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Schenectady firefighters up for raises in new contract

Schenectady firefighters up for raises in new contract

Last pact expired in 2014
Schenectady firefighters up for raises in new contract
Schenectady Fire Department Capt. William Rockenstyre (center) talks to students during a fire prevention assembly in 2016.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

The city of Schenectady and the city’s firefighters’ union have agreed to a contract that includes 2 percent raises, and a $1.4 million impact on city finances.

Local 28 IAFF, the Schenectady union, has ratified the contract. The City Council briefly discussed the agreement during its committee meeting Monday night, and will formally approve the terms during its meeting next week.

The previous agreement between the city and its firefighters’ union expired at the end of 2014. The new contract would run from Jan. 1, 2015, through Dec. 31, 2018.

City firefighters will receive a 2 percent raise in 2018, and a retroactive 2 percent raise for 2015 and 2016, as part of the contract.

There is no raise included for 2017. Instead, a new top staff level was added, effective Jan. 1, with a salary of $68,251.14, according to a copy of the contract obtained by The Daily Gazette.

The raises and other costs amount to $1.4 million, said Finance Commissioner Anthony Ferrari. That expense was not accounted for in the 2017 city budget, so Ferrari will request the council approve an appropriation to cover the cost using general fund money.

“At the time (of the 2017 budget), we had no idea when they were going to settle the contract,” Ferrari said.

As part of the agreement, firefighters will move onto the city’s health plan. As a result, the union will withdraw its grievance from December 2012, challenging the city’s elimination of the MVP EPO 20 Plan, and replacing it with a self-funded plan.

The contract is signed by Mayor Gary McCarthy and union president Michael Angelozzi, and dated April 26.

Angelozzi declined Monday night to comment on the contract.

The firefighters’ contract largely mirrors the agreement reached last June between the city and the Police Benevolent Association. That deal included retroactive 2 percent raises for 2014 and 2015, and a 2 percent raise in 2017.

That contract resulted in $1.6 million in unanticipated expenses, since it was ratified mid-year. The council ultimately voted to cover those costs using the general fund, rather than a portion of a casino licensing fee.

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