file photo by Boyd Loving
Ridgewood, fire department’s union come to terms on contract
JANUARY 8, 2015, 8:04 PM LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, JANUARY 8, 2015, 8:05 PM
BY CHRIS HARRIS
STAFF WRITER |
RIDGEWOOD – The village and the fire department’s union have come to terms on a new four-year agreement that the council is expected to accept the agreement when it meets next week.
The new contract was agreed to by both sides on Dec. 17, said Ridgewood’s Village Manager Roberta Sonenfeld, who detailed the agreement’s terms at the council’s meeting Wednesday night.
Sonenfeld said that both sides worked together during negotiations to avoid arbitration “and heavy use of lawyers.”
Under the terms of the new agreement, the council agreed to raise the starting base salary for a firefighter to $36,000 from $32,000, while creating three additional pay-scale steps, stretching the time in which a firefighter can obtain the top pay level to 13 years from 10.
The new contract eliminates longevity payments for new hires, and puts a cap on top terminal leave at $15,000 for those with at least a year of banked sick days, Sonenfeld said.
The union agreed to forgo pay raises for the first three years of the deal, with a 1.5 percent salary increase guaranteed for 2018, the final year of the contract.
“In recognition of our mutual commitment to growing staff and future leaders, we put in place an education benefit that provides for partial tuition reimbursement for job-relevant degrees and courses,” Sonenfeld said.
Sonenfeld projects the new contract will save the village approximately $170,000 per new officer over the course of their career with the fire department.