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Published: Friday, 1/10/2014

3-year labor contract with Sylvania Township firefighters approved


A 3-year labor agreement with no pay increases has been approved for the Sylvania Township firefighters and paramedics. However, there is a lump-sum payment and wage hikes are possible in the second and third years.

The township trustee met in executive session this week for 90 minutes to discuss the tentative agreement, and then approved it. The agreement was ratified 33-15 last month by members of Local 2243 of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

The contract is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2014 and covers 57 firefighters. The Sylvania Township Fire Department, with 62 employees, serves Sylvania and the township. 

"We could not commit to give a raise due to lack of funding," said township assistant administrator Susan Wood. "In years 2015 and 2016, there will be a wage re-opener, where we will open the contract up for just a discussion on wages.” 

Each union member will receive a $750 lump sum payment, which is not calculated to determine pension benefits, Ms. Wood said.

Fire Chief Jeffrey Kowalski and township Administrator John Zeitler recently presented township trustees with a draft of the 2014 fire department budget which showed a $300,000 estimated deficit in 2015 and $1.2 million deficit in 2016.

Township officials said they expect to seek voter approval for a fire levy this year, although the amount has not been discussed. The budget estimated expenses at $6.3 million for this year.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or ntrusso@theblade.com, or on Twitter @natalietrusso. 

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