After Largo firefighters called a special magistrate's recommendation over a union dispute with the city a "fair compromise," city officials have rejected the magistrate's findings and have opted for an impasse hearing instead.
Henry Schubert, assistant city manager and chief negotiator for the city in the fire union contract dispute, wrote in a letter to City Manager Mac Craig last week that several of the points recommended by the magistrate were not in the city's best interest.
On the issue of giving firefighters 2 to 8 fewer hours in a certain type of accrued vacation time, the city rejected the magistrate's judgment because Schubert said the time off could result in difficulty maintaining minimum staffing requirements.
The city was seeking a far deeper cut.
The city also rejected the magistrate's determination that the firefighters' stepped pay raises be frozen, not eliminated in favor of another system, as proposed by the city.
Largo firefighters make less money than those in similar departments, like Clearwater and Pinellas Park, and were seeking slightly more compensation.
Largo has argued that despite the differences, the city is facing continued budget cuts and cannot afford more expenses.
City commissioners will preside over the impasse hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
Dominick Tao can be reached at email@example.com (727) 580-2951.