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FIREFIGHTER VOTE PUT OFF OVER WORDING OF BONUS

LAND O'LAKES

The Pasco firefighters union postponed a vote on a proposed contract that contained concessions intended to help save all but nine vacant positions on the chopping block.

The union was scheduled to take up the contract Wednesday, but representatives put off the vote because of a disagreement with administrators over wording in the contract.

Union president Ralph Grant said he hopes to reconvene for a vote before the county's final budget hearing Sept. 22.

Under the proposed contract, union members would agree next year to give up six of their 10 paid holidays.

According to county estimates, that would save $605,764 - enough to help save 13 of 22 vacant positions that would be cut.

The most recent disagreement is related to a one-time payment for about 30 senior firefighters who are "topped out" and don't qualify for a 5 percent merit increase included in the contract.

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