The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

January 16, 2013

Conneaut OKs firefighter contract — ahead of firefighters

CONNEAUT — City Council in Conneaut gave their blessing to a new three-year contract with the city’s union firefighters Monday night — only to find out later the firefighters hadn’t ratified the agreement.

City Manager Tim Eggleston said Tuesday the situation was a procedural glitch, and that he and the negotiating team for Local 651 of the International Association of Fire Fighters had reached tentative agreement on a contract. He hoped union would give their formal blessing to the pact soon.

“I discussed everything with (Fire Station 1 Fire Capt. Tim Zee, Local 651 president), but (membership) didn’t vote on it yet,” Eggleston said. “I don’t anticipate any problems.”

Zee could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

City Council President Thomas Udell said council members “approved what was presented them” by Eggleston. Udell dubbed the situation a “miscommunication.”

Legislation approved by council authorizes Eggleston to enter into a contract with Local 651. Council will be consulted — and a new ordinance created — if any major, last-minute changes to the tentative agreement should occur, he said. Details of the contract weren’t immediately known.

 Eggleston and council lavished praise on Local 651 members at Monday’s meeting, applauding their willingness to accept concessions in light of the city’s shaky financial status. “(Firefighters) understand the fiscal condition of the city,” Eggleston said.

Still ahead are contracts with the city’s police officers, dispatchers and service department employees. Some preliminary discussions with those locals’ bargaining teams have already begun, Eggleston said.

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