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Aurora firefighters, city agree on three-year contract

Updated: October 24, 2012 6:36AM

AURORA — The city and the union that represents rank-and-file firefighters have reached an agreement on a three-year contract.

If the council approves, the contract will give privates and lieutenants a retroactive 1.25 percent raise for 2011, then a 2.5 percent raise for this year and another 2.5 percent raise for next year.

The contract was ratified by the union members on Sept. 6 and is expected to go to the council Finance Committee on Tuesday. From there, the contract is expected to go to the Committee of the Whole on Oct. 2, and then be voted on by the City Council on Oct. 9.

According to city Finance Director Brian Caputo, the contract would cost an additional $165,000 in 2011, $335,000 in 2012 and $343,000 in 2013. Alex Alexandrou, chief administrative services officer, said the wage increases have already been accounted for in the 2012 budget.

There are 161 members of the firefighters union. Firefighters with a rank of captain or higher have their own union, which is currently in negotiations with the city.

This contract follows a wage freeze in 2010, when the city asked for concessions from all unions to deal with a budget shortfall.

As part of the new contract, firefighters will move to the city’s new health insurance plan in which employees pay a share of the premiums related to the type of coverage they select rather than paying a flat percentage of their salaries. Alexandrou said this will be a significant savings for the city, although the exact dollar amount won’t be known until all the firefighters select their coverage.

“This agreement is fair to everyone involved and means that Aurora will be able to attract and retain the best firefighters in the area,” said Mayor Tom Weisner.

Union President Toby Gill called the negotiations very professional. “I think we came to an agreement that was reasonable for both sides,” Gill said.

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