"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.