wage increases for the upcoming fiscal year. The three-year contract between the union and the city allows wages for the final year of the contract to be opened for discussion.

When originally negotiating the three-year contract during the summer of 1996, officials were unable to agree on salaries for the third year, Hartman said.

"It was to our benefit to wait," he said.

The proposed changes also call for eliminating:

- A $300 bonus for every member who passes a physical agility test.

- A $100 bonus for any member who pledges to completely refrain from tobacco use.

- A $60 annual shoe bonus firefighters received to help offset the cost of footwear.

- A clause that states union members are entitled to more vacation time if other city employees get more vacation.

The union has 48 members, including 45 firefighters, two assistant fire marshals and one public educator, Marburger said.

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