Fredonia approves agreement with fire department

An agreement regarding the terms and conditions of employment for six full-time firefighters at the Fredonia Fire Department has been reached.

The village board approved the agreement during its regular meeting on Monday. Village Administrator Richard St. George outlined various aspects within the contract.

“It’s pretty much the same as what we approved for the police department,” he said. “There’s no change in pay scale for the fiscal year 2012-13. For June 1 through Sept. 30 of next year, they’re also at a zero (dollar pay increase) during that short, truncated period. And then, kicking in on Oct. 1, they get a 1.75 percent increase, and in (the fiscal year) 2014-15, it’s 2 percent, and then in (the fiscal year) 2015-16, it’s 2 percent again.”

St. George also explained current firefighters will be paying 10 percent toward their health care, while new hires will be at 15 percent.

The fire department also includes two part-time paid firefighters, but the contract agreement does not cover those individuals.

Also during the meeting, Mayor Stephen Keefe announced the fire protection district contract with the town of Pomfret is still in the process of being negotiated.

“The contract is in the hands of the town right now and we’re waiting to hear back from them,” he said.

St. George said a meeting was held between village and town officials about two weeks ago to discuss the terms of the contract.

Town Supervisor Donald Steger told the OBSERVER after the village board meeting that he is hoping the town board will schedule a public hearing regarding the contract extension at the town’s Dec. 11 regular meeting. He would like the hearing to be held immediately before the town’s year-end special meeting on Dec. 30.

Steger added the town must approve the extension before the current contract expires on Jan. 1.

“Without a contract in place, legally, we can’t go into the town if there’s an emergency, and that puts us in a legal situation, as well as a moral dilemma,” Keefe said. “It’s just not a fair situation for anyone to be in.”

Members of the Pomfret Town Board had said at their Nov. 6 regular meeting that they felt “blindsided” and “misled” by Fredonia due to allegedly nonexistent negotiations over the contract. Keefe later replied saying the village is open to discussing the terms of the contract with the town.

The village board has already passed a two-year contract extension, with a $13,000 cost increase next year to the town.

The Fredonia Fire Department must also approve the contract, but must wait for it to be approved by both the village and the town first. Keefe said the fire department was hoping to approve the contract at its regular meeting on Dec. 4.

In unrelated matters, three seasonal laborers for the Fredonia Department of Public Works were approved at an hourly rate of $7.50 with no other benefits. Those individuals are Carson Rafan of Fredonia, Jason Siragusa of Brocton and Scott Tworek of Dunkirk.

A resolution was approved to facilitate the trade of three used police vehicles for a used quad cab truck from Shults Auto Resale Center. No cash is necessary for the transaction.

“The idea of acquiring the vehicle is great,” Police Chief Brad Meyers said. “We’ve located a vehicle. The only downfall is that it’s fire engine red. I’m trying to work out a deal with BOCES and they’re entertaining the idea of painting it for us. I’m not sure if we’ll just leave it red or if we’ll try to work something out with BOCES.”

The village approved a contribution of $500 to the Festivals Fredonia Committee for promotional expenses associated with the Harvest Moon Cemetery Tours event.

The board entered into executive session before the meeting to discuss personnel at the water filtration plant and the fire department, as well as contractual negotiations with the fire department.

The next regular meeting will be Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Trustees Room of the village hall. Offices at the village hall will be closed on Friday in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

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