Fire / Rescue Contract Talks Continue

The July meeting of the negotiating teams for the 2012 IAFF contract did not move the ball very much, at least as far as we could see. As the meeting wrapped up, Chief Jerauld proposed holding additional sessions prior to the scheduled one on August 17 as there is a lot to do and little time to complete it. More observers for the public attended this session, including TAB members, a reporter for the Palm Beach Post, and a representative of the Office... [Read More...]

Next Fire/Rescue Contract Negotiation Scheduled

At the initial meeting between County Fire/Rescue and the IAFF on the 2011 contract, the county proposed a 22% reduction in starting salary among other changes. (See Genesis of a Collective Bargaining Agreement) The union response was deferred to the subsequent meeting which has now been scheduled for July 19. NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING PALM BEACH COUNTY FIRE RESCUE Contract Negotiations Please be advised that a Contract Negotiations meeting between... [Read More...]

Palm Beach Post Takes on Fire / Rescue Pay

Fire / Rescue compensation is an issue we have been following for quite a while. A year before TAB was formed, several of us were involved in the campaign against the special sales tax to fund Fire / Rescue, and excessive compensation was a key argument against giving them their own revenue source outside of BCC control. Earlier this year, we conducted a salary survey of county employees (See How Much is Enough?) and were quite amazed to see the... [Read More...]

Genesis of a Collective Bargaining Agreement

On June 16, at the Chief Herman W. Brice Administrative Complex on Pike Road, negotiators for County Fire / Rescue and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF local 2928) met across the table to reach agreement on a new contract which will replace the current agreement expiring in September. As it was a public meeting, advertised on the county meetings calendar, and we at TAB are interested in how public employee union contracts are negotiated,... [Read More...]

Conversation with a Firefighter / Paramedic

Throughout our analysis of the county budgets, we have been somewhat critical of Fire / Rescue. We observed that the growth of their budget (even adjusted for service area size) was significant over the last 8 years, and the firefighters in the county are compensated more than 50% above the national average from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. How much should we be paying for a well equipped Fire and EMS service though? This and related issues formed... [Read More...]

Pension Reform – the Final Bill

On Friday May 6, the conference committee put the final touches on FRS Reform and sent SB2100 to the Governor. Although it is not as far-reaching as the Governor wanted, it is significant, both in the precedent it sets (employees must now contribute to their pensions) and in the budget savings for both the state and the counties that participate in FRS. The conference staff analysis summarizes the highlights of the bill as: All FRS members must... [Read More...]

Pension Bills Ready for Conference

Much has happened to the two pension reform bills winding their way through the Legislature this week. Both Senate Bill SB2100 (replacing SB1130) and House Bill HB1405 have survived a vote (mostly along party lines) in their respective chambers. As there are differences between the bills, a conference committee will attempt to resolve them, probably starting next week. Although they do not go as far as the Governor’s original proposal (no... [Read More...]

Pension Reform in Tallahassee – an Update

Breaking News: Yesterday (4/1) the Senate budget committee introduced SB2100 as a committee bill, exceeding the provisions of SB1130 for pension reform. Including a 3% across-the-board contribution (replacing the tiered system of 1130), elimination of the DROP program, closing the defined benefit plan to new hires, and stopping the COLA for accruals (all after July of this year), it comes much closer to the Governor’s proposal than the earlier... [Read More...]

Pension Reform and Implications for Palm Beach County

Highlights Governor’s FRS reform worth close to $100M / year to Palm Beach County (with schools included) Senate bill SB1130 implements only portions – reducing savings to about $30M Any change in special risk accruals are strongly opposed by the police and fire unions The legislature lacks the political courage to support the governor in these changes With the legislative session about to open, a battle is brewing over the Governor’s... [Read More...]

Public Sector Compensation – Some Perspective

With the conflict over public employee compensation raging in Wisconsin and likely to spread across the country, there are still misconceptions about how public employees are compensated (and how well), the role of unions in setting the levels of compensation, and the political aspects that typically are more significant than the economic aspects. We at TAB believe that setting equitable compensation for public employees is as important to budget... [Read More...]

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