Firefighter raises get second reading

NILES — A special city council meeting is scheduled Wednesday to ratify an agreement with the firefighters bargaining unit, which Mayor Steve Mientkiewicz said affects 36 firefighters employed by the city.

The city has 15 days after the agreement’s ratification by the bargaining unit, which happened Nov. 1, to approve it — leading to a special meeting Friday evening for a second reading of the legislation. It received its first reading at council’s regular meting Wednesday.

Just like on Wednesday, council could not pass the agreement in “emergency” because they were short the required six council members. On Friday, Ryan McNaughton and Linda Marchese were absent.

If the agreement is finalized as it currently stands, firefighters will receive a 3-percent pay increase next year, followed by a 2.5-percent increase the following year and a 1-percent increase in the third year. They also will receive a 48-cent roll-in to their base wage in exchange for giving up yearly stipends.

Mientkiewicz said firefighters will contribute 7 percent to health care next year and 10 percent the following year, which he said is the same amount as other city unions. The agreement, if passed, will be effective Jan. 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2022.

Other legislation that received a first reading Wednesday went through a second reading Friday, including an agreement with the newly re-established Community Improvement Corporation (CIC).

Council president Robert Marino raised concerns about the language of the resolution as presented, pointing to a line-item that suggests city council would provide $50,000 funding to the CIC. Law Director Phil Zuzulo said the number is not binding, but the legislation is still expected to be amended in its third reading, likely to exclude an exact figure related to funding.

Marino said he fully backs the CIC, but was uncomfortable setting a dollar amount in the agreement in case the city cannot commit that amount of money.

“I’m 100 percent in favor of economic growth,” Marino said.



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