Brazil Fire Department signed a new three-year contract with the city last night which includes everything but salary, which will be negotiated yearly.
"We've reached a compromise that both sides can agree with. The (fire department's) union has also ratified the agreement. Ninety percent of it is what was on last year's contract," Jake Bennett, fireman, said.
Mayor Kenny Crabb said fire department personnel have been paid according to last year's contract, so they will receive compensation to bring them up to this year's pay schedule.
The biggest stumbling block between the city and the fire department has been the length of the workday. Fire department personnel work a 24-hour shift while all other city employees work an 8-hour shift.
"We (the city) recognize a 24-hour workday for the fire department. All other city employees receive 60 sick days, which equals three months. But the firemen were using up their sick days in only two months. But with the new collective bargaining agreement, it will now be equal," Crabb said.
He asked Janet Wallace, Brazil Clerk-Treasurer, to explain.
"The fire department will now accumulate 12 hours of sick time per month, which equals three months. All other city employees will continue to accumulate eight hours of sick time per month, equaling three months," Wallace said.
Crabb said he spoke with representatives from Public Employee Retirement Fund, and it was suggested that the city wait until next year's budget is planned before making decisions about including the benefit for city employees. He was advised that without knowing the exact revenue the city will receive, it shouldn't take on additional expenditures.
Both Brazil Police and Fire Departments already have the PERF benefit, contributing 3 percent of their salaries. All other city employees currently have annunity plans for retirement. The city hopes to offer them a choice.
Also at the City Council meeting:
-Councilman Tom Arthur reported the animal shelter scheduled shot clinics for the second and third Saturdays in May. Personnel at the shelter are also looking at plans to remodel to increase office space as well as the area where people may interact with the animals. He said the old shelter van was sold to an Indianapolis search and rescue team that uses dogs to find victims. Crabb and others at the meeting voiced their concern about staff at the shelter not answering the telephone and not returning recorded messages. Arthur said he would investigate.
-Crabb expects to receive a $24,500 check today for the completed sale of the Lennox Street HUD house. Jim and Casey DeHoney purchased the property.
-Councilman Jim Sheese reported the water department responded to 14 freeze ups since Jan. 28. Also, consultants have told him power to the city's water wells could be supplied by a generator already owned by the city with a few upgrades.
-Council members approved the CF-1 compliance's of benefits from Hokanson Companies, Inc. and Warstler Acquisitions III. These companies had received tax abatements from the city for building businesses and the compliances brought the city up-to-date on their current personnel standings and other related items. Hokanson is the agent for Brazil Investors L.L.C., which built the medical office building at St. Vincent Clay Hospital. Warstler built Forest Park Plaza.
-Brazil Board of Works, immediately following the city council meeting, upheld the suspension of Brazil Police Officer John Zuel by Chief Terry Harrison. Based upon Harrison's recommendation for suspension without pay for misconduct, the board voted to suspend Zuel one day without pay and one day with pay for failure to respond to an incident and reporting for duty late.