NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco commissioners on Tuesday finalized a contract with fire battalion chiefs after signing a separate collective bargaining agreement with county firefighters last year.
The dispute, which started more than a year ago, was resolved when the county staff agreed to award the supervisors 3 percent pay raises retroactive to Oct. 6 and to allow overtime pay instead of "comp time" for extra hours worked.
"The overtime was a huge issue," said Robert Fuerst, a spokesman for Local 4420 of the International Association of Firefighters. "That was the major hurdle."
The one-year agreement covers 12 battalion chiefs. In a statement, Fuerst said he hopes the agreement "rebuilds the relationship" between county staff and the chiefs.
That relationship was strained early last year when the union rejected a proposal covering rank and file members. It was further damaged a few months later when another proposal to award 3 percent pay increases to county employees ignored the firefighters. The county finally signed off on an agreement with the union in October. It included the pay raise.