Thursday, April 19, 2018
News Roundup

Oldsmar, firefighters resolve pension impasse

OLDSMAR — A yearlong dispute ended at Tuesday night's City Council meeting during a bathroom break.

City Manager Bruce Haddock and Jason Schwabe, who represents Palm Harbor and Oldsmar firefighters at the International Association of Firefighters Local 2980, ended the impasse over pension negotiations for Oldsmar's 13 rank-and-file firefighters.

The city initially wanted to freeze its pension plan for current firefighters and switch them over to the Florida Retirement System. They would keep what they have earned so far, but would have to work several more years than planned before retiring in order to get a pension from the state.

Under the new agreement, all new firefighters must be enrolled in the state's pension plan, but current employees will stick with the city's plan.

The conflict started in June 2013, when the city and the union started negotiations on pension and other contract issues. By December, the city declared an impasse. In May, a special magistrate's report sided with the union. Haddock opposed it, bringing the issue before the council.

Many taxpayers, firefighters and their families spoke of the physical toll working more years would take on the firefighters. Schwabe also highlighted the emotional impact.

"You're there with people during their personal tragedies," he said. "I don't necessarily want 10 more years of performing CPR on babies, of telling loved ones we can't do anything for them. It's not fair to do that to us."

The meeting's tone shifted when, after several hours of statements from attorneys, Haddock and input from the public, Mayor Doug Bevis called for a bathroom break. Afterward, the council was to vote on how to solve the impasse, but Haddock and Schwabe eliminated the need for that when they quietly negotiated a quick agreement.

Haddock said he didn't have a compromise in mind going into the hearing, but was happy to have worked one out before the vote. The city agreed to leave firefighters in their current plans in exchange for the union allowing the city to implement two other cost-saving measures they were previously against.

"I thought we had a reasonable outcome," Haddock said.

All parties greeted the agreement with applause, relieved to sidestep what would have likely been a difficult council vote. Vice Mayor Linda Norris addressed the union and reminded them that although the council members must keep taxpayer interests in mind, they don't want to do so in a way that damages firefighters' morale.

"We do love you and we do honor you and we do want you to be comfortable here," she said.

Contact Julie Kliegman at [email protected] or (727) 445-4159. Follow @ jmkliegman.

Comments

Updated: 9 minutes ago
Hernando County Commissioner arrested on prostitution charges

Hernando County Commissioner arrested on prostitution charges

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County Commissioner Nick Nicholson, 71, was arrested Thursday by the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office on multiple prostitution charges.Nicholson was booked into the Hernando County Detention Center on one count of operating a l...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Marriott Edition to bring five-star hotel ambitions to Water Street Tampa

Marriott Edition to bring five-star hotel ambitions to Water Street Tampa

TAMPA — At the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City, hotelier Ian Schrager transformed a Jazz Age building with its own rich history into a destination offering even more heady experiences — extravagant, edgy and bohemian.In Tampa, Schrager will have...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Out early: Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

Out early: Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

The Bucs' 2018 schedule won't be officially released until 8 p.m. with the rest of the league, but the Times has obtained a copy of the schedule, which shows a challenging start for Tampa Bay.The Bucs open with three division champions back-to-back &...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Anyone looking to make Hillsborough County government bigger, costlier, more dysfunctional and less of a regional force should love the idea that Commissioner Sandy Murman rolled out this week. She proposes enlarging the seven-member board to nine, e...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as CEO

Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as CEO

CLEARWATER — A longtime IBM executive is becoming the new leader of Tampa Bay’s largest public company. Tech Data on Thursday named Richard "Rich" Hume as its new CEO effective June 6. Hume joined Tech Data two years ago and is currently the chief op...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Updated: 2 hours ago

Sally Bradshaw, Kathleen Shanahan column: Barbara Bush was role model who loved Florida

Barbara Pierce Bush loved Florida.With a son as governor, she was practically an honorary Floridian! No one was prouder of former Gov. Jeb Bush than his mom, and no one a more honest critic when she felt he needed some constructive feedback! But we t...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Hundreds mourn Durant High athlete killed at Brandon gas station

Hundreds mourn Durant High athlete killed at Brandon gas station

PLANT CITY — Many remembered Durant High School football player Grover Wills, 18, for his talent on the field, but almost as many remembered his penchant for bursting into dance and song. After practice or on team trips, Wills would mesmerize those a...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Child, 19 months, hospitalized after being found in New Port Richey pond

Child, 19 months, hospitalized after being found in New Port Richey pond

NEW PORT RICHEY — A 19-month-old child was transported to a local hospital Thursday after being found unattended in a pond, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies said they were dispatched to a pond behind a home in the 4700 block of...
Updated: 3 hours ago