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Published: Thursday, 11/5/2009

Sylvania trustees OK raises, bonus for firefighters

Sylvania Township firefighters would receive 3 percent raises for each of two years, plus a one-time $1,500 bonus, if their union accepts the recommendations of a fact-finder's report that township trustees approved yesterday.

The report issued Tuesday by Dennis E. Minni, a Strongsville, Ohio-based fact-finder with the State Employee Relations Board, consistently favored township positions in its recommendations for a contract with International Association of Fire Fighters Local 2243. Township trustees unanimously accepted it.

The township had requested a two-year contract with 2 percent raises in each year. The union called for a three-year contract with 5 percent raises. Mr. Minni proposed 3 percent raises in each of two years, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2009, plus a $1,500 bonus payable to all union members who were on the department payroll at that time and remain so.

The 3 percent raises will ensure "the bargaining unit remains in the same position among management's list of comparable fire departments," the fact-finder wrote. The union's request for 5 percent raises, he said, is "not to be found anywhere in Ohio at this time" and "is so excessive given the times that management had its hands tied from being able to better its wage offer."

Mr. Minni also rejected union proposals for minimum manpower levels that he said would have increased the fire department's annual costs by nearly $1 million; time-and-a-half pay for off-duty training time, higher uniform allowances, and a $2,000 "incentive" payment to union members related to their health insurance.

Chris Nye, the firefighters' union local president, declined to comment on the fact-finder report, but said union meetings have been scheduled for 9 a.m. on both Sunday and Monday at Fire Station No. 4 for the membership to discuss the proposal. Local 2243 represents 52 fire department employees.

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