City OKs agreements with police, fire unions

James Smith / For The Ada NewsFrom left, City Manager Cody Holcomb and Mayor Guy Sewell listen to a discussion during Tuesday’s Ada City Council meeting. The council approved new collective bargaining agreements with the police and fire unions.

Ada police officers and firefighters will receive a 2 percent raise for fiscal year 2017-18 as part of their new contract with the city.

The Ada City Council voted 4-0 Tuesday to approve the city’s new collective bargaining agreements with the police and fire unions, which were essentially the same as the contracts for fiscal year 2016-17. Coucilman Randy McFarlin was absent.

There were two major changes to the agreement with Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 111: A 2 percent increase in the pay scale for police officers and firefighters, and a provision saying police officers who are promoted will receive a raise of at least 5 percent.

“We have changed the contract to ensure that when they are promoted, they will make a minimum of 5 percent higher or higher than the highest-paid officer that they supervise, whichever is greater,” said City Manager Cody Holcomb.

Holcomb said the agreement with International Association of Firefighters Local 2298 also included the 2 percent pay increase due to the pay scale adjustment. He said the agreement was negotiated during the previous fiscal year with the 5 percent raise for firefighters who receive a promotion.

The new agreements apply to all police officers and firefighters except for the chief and assistant chief. First-year police officers and firefighters are on probation and do not join the union until after the first year.

The city had originally proposed reducing police officers’ and firefighters’ comp time from 120 hours to 90 hours as a way of lessening the city’s unfunded liability in several areas, including comp time. However, the contracts that were approved Tuesday included 120 hours of comp time.

Detective Jaron Dallagh, who serves as president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 111, and Sam Smith, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 2298, were not on duty Wednesday.

Detective Kathi Johnston, who is a member of the FOP lodge, said Wednesday that she did not vote on the FOP agreement because she was out of town. She said she would have voted against the contract because she did not agree with a provision stating that union members would not get the $400 end-of-year bonus that nonunion employees received, which she said had never happened before.

“My vote would have been no,” Johnston said, adding that she was speaking for herself, not for the lodge.

According to the city’s public information officer, Lisa Bratcher, the $400 stipend was rolled into the 2 percent increase that resulted from adjusting the pay scale for police officers and firefighters.

Eric Swanson is the City Hall and general assignment reporter for The Ada News. He spent 15 years working at the Dodge City Daily Globe in Dodge City, Kansas, before joining The Ada News’ staff in 2012.

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