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Posts tagged: Spokane Fire Department

Verner agreed to new fire contract, but new council will have final say

Former Mayor Mary Verner and the leadership of the city's fire union tentatively agreed to a new contract in the final days of Verner's term.

But the deal still will need to be ratified by the union's membership and the new City Council.

Former City Administrator Ted Danek confirmed Friday that a deal was struck, but said under an agreement with the union, details can't be released until membership ratifies it and it's ready for City Council consideration.

Union President Mark Vietzke said the deal was reached on Dec. 29. Negotiations started on April 1. He said membership was presented the contract this week. Voting will close next week.

Last month, Mayor David Condon and some incoming City Council members protested Verner’s decision and the City Council's approval of a three-year contract extension for the city’s largest union, Local 270 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Even though members of that union will get no cost-of-living increases in 2013, 2014 and 2015, Condon noted that Local 270’s contract wasn’t set to expire until the end of 2012 and said the deal allowed the union to forgo working with him as the newly elected mayor.

The firefighters' contract, however, expired on Dec. 31 and Condon and newly elected City Council members will get a say on the deal reached by the Verner administration.

“This council and this mayor get to see it and decide it,” Vietzke said. “This is not a 9th-hour decision whatsoever.”

City spokeswoman Marlene Feist said Condon currently is reviewing the proposed contract. 

Spokane will cover more fire stations with paramedics

Firefighters with the highest level of medical training will be on duty 24-7 at two more of Spokane’s 14 fire stations under an agreement approved Monday by the Spokane City Council.

Under the deal between city administrators and the city’s firefighters union, the city will spread its paramedics among 10 stations, instead of eight. It will cost the city an additional $60,000 a year.

“If you vote yes, you’ll save somebody’s life, without a doubt,” Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer told the City Council before it voted 5-1 in support.

The city had been scheduling two paramedics to be on duty at eight stations, though because of vacations or sick leave, sometimes only one would be on duty. Starting Aug. 1, it will guarantee at least one paramedic on duty at ten stations all the time.

The stations with the enhanced service are:

∙ Station 2, 1001 E. North Foothills Drive

∙ Station 17, 5121 W. Lowell Road

Schaeffer said the West Plains fire station that will open next year after the city annexes 10 square miles, including the Spokane International Airport, also will have a paramedic on duty.

Heave. Ho.

The Spokane Fire Department will celebrate the arrival of the new engine in Hillyard by pushing it into Station 15 Friday afternoon.

What, the new truck  doesn’t come with a motor?

For upwards of 500-grand, it definitely can run on its own power. But it seems there’s a tradition of pushing a new engine into a station for the first time. Assistant Chief Brian Schaeffer said it’s a tradition around the country, although he doesn’t know how often it has been observed in Spokane.

“We don’t get new engines very often,” he said. Not sure of the origins, although it may go back to the days of horse-drawn fire pumpers, he added.

They’ll have all the crews assigned to Station 15, plus city leaders, union officials, department brass and community members. Which is good, because the sucker is heavy, and they may need all the help they can get.

Ceremony starts at 2 p.m. at 2120 E. Wellesley.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

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