Firefighters, city agree on raises
by Nick Rappley | Patterson Irrigator
Feb 20, 2013 | 1354 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If business continues to prosper in the city of Patterson, firefighters will reap the rewards through salary raises during the next three years, according to an agreement reached this month between the city firefighters union and management.

As part of a group of consent-calendar items, the Patterson City Council on Feb. 5 unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding that International Association of Fire Fighters Local 4577 had ratified in December.

The union represents the city’s 13 paid firefighters, engineers and captains.

The three-year pact, which retroactively starts Jan. 1, will be in effect until Dec. 31, 2015.

If raises are triggered in the second and third years of the deal, based on rising city revenues, the deal could cost Patterson $80,000 to $95,000 more a year in added salary costs.

The cost would be spread over several pools of money, but an extra $30,000 to $36,000 could be required from the general fund each year.

The rest would be funded by special fees from a fire assessment district that covers Patterson Gardens and Walker Ranch and a community facilities district in the West Patterson Business Park on the west side of town, among others.

Before the agreement, the city was spending nearly $779,000 on firefighter salaries, of which about $247,000 was drawn from the general fund and nearly $532,000 came from fees.

Individual firefighters’ salaries range from about $42,000 to $51,000. Engineers start at nearly $50,000 and can increase to $63,000, while captains start at $57,000 and can reach $69,000.

Salaries do not include overtime pay or incentives for extra training certifications.

Among 37 changes in the contract are a potential 4 percent raise for firefighters on April 1, 2014, if the city reaches $2.1 million in sales tax revenue, followed by a 3 percent raise on April 1, 2015, if those revenues hit $2.5 million.

Revenues for the 2012-13 fiscal year ending June 30 are on target to reach $1.9 million, which includes a little less than half a year of sales tax revenue from Walmart, which opened Jan. 23, City Manager Rod Butler said.

A full year of sales tax from Walmart will result in higher total revenues, he said.

The negotiations were not contentious, Butler said, despite occasional disagreements.

“Both sides felt it was congenial,” he said. “We took a fresh look.”

The original contract, passed six years ago, was a standard contract from the firefighters union, but firefighters and management had since seen the need for some changes, Butler said.

IAFF Local 4577 President Mike McLaughlin said the firefighters were happy with the agreement.

“It was definitely amicable,” he said. “The process was very professional, and we were always able to come to a solution.”

During the three-year pact, the city will also pay each firefighter’s full monthly premium for the Kaiser Permanente HMO family-plan level.

As part of the MOU, the city will also pay for a salary study of paid firefighter staff to determine how their wages compare with other similar sized municipalities.

Contact Nick Rappley at 892-6187, ext. 31 or nick@pattersonirrigator.com.

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