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County, Firefighters Reach Tentative Agreement on Contract with $4.2 Million in Savings

 

Contact:  Erik Pappa

                 Director of Public Communications

 

Phone:

Cell:

E-mail:

 

(702) 455-3548

(702) 378-8970

EPappa@ClarkCountyNV.gov 

For Immediate Release                             Thursday, May 5, 2011
    

 

County, Firefighters Reach Tentative Agreement on Contract with $4.2 Million in Savings

 

Taxpayers will save $4.2 million in the coming fiscal year thanks to a tentative agreement reached between Clark County and its firefighters union.

 The agreement would result in contract savings of about 3 percent, of which 2.9 percent involves strictly compensation.

 Combined with the contract settled in January for the current fiscal year, total savings over two years amount to 9.7 percent and $13.3 million annually. Changes in benefits for new employees will save an additional $630,000 per year going forward.

 Representatives from Clark County and Local 1908 of the International Association of Firefighters today announced the tentative one-year contract for the fiscal year starting July 1. However, the contract must still be ratified by the County Commission and the union’s rank and file.

 The negotiations, which began in February, were completed in the shortest span of time in recent memory, officials said.

 “I’d like to thank the firefighters for their willingness to step forward and help the County address its budget deficit,” said Assistant County Manager Ed Finger, who headed the County’s negotiating team. “This is really a positive development in reducing our labor costs, not only for the duration of the contract, but over the long term, as well.”

 Commissioner Mary Beth Scow agreed. “I’d like to commend the firefighters for coming forward with concessions and expediting the process,” she said. “In difficult times this is necessary in order to help us eliminate the County’s deficit.”

 Commissioner Tom Collins also hailed the agreement: “I want to compliment the cooperation and expediency of both sides working together to help our Clark County citizens have a more secure community.”

 “Continuing to provide the highest quality of medical and Fire Fighting response to our community was the most important consideration for Clark County Fire Fighters,” said IAFF President Ryan Beaman. “We face the same financial challenges as any other city or county government. This agreement demonstrates that interest-based bargaining can work in the public sector, as it has here.  I would like to thank the leadership of the County Commission and County management for recognizing the importance of public safety in our community.”

 Changes to the contract include a 1.5-percent wage reduction, reductions in vacation and sick leave accruals, a freeze on increases in longevity pay and tuition reimbursement, and reductions in premium pay, remote pay and bonus leave for new employees.

             The contract award, which affects the 741 employees covered under the agreement with the International Association of Firefighters Local 1908, the County’s second-largest union, covers the period from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012.

 Today’s announcement helps the County deal with an ongoing budget deficit due to declining revenues primarily in property taxes, which comprise about one-third of the General Fund, and “consolidated taxes,” which consist mostly of sale taxes. The County will be eliminating about 200 positions in the coming weeks and laying off 83 employees, part of a third round of budget reductions instituted in recent years that reduces a $100 million budget deficit to about $50 million. The new firefighter contract reduces that burden further, though the County will need to make additional cuts in the coming year. The Commission is set to approve a final General Fund budget of $1.2 billion on May 17.

 The Clark County Fire Department is the largest in the state and is responsible for protecting the famed

Las Vegas Strip, the largest part of the Las Vegas Valley (293 square miles) and a County the size of New Jersey at 7,910 square miles. Its purview also covers the resort townships of Laughlin, Primm and Jean. The department has 29 full-time fire stations, responding to 120,413 incidents in 2009 – 3,035 fires, 91,134 medical calls and 26,244 other calls, including false alarms and mutual aid responses in other jurisdictions. Some 398 fire investigations were conducted in 2009, and there were four fatalities, down from 10 in 2007, and fire losses totaled $25.5 million. The department also conducted numerous inspections in support of new construction, new business licensing and other building safety requirements. In addition, the Fire Department maintains one of only 28 urban search and rescue teams in the country and provides fire and rescue services to the nation’s seventh-busiest airport.

                                                                          ###

 Clark County is a dynamic and innovative organization dedicated to providing top-quality service with integrity, respect and accountability.  With jurisdiction over the world-famous Las Vegas Strip and covering an area the size of New Jersey, Clark is the nation’s 14th-largest county and provides extensive regional services to more than 2 million citizens and 40 million visitors a year. Included are the nation’s 7th-busiest airport, air quality compliance, social services and the state’s largest public hospital, University Medical Center. The county also provides municipal services that are traditionally provided by cities to almost 900,000 residents in the unincorporated area. Those include fire protection, roads and other public works, parks and recreation, and planning and development.

Erik R. Pappa | Director of Public Communications
Clark County
500 S. Grand Central Pkwy., 6th floor
Las Vegas, NV 89155-1111
(702) 455-3548/6 (office) | (702) 378-8970 (cell.) | (702) 380-9688 (fax)
EPappa@ClarkCountyNV.gov  
www.ClarkCountyNV.gov

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