During the March 7 meeting of the White Plains Common Council a Stipulation of Agreement between the City and the White Plains Professional Fire Fighters Association, Inc., Local 274 I.A.F.F., A.F.L.-C.I.O., extended a collective bargaining agreement ending June 30, 2015, for three years, through June 30, 2018 was formally approved with unanimous approval of the Council.
Council President, John Kirkpatrick, said that the agreement was approved by 72 percent of the union members and included a return to full city-paid health insurance for long standing employees (those hired prior to 1995) and maintained the 85 percent contribution by more recent hires.
Councilmember Beth Smayda noted that salary increases would be made at 2 percent, 2.25 percent and 2.5 percent over the three years.
Random drug testing of fire fighters was also added to the existing city contract.
In response to recent allegations made by some members of the Fire Fighters union and Councilmember and Mayoral candidate Milagros Lecuona, Smayda commented on the process of Mutual Aid followed by the White Plains Fire Department in which other fire departments provide back up during an emergency situation when needed.
Smayda commented that White Plains does not rely on this method as other municipalities do, and only makes the request when necessary, indicating that the city is adequately protected.
Councilmember Lecuona indicated that she found Smayda’s remarks about her support of the fire fighters offensive.
Councilmember John Martin said the Fire Fighters contract was fair and reasonable and that the Fire Department has recently spent $5.7 million for new equipment. He further noted that 12 new Fire Fighters were being added to the force.
Mayor Tom Roach said he welcomed any comments on improvements that could be made to the Fire Department and that he was impressed by the professionalism and pride taken by staff in all city departments.