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St. Pete Beach, firefighters agreement
New three-year deal merges vacation, sick time into paid time off program
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ST. PETE BEACH – St. Pete Beach City commissioners voted unanimously Feb. 11 to approve a three-year collective bargaining agreement with the International Association of Firefighters Local 2266, which represents the city’s firefighters.

The new agreement is retroactive to Oct. 1, 2013 and goes through Sept. 30, 2016.

“The changes are consistent with what we’ve done with our other employees and our other union,” said City Manager Mike Bonfield. “We’re going to a paid time off system. We’re going to merge vacation and sick leave into paid time off. Part of that is a reduction in the amount of accrual that is allowed and the amount saved.”

Under terms of the contract, employees with 59 months or less of service can accrue 192 hours per year. Those with 60 to 119 months can accrue 252 hours and those with 120 months or more can collect 312 hours of PTO.

According to the contract, employees can carry over unused PTO hours from one fiscal year to the next to a maximum of 360 hours for employees with less than five years of service, 420 hours for employees with more than five years but less than 10 years and 480 hours for employees with more than 10 years of service. Anything more will be forfeited.

The contract also provides for a 3-month worker’s compensation pay supplement and short-term disability insurance coverage.

“We’re providing at no cost a short-term disability benefit,” said Bonfield. “If they have a disabling injury and cannot work for more than seven days they can qualify for 60 percent of their pay up to 90 days, which was not offered previously.”

“Pay steps are being adjusted for those employees that are EMS paramedics,” said Bonfield. “That is one area we were falling a little behind in the market. It’s not a significant increase but there was a slight increase.”

Firefighters also will continue to receive Kelly Days, which is a 24-hour shift off every 13th shift, in lieu of paid holidays.

In other action, commissioners:

• Agreed to enter into an interlocal agreement with Pinellas County to receive a $50,000 grant to make repairs to dune walkovers at Seventh, Eighth and 12th avenues.

• Approved a request by the Veterans of South Pinellas County to conduct its Salute to Veterans and First Responders street fair and pancake breakfast Saturday, March 29 in Pass-A-Grille. The pancake breakfast will be held from 8 a.m. to noon at the Hurricane Restaurant. There also will be a fishing derby for kids from noon to 2 p.m. at the Merry Pier. The event will require the following street closures: Gulf Way, Eighth to 11th avenues, March 29, 11 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.; Ninth and 10th avenues from Gulf Way to Pass-A-Grille Way, March 28, 6 p.m. to March 29, 11 p.m.
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