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Published: Saturday, 5/9/2009

Police, fire unions OK deal with Findlay to save jobs

FINDLAY Thanks to some last-minute agreements between the city and its police and fire unions, no city workers are to be laid off as planned, city and union officials said yesterday.

We came to an understanding with the union so everybody s back to work fire, police, and all the other employees at least until the end of the year, Mayor Pete Sehnert said.

All employees, including union, nonunion, and members of the administration, must take eight unpaid furlough days by year s end. Police and firefighters agreed to other concessions to save jobs in their ranks.

Findlay Firefighters Local 381 agreed on Thursday to wage cuts averaging 12.66 percent. They also agreed to work holidays without extra pay, among other concessions, said Matt Cooper, union president.

The agreement will save 11 firefighters jobs. The Findlay Police Employees Association is to vote today on a memorandum of understanding in which they will receive no wage increase this year and take other concessions to save the jobs of 13 officers.

Michelle Sullivan, an attorney for the police union, said talks with the city had broken down Thursday when the city would not agree to guarantee that no police officers would be laid off in 2009 unless city income tax collections dropped by more than 10 percent. Police were concerned, she said, that they would agree to concessions and end up facing layoffs too.

Ms. Sullivan said talks resumed yesterday, and the city tentatively agreed to guarantee no police layoffs would occur this year unless there is a deficit in general fund revenue greater than $1.5 million or if some catastrophic event like a flood occurred that would substantially decrease the general fund balance.

Mayor Sehnert said the concessions, along with some shuffling of more than $1 million that had been set aside for a new city-wide radio system, enabled the city to keep everyone, including six who were to be laid off in other departments.

The police and fire have gotten the majority of the press, but everybody, including our staff and the administration, is taking eight furlough days the mayor said. We had a 2 percent raise at the beginning of the year that we did not take, so everybody s sacrificed here.

Mr. Sehnert said even water and sewer workers, who are not paid through the city s general fund, are taking the furlough days.



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