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Wasn't There A Fire Last Week?

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Guest Guest69

no mention of last week's fire at town council meeting last night? why? not proud of firemen or just not informed?

as the letter in this week's observer says, who's on this "new" town council? and my new councilman heads the fire dpt.

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Guest The Jersey Journal

From The Jersey Journal

No agreement in sight for Kearny fire superiors

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

By Rose Duger

Journal correspondent

KEARNY - The Fire Department's top brass have been without a contract for more than three years and sources close to the negotiations say there appears to be no resolution in sight.

While the town settled its contract with local firefighters last week, the department's deputy chiefs and captains have worked without a contract since July 2000. Negotiations on a new contract began shortly after the old contract expired and have proceeded haltingly over the past 44 months.

"We haven't heard from them (town officials) since the beginning of December," said Fire Capt. Steven Dyl, a member of the three-person negotiating team representing the Kearny Fire Superior Officers Association.

"We had quite a few meetings at the end of October and through November. But there were times when we would go six months to a year without talking."

The two sticking points in the negotiations have been salaries and the replacement of the current 10-to 14-hour shifts with 24-hour shifts, according to Dyl.

"They (the town) asked for a whole host of givebacks we felt were too much to make up for that shift," Dyl said.

The union maintains that the shift change would save the town money. "There's research out there that shows there's a savings with sick time and time off for injuries when firefighters work one (24-hour) day on and three off," Dyl said.

The issues mirror those that stalled negotiations between the town and the Kearny Firemen's Mutual Benevolent Association for 21/2 years. The FMBA finally won its request for 24-hour shifts, but settled for a lower pay increase than firefighters originally requested.

The agreement with the FMBA calls for raises of 2.75 percent for the 2001 and 2002 fiscal years, and 3.5 percent each year starting on July 1, 2003 and ending June 30, 2007.

Dyl said the town has offered the KFSOA a percentage raise less than that received by the FMBA and other unions representing municipal workers.

"Some of their offers were ridiculous," he said. "The percentages we don't agree on, but we're not going to go lower than the firemen, that's for sure."

Neither side would comment on whether negotiations could lead to a contract soon.

"We're still in negotiations," said Mayor Al Santos. "The issues are very similar to the issues we settled with the FMBA. We're very satisfied with the FMBA contract."

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