Danville council OKs firefighter contract

Danville council OKs firefighter contract

DANVILLE — The city council approved, after a closed-session discussion Tuesday night, a three-year contract with Danville firefighters that provides some increases in pay but reduces longevity and increases firefighters' health insurance costs.

The 13 aldermen in attendance unanimously approved the three-year contract that's retroactive to May 1, 2011, and will end April 30, 2014.

The tentative agreement had already been approved last week by the International Association of Firefighters Local 429, which represents 51 people in the fire department, including all firefighters up through the rank of assistant fire chief. Firefighter Tony Konieczki, who is president of Local 429, said Tuesday night after aldermen voted on the contract that he would agree with comments by Alderman Bill Black that the contract is fair to taxpayers and firefighters given current financial times.

Retroactive to May 1, 2011, firefighters will receive a 2 percent increase on the base wage. Retroactive to May 1, 2012, they will receive another 2 percent increase to the base, and retroactive to May 1 of this year, they will receive a 2.5 percent increase to the base.

The beginning salary of a firefighter will be reduced from 75 percent of base pay to 70 percent. And insurance costs will increase with an individual's contribution increasing from zero per month to $35 in the first year of the contract and to $50 a month in the second year. Monthly costs for employees with one or more dependents will increase $15 a month in the first year and other $15 per month in the second year.

In the third year of the contract, all members pay a flat 11 percent of their monthly health insurance costs. In addition, longevity steps were reduced from six to three, and the residency requirement remains the same. Firefighters must live within 5 miles of the city limits.

Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said the increases in health insurance costs and reductions in longevity for the portion of the contract that's retroactive to May 1, 2011, will be subtracted from the members' wage increases that are retroactive to the same time frame.

Aldermen also approved after closed session Tuesday night, the acquisition of a residence at 1101 N. Logan Ave. that was severely damaged by a fire earlier this year. The residence, which has not been repaired or demolished by the owner, Gene Washington, sits in the city's Lincoln Park historic neighborhood, across from Lincoln Park. Aldermen present at the meeting voted unanimously in favor of the city demolishing the residence at the city's expense in exchange for the deed to the property and $5,000 of the owner's fire insurance proceeds.

Eisenhauer said the city has no immediate plans for the property, which sits on a corner at Logan Avenue and English Streets and is adjacent to a new shared-used path that follows both streets.

"We are simply trying to protect the integrity of the historic neighborhood and the adjacent park," Eisenhauer said.

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