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Pay scale OK'd for firefighters

November 28, 1997

By JULIE E. GREENE

Staff Writer

Hagerstown City Council members have approved a new pay scale for firefighters that will bring their salaries in line with those of patrol officers on July 1, 1998.

Council members unanimously approved the change Tuesday.

"It's nice to be recognized and appreciated," said Andy Hartman, president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 1605.

Union members on Nov. 9 overwhelmingly approved the changes for the final year of a three-year contract, Hartman said.

The increase in wages and benefits will cost about $203,000 in the upcoming fiscal year, which starts July 1, 1998, said Eric Marburger, city personnel manager. The money will come from the city's general fund.

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

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

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

City and firefighter union officials began negotiating on Oct. 30 for possible wage increases for the upcoming fiscal year. The three-year contract between the union and the city provided for the contract to be opened for wage discussions in the final year.

Under the contract changes, pay for a starting firefighter will increase from $23,449 to $24,147 on July 1, Marburger said.

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

Changes in the contract will eliminate:

-- 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.

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