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July 27, 2015

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County OKs contract with firefighters that saves $7.4 million

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Clark County commissioners approved a contract with the local firefighters’ union today, about two weeks after an arbitrator ruled in the county’s favor.

Negotiations between the county and the union fell apart in August and the two sides agreed to binding arbitration the following month.

The arbitrator selected the county’s offer over the union’s on Jan. 19.

The contract will save the county an estimated $7.4 million over the 12-month period, plus many of the provisions in the contract will likely save money in future periods, County Manager Don Burnette said.

The contract affects 741 employees covered under the agreement with the International Association of Firefighters Local 1908, which is the county’s second-largest union.

Commissioner Tom Collins was the sole vote against the contract. Collins said the contract’s extension of longevity should have applied to current employees instead of only to new employees.

The contract includes a 2 percent salary reduction for a savings of $3.4 million, savings of $738,036 due to a lower contribution to the union’s insurance trust and savings of $500,000 attributed to modifications of the long-term disability policy.

County officials previously said the firefighters’ final offer would have saved the county $6.1 million had it been selected by the arbitrator.

Since the newly approved contract expires in five months, negotiations over the next contract will begin soon, Burnette said.

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