December 11, 2010 (Kearny, NJ) Kearny Fireman have reached an agreement with Mayor Alberto Santos that will save the Town of Kearny $1.1 million. The givebacks are numerous but seem to be a one time fix. The list of givebacks are as follows: comp time instead of overtime; wage and step freezes for the department's 17 newest members; $750 in contributions from each member of the department and 10 firefighters who have retired since 2007; and the cancellation of a lawsuit challenging a state-mandated 1.5 percent contribution toward firefighters' health insurance.
The above cuts seem to be only a stop gap measure but reportedly add up to $1.1 million in savings. It seems bizarre that ten retired firefighters would give back $750.00 as part of the agreement. The Town of Kearny needed $7,500 from retired firefighters? In seems that the biggest ticket item would be the state-mandated 1.5 percent contribution toward firefighters' health insurance. The cost of this contribution must have been significant because the only other big ticket item would be overtime followed by wage freezes for the department's newest 17 members.
It would appear at first blush, that future cuts will have to be made to find similar savings next year. The economy is not expected to turn around for at least 5 years so next year there will be a necessity to find additional savings. A reduction in manpower may only be a year away.
The Firefighters and Police Contract negotiations have been hot topics on our Discussion Board. Join the discussion and tell us what you think of the agreement reached by the Firefighter Unions and Mayor Alberto Santos.