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Boise police, fire unions agree to trim back contracts to avoid layoffs

Boise's police and fire unions have announced an agreement with the city in which they'll give up cost-of-living pay increases in fiscal year 2013 that already were promised in their existing contracts, to help the city balance its budget and avoid layoffs. “This agreement is a shining example of how city governments and public-safety unions can work together to solve difficult problems,” said Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, who said the city will save $1.275 million. Click below for the city's full announcement.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    

Friday, December 2, 2011                                             

BOISE POLICE & FIREFIGHTERS AGREE TO $1.2 MILLION PAY CUT    

    City of Boise firefighters and police officers have agreed to reduce their pay in order to help balance the city budget.  

    Boise Mayor David H. Bieter today joined representatives from Boise Firefighters Local 149 and Boise Police Local 486 at a press conference to announce the groundbreaking cost-saving measure.

    “During difficult times, we all need to make sacrifices,” Mayor Bieter said. “It’s clear with this agreement that Boise police officers and firefighters are willing to step up and work as partners to help address our budget shortfall for the greater good of our community. I thank them for their assistance. This agreement is a shining example of how city governments and public-safety unions can work together to solve difficult problems.”  

    The firefighters and police officers had contracts with the city which guaranteed cost-of-living increases for Fiscal Year 2013. The new agreement means that pay will be held back to current levels.  

    “We were pleased to be able to help our community and civic government weather these tough economic times,” Boise Firefighter Local 149 President Greg Womack said. “This agreement also means that our neighbors, the citizens of Boise, won’t have to worry about having fewer firefighters and police officers on the street.”

    The new agreement will save the city a total of $1.275 million. The overall reduction in compensation to Boise public safety officers means the city will be able to guarantee that they will maintain staffing at current levels, with no need for layoffs.  

    “Officers are often called upon to handle difficult situations.” Boise Police Local 486 President Guy Bourgeau said. “This agreement is an example of how the collective bargaining process can work to help get us all through these difficult times. This process of the Police and Fire Unions working collectively with the City is going to protect the taxpayers and citizens who deserve reliable, top quality police and fire services without worrying that tight budgets may impact their safety or level of service.”

    The salary turnback was part of an extensive budget-balancing plan proposed by Mayor David H. Bieter in June to address decreased revenues and ensure that the city’s budget remains sustainable going forward. The mayor’s other recommended cost-containment measures, including elimination of vacant positions and no base compensation increase for general employees in Fiscal Year 2012, have already been implemented in departments citywide.   

    Other changes to the union agreements include adjustments in how unused employee sick leave and vacation time are managed by the city. The agreement also includes a contingency provision that would grant the unions a one-time, non-base compensation adjustment should city revenues increase substantially.

    While today’s announcement will significantly reduce the severity of potential cuts to city services, departments will continue to examine other possible cost-containment measures. These measures will be considered by the Council at its budget workshop next June. No decision on salaries for general employees in Fiscal Year 2013 has been made.

###

Adam Park
Communications Director
Office of The Mayor, City of Boise


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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