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Danbury City Council to consider three-year extension of fire, city staff contracts

February 5, 2018 GMT

DANBURY — The Danbury City Council is expected to vote Tuesday to extend collective bargaining agreements that provide three consecutive annual raises to city hall and fire department employees.

The agreements will extend the two contracts, which expired last summer, through July 2020 and provide 2.75 percent raises each year for those union-represented employees, according to city documents.

The first raises will take effect July 1, if approved by the council during its monthly meeting Tuesday night, and the $381,000 cost is already included in the current city budget.

The agreements extend the city’s existing terms with the Danbury Professional Firefighters Union Local 801 and the Danbury Municipal Employees Association, which represent about 210 employees, Mayor Mark Boughton said.

“In previous negotiations with the various unions, we made all the very difficult choices as they relate to changes in pension and healthcare and stuff like that,” Boughton said. “This was, in a sense, a little smoother, because it was just a discussion about general wage increases. Everybody has kicked in to do their part to help us keep costs down, which makes this possible.”

The contracts will give city and union leaders a reprieve from negotiations for several years, but the raises will have ripple effects when the council wrestles with the city budget each spring.

The raises for firefighters will cost an additional $257,000 in 2019 and another $264,000 in 2020, according to city estimates. Raises for union-represented city staff members, such as clerical staff in the tax collector’s and finance offices, will require an additional $134,900 in 2019 and $138,600 in 2020, according to the estimates.

A similar extension is in the works for the city’s contract with the police union, which also expired last summer, Boughton said.

That proposed extension also would include the same raises but would switch police officers hired after July 1 this year into the new defined contribution pension system that other city employees joined under previous union contracts, Boughton said..

Police union members must still approve that proposed contract extension, though, before it can return to the city council for final approval. That vote will be scheduled for this month and the extension could appear on the council’s March agenda, Boughton said.

zach.murdock@hearstmediact.com