Emma Marsing, [email protected]
ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING — Another meeting took place last night between the Rock Springs City Council and the Rock Springs International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local #1499, as they continued discussion regarding this year’s annual COLA (cost of living adjustment) and Range.
The last meeting, held on March 30, ended with a negotiation from the IAFF with an 8% COLA and 0% Range. The City Council decided to leave with that offer on the table and take the time to do more research. Council President Rob Zotti began the negotiation last night by stating, “We looked at that and how it would work with the current system and we really don’t feel that it would it would maintain the integrity of the current plan that we have”.
Within the last meeting held between the groups, the IAFF was focused on getting their entry-level and bottom-ranked firefighters more COLA and Range. The 8% COLA and 0% Range do help the lower ground ranks, however, at this time there is no wage study to get relevant information. Due to that, Luke Geffre, President of the Rock Springs Firefighters IAFF Local #1499 stated that since they do not have a wage study, this offer will help keep pay bands from getting further apart.
City Council counter-offered the 8% COLA and 0% Range with 3% COLA and a 5% Range. After a brief discussion, the IAFF asked for more explanation regarding the drop in numbers and later clarified that they would like to encompass all members not focus directly on their lower-level members. Council President Zotti also made note that the city only has so much money to give and that in order for them to reach the 10.5% COLA, which was the first-ever offer that stood, they would have to give up pieces of training, equipment, maintenance, etc.
After a discussion between the City Council and other City Administrators, the City offered a 5.5% COLA and 0% Range or a 4% COLA and 2% Range. Geffree counter-offered with a 7% COLA and 0% Range, while also stating, “If we have to get rid of programs and stick to our core functions of the department, and just stick with the programs that help us with our budget and grant funding, and then the programs that generate funding for the department, then we’re fine with that”. Geffree also made note that many things have been added to the department’s plate over the course of the past year as things have been changing within the ambulance system and other emergency departments both city and county-wide.
Both groups agreed to end the meeting with the 7% COLA and 0% Range on the table, keeping a 5.5% COLA and 0% Range or a 4% COLA and 2% Range in mind. The next meeting to continue negotiations will be on April 18 at 5:00 p.m at Rock Springs City Hall.