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Andrews Criticizes MoCo Firefighter Deal

Montgomery County Council president Phil Andrews today criticized a proposal to delay a pay hike for county firefighters, saying it did not go far enough to address the county's fiscal problems.

"It doesn't provide the structural savings we need," said Andrews (D-Gaithersburg, Rockville), chairman of the council's public safety committee.

Andrews was responding to the announcement last week by the professional firefighters union that it has agreed to at least $8.million in wage concessions to help the county close a $450.million budget gap. A county spokesman has said the deal is not final.

John Sparks, president of Local 1664 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, which also represents paramedics, said the projected givebacks would cost the typical firefighter about $8,000 to $9,000 in lost pay increases and holiday pay over the next two years. He said annual pay averages between $50,000 and $60,000.

The concessions include giving up a negotiated bonus for working a holiday and delaying a 4.percent cost-of-living increase this year and a 3.5.percent cost-of-living increase next year.

Sparks said today he understood Andrews' concerns but said firefighters don't want to permanently forego the pay raises, and instead are opting for a deferral in the hopes that the raises can be reinstated if the economy improves.

By Anne Bartlett  |  January 26, 2009; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  Miranda Spivack , Montgomery County  
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