By Alison Stewart
BARBERTON: An ordinance granting Barberton firefighters a 2 percent increase in salary barely passed by a vote of five to four at the Monday’s City Council meeting.
Council President Fred Maurer was the deciding vote.
Mayor William Judge said council meets with a bargaining group every few years to address contract negotiations.
“We discuss everything from vacation time, schedules, health insurance, training and more,” Judge said.
He said different departments have separate contracts with the city. Last year the local Barberton ASME or American Society of Mechanical Engineers received a 1.5 percent increase in salary.
Several council members believe it is unfair for different departments to receive different pay increases.
Council member Gary Endres voiced his opinion on the matter.
“I am voting ‘no’ to get the negotiating moving along,” said Endres. “It should be far more fair than it is.”
Council member John Lysenko shared the same viewpoint.
“ASME got 1.5 percent under contract negotiation, and firemen are getting 2 percent at this point,” Lysenko said. “It should be more equal, not that I think the firemen aren’t worth the raises being offered.”
Raises are still under negotiation for the police department.
Judge said the fire and police departments pay 15 percent for their health care while ASME pays 5 percent.
“Their contracts are never going to be the same,” said Judge. “It takes different amounts of training and types of training to work in different apartments. They also pay different amounts on insurance and other things, so the raises in these departments will always differ.”
The ordinance giving the fire department a 2 percent increase in pay is in effect from Jan. 1 until Dec. 31, 2016.