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Clearwater firefighters reject contract offer

Firefighters resoundly rejected for the fourth time Friday a contract offer from city officials, three weeks after after union leaders said they wanted to work with city administrators. The latest city contract offer, a one-year deal that included a $1,000 bonus, was turned down 151-3 by Clearwater firefighters.

Firefighters have worked without a contract for two years and have asked for a 3 percent pay raise to match the city's police contract.

Human Resources Director Joe Roseto said the results of the latest vote were not a surprise. Union leaders said they accepted the city's latest offer last month in the spirit of collaborative cooperation and scheduled a ratification vote that was timed with the arrival of new fire Chief Jamie Geer. Rank-and-file union members still overwhelmingly rejected the offer.

"We certainly were hopeful, but obviously, we had no illusions," Roseto said. "We've been here before." Roseto said the city would continue to negotiate.