Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Salary negotiations begin for merged Hernando fire-rescue districts

A Hernando County Fire Rescue firefighter earns, on average, about 12 percent less than one working for Spring Hill.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times (2011)

A Hernando County Fire Rescue firefighter earns, on average, about 12 percent less than one working for Spring Hill.

BROOKSVILLE — Union representatives from the former Spring Hill Fire Rescue District and Hernando County's fire rescue district had their first collective bargaining session with county administrative officials Thursday as the effort to bring the two operations under one roof continues.

As expected, the main topic was money — specifically how to lessen the pay disparities that over the years have seen Spring Hill firefighters earning on average about 12 percent more than their county counterparts.

Robert Rae, the union representative for the firefighters, said the group is proposing to freeze the salaries of Spring Hill fire personnel for three years while adding step pay increases for county firefighters, gradually closing the salary gap.

Top-tier firefighter/paramedics for Spring Hill currently make $55,945 a year; the comparable salary for county personnel is $49,954.

Rae said firefighters from both districts felt that phasing in increases over time was preferable to asking Spring Hill staffers to take a pay reduction.

"Everyone understood that something had to be done to bring the pay scale between the two departments closer together," he said. "We felt this was the most equitable way to do it."

Under the union's proposal, county firefighters would receive a 3 percent raise during the 2013-14 budget year; those who have worked for Spring Hill would receive nothing.

Cheryl Marsden, the county's administrative services director, said while the county's management team has tentatively approved some articles in the new contract, such as holiday and overtime pay, and promotional testing, other items, such as salaries, sick leave and vacation buy-back policies, are in negotiation. They'll be discussed in an executive session with county commissioners this month.

Spring Hill's roughly 105 firefighters have historically enjoyed an advantage over the county's 130 firefighters. Former Spring Hill fire Chief Mike Rampino, who serves as the county's public safety director, pushed district personnel toward greater job training and quicker advancement, which came with higher pay levels.

Consolidation of the two districts began after voters refused to give an independent Spring Hill district any taxing authority.

The merger is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 1.

Logan Neill can be reached at lneill@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1435.

Salary negotiations begin for merged Hernando fire-rescue districts 08/08/13 [Last modified: Thursday, August 8, 2013 10:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. White House signals acceptance of Russia sanctions bill

    National

    WASHINGTON — The White House indicated Sunday that President Donald Trump would accept new legislation imposing sanctions on Russia and curtailing his authority to lift them on his own, a striking turnaround after a broad revolt in Congress by lawmakers of both parties who distrusted his friendly approach to …

    President Donald Trump’s ability to lift sanctions against Russia would be blocked.
  2. Senator: American student arrested in China has been freed

    World

    BILLINGS, Mont. — Chinese authorities have dropped charges against an American college student who was arrested and detained in the a week ago after reportedly injuring a taxi driver who was roughing up his mother in a fare dispute, a U.S. lawmaker said Sunday.

    Guthrie McLean was detained for reportedly injuring a taxi driver after the driver physically attacked McLean’s mother.
  3. Tampa-based makeup artist disqualified from contest over pro-Trump post

    News

    WICHITA, Kan. — A makeup artist who splits her time between Tampa and Kansas says she won a national contest sponsored by Kat Von D Beauty but was later disqualified because of an Instagram post supporting Donald Trump's presidential candidacy.

    Gypsy Freeman won the contest with this image posted to Instagram. [@facesofgypsy on Instagram]
  4. Flesh-eating bacteria nearly kills Florida man who thought he just had blisters from a hike

    Health

    Wayne Atkins thought little of the blisters he had gotten while hiking. He was trekking up and down the 4,500-foot-high Mount Garfield in New Hampshire - a 10-mile round trip - and blisters were no surprise.

    Wayne Atkins thought his blisters were from hiking, but the flesh eating bacteria nearly killed him. [YouTube]
  5. Yes, again: Rays blow late two-run lead, get swept by Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As weekends go, this was a bad one for the Rays. In a word: brutal.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Brad Boxberger, foreground, reacts after giving up a home run to Texas Rangers' Carlos Gomez during the eighth inning of a baseball game Sunday, July 23, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson) FLMC116