Georgetown fire board holds special meeting on MOU with firefighters

By From page A2 | March 30, 2012

The Georgetown Fire Protection District Board of Directors held a special meeting March 20, the first meeting with newly appointed Director Larry Anderson who was appointed to take the seat of Bob Brown. The subject matter was strictly regarding the addendum to Memorandum of Understanding between the employees of the fire department and the board.

Firefighters in both Georgetown and Garden Valley fire protection districts have not received any sort of raise in the last five years, and they have been negotiatiing for the past 14 months.

At the start of the special meeting, no resolution was in sight. Both parties thought they were at a standstill. With the board not budging on its offer of 2 percent at 55 for new hirees’ retirement plans, this offer would reduce the current plan of 3 percent at 50, and the firefighters weren’t budging on their counter offer of 2.5 percent at 55.

Finally, after an hour of rigorous verbal discussions, the last 15 minutes seemed to bring out just one small stipulation that the firefighters wanted to be added into the negotiations. It’s hard to believe that all of these arguments could be lightened by just one sentence: “To be reviewed annually.”

The board didn’t want to cut the current retirement plan, but with the economy and the cutabakc in county funds, there was no option but to make everyone involved happy.

The Addendum to Memorandum of Understanding was negotiated as follows:

1. To be effective March 26.

2. There will be no changes to salary schedule or benefits packages except as noted below.

3. New hire career safety employee Retirement Plan through CalPERS will be 2 percent at 55, with an average of the three highest years. New hire career miscellaneous (non-safety) employee Retirement Plan through CalPers will be 2 percent at 60, with an average of the three highest years. To be reviewed annually starting in January of the fiscal year that this MOU expires. This will be done through the Meet and Confer Process of Negotiations in order to improve employee benefits if financially possible.

4. Employees assigned to the “Kelly Schedule” will change to the “48/96 Schedule” beginning on April 7. This will be a trial through Dec. 31. Based on favorable review the schedule will be implemented permanently on Jan. 1, 2013.

5. An update on the Sick Leave Policy also was established.

The terms of the new agreement are effective through June 30, 2013.

The board was able to lower district costs, showing they are making cuts and trying to save money, in hopes that the El Droado County Board of Supervisors will approve the district’s Proposition 172 request for funds, which could potentially give the district an extra $32,000.

The board held another special meeting on March 26 to approve the Addendum to Memorandum of Understanding that was rewritten with the special wording of “To be reviewed annually” and the motion was put forth and agreed upon to approve the negotiated Addendum to Memorandum of Understanding.

Tiffany Kennedy

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