Fire Officials Extend
Right before the end of Tuesday night’s Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue board meeting adjourned, the commissioners amended the agenda adding an item at the very last minute: a memo of understanding (MOU) with their two local fire unions.
This unusual walk-on item provoked a heated debate that had fire commissioners arguing for more than 45 minutes. Walt Stevens, the Union President of Firefighters & Paramedics Local 1826, noted that by Oct. 1 current employee contracts would revert back to salaries that all personnel were making prior to 2009 when they agreed to $1.66 million in concessions.
The fire district’s labor attorney had recently declared an impasse during negotiations with the firefighter’s unions on Sept 10, 2012.
Stevens said after the meeting outside , “I’ve never had such difficulty giving money back to a fire district”.
The final motion the commissioners made did gave Fire Chief Don Adams the authority to sign an MOU and extend the employees’ current contract while negotiations continue. It passed three to one with Fire Commissioner Dave Adams dissenting.