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North Las Vegas firefighters approve new contract concessions

North Las Vegas firefighters overwhelmingly approved new contract concessions that will save the city $2 million and 35 jobs.

In the three-day vote that ended Monday, members of the International Association of Firefighters Local 1607 OK’d the concessions by a more than 2-to-1 margin, union President Jeff Hurley said.

City officials and union leaders reached agreement on the concessions last week.

“We’ve always been committed to being part of the solution,” Hurley said.

The agreement, which is scheduled for City Council approval at Wednesday’s meeting, includes a 5 percent base salary reduction for union members.

The agreement runs until the end of January, after which the parties will talk again.

Proposed layoffs were part of a plan by city officials to bridge a $30.3 million shortfall in the fiscal 2012 budget year, which began July 1.

Officials in the firefighters union challenged the layoffs in District Court, saying their contract prohibited layoffs. A District Court judge agreed and temporarily barred the city from going forward pending an injunction hearing that had been scheduled for this week.

The judge’s decision left North Las Vegas scrambling to come up with the $8.6 million it would have saved by laying off firefighters and police officers, whose contract contained similar anti-layoff language. It also left city staffers worried about a potential financial emergency and state takeover of the city’s finances.

The firefighters union’s concessions will shrink that hole to $6.6 million.

The agreement takes effect Aug. 1 and includes eliminating uniform maintenance pay, educational reimbursements and educational incentives. The union also would dismiss its complaints against the city in District Court and with the Employee-Management Relations Board.

North Las Vegas employs about 100 firefighters and firefighter-paramedics and 34 fire engineers. Firefighters in the city average $162,000 a year in salaries and benefits, according to a committee formed last year to study the city’s budget.

Contact reporter Brian Haynes at bhaynes@review
journal.com or 702-383-0281.

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