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Archive for Thursday, April 23, 2009

City, firefighters begin contract negotiations

April 23, 2009, 3:30 p.m. Updated April 23, 2009, 4:09 p.m.

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Lawrence firefighters have started 2010 contract negotiations with the city, the city announced Thursday.

The negotiations, which are closed to the public, will include “fiscal attentiveness,” a city news release said.

Firefighters and police officers negotiated a 1.5 percent general wage adjustment for 2009, after protracted negotiations that required a federal labor mediator.

The previous year, both groups received a 2 percent wage increase.

Negotiations for 2010 begin at a time that City Hall leaders are bracing themselves for a large decline in property values that has the potential of reducing city tax revenues by nearly $2 million. In addition, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has proposed a reduction of about $1 million in state funding to the city.

“Everyone’s aware of the economic situation and I know we’ll be able to work together like we always have,” Assistant City Manager Diane Stoddard said of the contract negotiations with the firefighter’s union.

“This is a time when we hope the city puts an emphasis on core services,” said Mike McMillen, International Association of Firefighters Local 1596 president. “We also understand that this is a tough economic time, so we’re looking forward to going in and working with the city.”

Stoddard said city and police union representatives will meet next week to begin their negotiation process.

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