City comes out on top in contract negotiations with Naples firefighters

Photo courtesy Stephen R. McInerny II, Fire Chief, City of Naples Fire-Rescue Department
City of Naples firefighters put out a transformer fire behind La Quinta Inn and Suites on Tuesday in Naples. About 150 gallons of mineral oil leaked into a retention pond behind the hotel after a car was driven in to the transformer, causing the it to catch fire and cut power to the business around 3 a.m. Tuesday. All of the guests in the hotel - which has 103 rooms booked to capacity - had to check out Tuesday morning. In connection to the incident, Christopher Sebrasky, 22, was arrested for leaving the scene of a crash, possession of marijuana and resisting  arrest without violence.

Photo by LEXEY SWALL // Buy this photo

Photo courtesy Stephen R. McInerny II, Fire Chief, City of Naples Fire-Rescue Department City of Naples firefighters put out a transformer fire behind La Quinta Inn and Suites on Tuesday in Naples. About 150 gallons of mineral oil leaked into a retention pond behind the hotel after a car was driven in to the transformer, causing the it to catch fire and cut power to the business around 3 a.m. Tuesday. All of the guests in the hotel - which has 103 rooms booked to capacity - had to check out Tuesday morning. In connection to the incident, Christopher Sebrasky, 22, was arrested for leaving the scene of a crash, possession of marijuana and resisting arrest without violence.

Contract negotiations with Naples firefighters ended in favor of the city on Tuesday, more than a year after the parties reached impasse.

Rulings by the Public Employee Relations Commission regarding unfair labor practices filed by the city against the firefighters local union and vice versa are pending.

City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to accept staff’s recommendations on two provisions in the contract after the city rejected a recommendation by a special magistrate in January.

The parties have disagreed on two sections of the contract involving pensions and some aspects of a safety and health provision regarding physical exams.

The city said it already provides payment for employee physicals through health insurance and should not have to pay for additional screenings. The city also proposed changes that would bring the firefighters pension program in line with police pensions and firefighter pensions in the Florida Retirement System.

Assistant City Manager Roger Reinke said the change in pensions for the firefighters and other city employees will result in $100 million in savings over the next 30 years.

Negotiations began June 2011 and the parties declared impasse in January 2012. Each party filed an unfair labor practice against the other in 2012.

In February, a hearing officer with the Public Employee Relations Commission said the city had not committed a wrongdoing but that the firefighters’ union had.

The commission has yet to vote on the recommended order by the hearing officer, Reinke said.

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