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South Shore Fire Offers Concessions Worth $1.2M Over Two Years

Mount Pleasant trustees are expected to approve what amounts to a two-year contract for the department.

Editor's Note: The reduction percentage the village asked from both the police and fire departments is actually 3 percent, not the 5 percent we reported. We have corrected that figure and regret the error.

The South Shore fire union is prepared to give some financial stability for the next two years with a contract that includes signficant concessions.

Village President Carolyn Milkie has scheduled a special board meeting for 1 pm Fri., Oct. 14, to discuss and approve the contract.

During the , Trustee Harry Manning asked William Miller, president of the union, to work with Planning Director Ron Meyer, part of Mount Pleasant's interim management team, on an agreement that would save the village $200,000, approximately 3 percent of the annual operating budget.

Mount Pleasant has a $700,000 hole in its budget, $300,000 of which is the reduction in state aid. The rest is from negative returns on investments.

According to Miller, South Shore has a package deal that in its first year freezes wages, requires personnel to work furlough days without pay, eliminates the clothing allowance, leaving a position vacant from a retirement and increases payments into healthcare by $14 a pay period.

"Basically, our guys are each giving back to the village $2,500 a year," Miller said. "To lessen the pain for them, pay periods will pay out at 38 hours instead of 40."

In 2013, the village will return wages and the clothing allowance back to 2011 and fills the vacant position. Department chiefs have agreed to participate in the concessions. All told, the two-year agreement would save the village $1.2 million.

Trustees and Milkie expressed their deep appreciation for the quick work to reach an agreement.

"This is a phenomenal compromise," said Karen Albeck. "You all should be highly commended for your efforts."

Gary Feest was the only trustee to voice a hesitation, but that came predominantly from his not having had an oportunity to fully review the paperwork.

"On the surface this looks great, and I really appreciate how hard you worked under such a tight deadline," he said. "I just want to be sure the village will not have to pay the pipe, so-to-speak, in four, five or six years."

But Miller answered that trustees showed a real need and asked for a one-time fix and the department with the union took it further.

"This closes a $200,000 hole for 2012 and looks ahead into 2013 and saves you $1.2 million," he said. "I hope the board does not expect us to make further concessions because you can't effectively budget into 2013."

In the end, everyone expects both sides to sign the agreement for two years at the special board meeting.

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