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Fire leaders, city agree on contract

Updated: December 22, 2012 6:25AM

AURORA — City officials and the union that represents the brass of the city’s fire department have agreed on a three-year contract.

If approved, the Aurora Fire Officers contract will give the fire department captains, battalion chiefs, assistant chiefs and the fire marshall 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.

Alex Alexandrou, the city’s chief administrative services officer, said Tuesday the wage increases are “low compared to historic previous agreements with this group as well as the Local 99 group,” which represents the fire department’s privates and lieutenants.

The AFOA ratified the contract on Nov. 7 and the contract is effective through 2013.

The contract moves the officers 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. Rank-and-file firefighters also agreed to move to the new health insurance plan last month. 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.

The contract’s drug and alcohol testing standards have also been updated according to current best practices, Alexandrou said, making the fire officers the first to agree to those changes.

“This was the first significant (city-employed) group that agreed to those changes,” he said. “I’m very happy that they stepped up and then did that and we hope that will be a template for the rest of the city.”

The contract did not increase holiday or sick time, Alexandrou said. He said an agreement was reached through a cooperative and collaborative effort.

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

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