SHERIDAN — A meeting April 22 left the city and firefighters in disagreement over elements of their annual contract, but before arbitration began on the matter, local firefighters union IAFF #276 accepted the city of Sheridan’s contract proposal for the upcoming fiscal year.
“The city’s contract that it had passed at its prior meeting they have accepted,” City Attorney Brendon Kerns said in Monday’s city council meeting. “The negotiations at the end of the day I think turned out very well for everyone.”
Kerns commended the council for attending many long meetings and the union for being helpful throughout the process.
“I know sometimes they’re seen as adversarial, but they’re not,” Kerns said.
City administrator Mark Collins commended Kerns for his work in connecting with the union to come to an agreement before arbitration began.
“As you know we were at somewhat of an impasse at the conclusion of our last discussions with the local firefighters union, and Brendon went out of his way to meet with them at a breakfast meeting and better explained exactly where we were in terms of the proposal, the positions and do a really, I think, a comprehensive Q and A with them in the morning,” Collins said. “I think they came away with a much better understanding of exactly the context of what we were proposing to them and what we felt was a fair and equitable, and also fiscally responsible, proposal to them.”
With the passing of the city’s original contract, the city agreed to three of the four requests from the union.
In initial requests, the firefighters asked for four specific items: the Kyle Clause, which allows a 5 percent increase with regrading of a firefighter; contract cleanup, which effectively changes language in the living document; adjustments to time served to the city of Sheridan, which allows for two members of the department to combine years’ served before and after a layoff not caused by any negative repercussions by the firefighters; and wage adjustments on the salary scale proposed by Condrey and Associates.
Changes to the contract agreed upon by both the union and the city include:
• Implementation of the 100 percent market scale from the Condrey and Associates, Inc. Compensation and Classification Plan, which will result in a higher starting wage for newly hired firefighters and a pay increase for all firefighters.
• A one-step increase for firefighters who received at least a “meets expectations” rating on their 2018 performance appraisal.
• The city’s contribution to the Paid Firefighter B Pension will increase 1 percent.
• A small adjustment to vacation leave accruals for two current firefighters, who left and returned due to circumstances outside of their control.
Contract negotiations began Feb. 15 between IAFF #276 and the city.
The entities met five times between March 4 and April 15, with city council also attending. Negotiations concluded April 29.