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North Las Vegas firefighters’ union reaches agreement with city

Updated Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011 | 4:16 p.m.

The North Las Vegas firefighters' union has entered a tentative agreement of concessions with the city to help close a projected $35.1 million budget gap during the next two years.

The agreement, originally presented by the union Dec. 8 and signed by city officials Tuesday, includes giving up sick-leave sellback and holiday pay sellback. It also includes forgoing any raises for the next year, union president Jeff Hurley said.

The city should save about $4 million because of the concessions, Hurley said. “It’s reoccurring savings. These aren’t deferred raises,” he said.

In addition to agreeing not to lay off any firefighters during the next fiscal year, the city also agrees it won't seek contracts from private companies to perform firefighters’ duties.

Those duties, according to the agreement, include “but are not limited to current medical patient ambulance transportation, Tactical Medic program and fire prevention activities/inspections.”

If the city and union had not reached an agreement, 33 firefighters would have been laid off. The firefighters' union has about 190 members, Hurley said. Hurley said the union's membership is expected to vote to accept the tentative agreement by Thursday afternoon.

In October, Acting City Manager Maryann Ustick gave a presentation that showed how the city could cut $35.1 million from its budget during the next two years. In that presentation, Ustick said firefighters would have to be laid off if no changes were made.

“We are the only union in the city of North Las Vegas that has made four rounds of concessions,” Hurley said. Those four rounds have occurred during the past two years.

But Hurley said he understood that budget shortfalls had put city officials in a difficult position.

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” he said of the city council’s choice to ask the unions to come forward. “The only way we’re going to be able to [cut spending] is by making concessions.”

In those four rounds, the union has cut $17 million from the city’s budget, he said.

City spokeswoman Juliet Casey released a statement about the agreement Tuesday evening.

"We are pleased the concessionary talks with the IAFF were successful and we that we now have two tentative agreements, one for the supervisors and one for the non-supervisors,” the statement said. “Once approved by members and City Council, the tentative agreements would take effect on July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012."

Both the city’s Teamsters union and police officer’s association have stepped forward since the city’s budget reduction plan was presented in October. The concessions from the three unions, when ratified, will have saved a total of 188 public-sector jobs.

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