UG contract with firefighters approved

The Unified Government Commission tonight approved a contract with Kansas City, Kan., firefighters, after about 18 months of working on it.

UG Administrator Doug Bach said the contract with the International Association of Firefighters is the 13th one completed at the UG, as all employee groups now have signed contracts. The tentative agreement with the firefighters had been announced by a representative of the union at the last UG meeting. The firefighters have voted to approve the contract.

Changes included management concerns from the governing body, and other items consistent with other contracts, Bach said.

One exception is those other contracts went through 2017 and this contract will go through 2018, providing a 2 percent cost of living agreement for 2018, he said.

Mayor Mark Holland said it’s been a team effort, both sides worked hard on it, and he appreciated coming to a compromise.

“It is a compromise document, that is I believe a win-win both for the Unified Government and the public, as well as for the firefighters,” Mayor Holland said.

He said negotiations took about 18 months. While not everyone got everything they wanted, Mayor Holland said he was pleased that an agreement was reached.

A 5 percent cost-of-living increase over three years for all UG employees is the most increase in pay they’ve had for the last decade, “and it’s well deserved for our employees,” Mayor Holland said.

The firefighters’ contract has an additional 2 percent increase in pay for 2018, and the UG has a commitment for a similar increase for its other employees in 2018, Mayor Holland said. He said the UG will look at that 2 percent for other UG bargaining units in 2018.

Commissioner Gayle Townsend echoed the mayor’s sentiments on both sides having done what they thought was right, however, she said she could not bring herself to vote for the contract.

The issue of trading time and amount of money with it was the item that she did not support. She said the UG is getting ready for its annual discussion on the budget, and is looking for money to do things in their neighborhoods.

“It would just be hard for me in good faith, to ask for money for sidewalks, blight, whatever the need is, parks and rec, for my district, when I’ve seen the figures that are behind this,” she said. “I’m not going to go into detail.”

She said it was just a matter of dollars and cents, and she has to be able to tell her constituents she is voting in their best interests. There were a number of things in the contract that were good, she added.

Commissioner Townsend was the only person voting no on the contract, which passed 8-1.

Details of the contract are contained in the UG agenda, which is online at

See earlier stories at

One thought on “UG contract with firefighters approved”

  1. Dear Ms. Townsend,

    Trading time is simply having an equally qualified employee work for you for a period of time. 24 hour schedules do not always accommodate being able to attend birthday parties, basketball games, baptisms, etc. Therefore another employee will work for me for a period of time and at some point I will work for her/him. The employee working for me is not on the clock when they are at work, only filling in for me as a courtesy. As you can see there is no additional expense to the employer. If it was explained otherwise, you were misinformed.

    Capt. Pat Young (Ret)

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