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November 18. 2013 8:21PM

Claremont reaches agreement with police, fire unions

CLAREMONT — After years of negotiations, the police and fire departments finally have new contracts with the city.

City Council and city fire and police unions came to agreements last Wednesday night in non-public sessions that ended five years of negotiations.

“I’m glad it’s over. I’m relieved it is. It was a long time coming,” said City Manager Guy Santagate.

The agreements are both fair to the city employees as well as taxpayers, Santagate said.

“At the heart of it really was the health insurance program,” Santagate said. “We wanted something paid towards the health insurance with costs going up so much, and we were able to do that.”

The first year of the contract police and fire employees will make no contribution to their health plans. However, in the second and third years of the contract, employees would begin contributing first 5 percent and then 10 percent in the third year, he said.

Comparisons during negotiations showed that police salaries were lagging behind those in comparable communities, Santagate said. So police salaries went up more than fire department salaries, he said.

“Police were further behind their peers so they got a little bigger raise to correct any inequity in the pay scale,” Santagate said. “And they deserve the raise by the way; they’ve been going without one five years.”

The employees are also to be given health plan choices that will affect their raises. A more expensive plan means a smaller raise.

mpierce@newstote.com


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