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Government & Politics

Akron Firefighters Finally Have a New Contract

photo of Mayor Dan Horrigan
KABIR BHATIA
/
WKSU

Akron’s firefighters have ratified a new contract with the city, which has provisions to prevent a repeat of a decade-long legal action that was finally resolved last year.

The new agreement bases promotions on seniority and education, instead of a civil service test.  The deal grew out of a 2004 lawsuit brought by 23 firefighters who said that test was discriminatory.

Russ Brode, president of Firefighters’ Local 330, says the settlement of that suit last December, plus the new contract, have increased morale in the department.  And Brode says reaching the new agreement was much easier once the Horrigan administration was in place.

“Mayor Plusquellic did a ton of great things in the city, and we all know that, but fresh air came in.  And that’s in any organization when you have someone in place for a certain amount of time, that’s inevitable.”

Mayor Horrigan called the agreement “historic” and credits his predecessor - interim Mayor Jeff Fusco – for getting the ball rolling between the city and the firefighters’ union.

“I made promises to them that we’re not going to do these things in public and hopefully it’ll change the tone and tenor and the culture on how we deal with each other. So I think there is an approach to it that’s different: it’s not better, it’s not worse, but obviously the fruits of this make it - I think - better.”

Speaking at Fire Station 4 downtown, Horrigan noted that the city is giving a firefighters’ test at the end of next month.

Brode also notes that the new promotions process is more in line with the system being put in place in larger cities such as Atlanta and Philadelphia.