*Feature photo: International Association of Firefighters Local 276 President George Neeson, far left, sits with the Sheridan City Councilors and Mayor John Heath, far right, during contract negotiations Monday. / Pitchengine Communities* (Sheridan, Wyo.) — The Sheridan City Council and International Association of Firefighters Local 276 Union are currently involved in contract negotiations for the 2016-17 fiscal year. The Union proposed at a previous meeting that the firefighters be paid using the City's Condrey pay scale, which includes step increases for pay raises. The Condrey system was developed for the City of Sheridan based on "an internal value system reflected in the classification plan and on a salary survey of comparable organizations to help assure an externally equitable and competitive pay system," according to a November 2013 report
Many city departments use the pay scale.
"I think you have a fire department that has been very stagnant for the
past five years," Neeson said.
Mayor John Heath said that moving the firefighters to the Condrey scale
would cost the city $10,000 to $35,000.
"To be very frank with you, I just don't have it in the budget," Heath
said. "I would like to look at it down the road ... but for the next year,
money has become somewhat of an issue—not somewhat, it is an issue. Revenue
is a challenge. Revenues have flat lined, if not gone down a bit."
"We want to make sure we treat all our employees equally, but the
challenges for all of us moving forward is that we have to watch our
budget," Heath said.
Neeson said he understands why the City is proposing a flat budget.
"Our jobs rely on you guys being financially sound," he said.
But many of the firefighters at Sheridan Fire-Rescue have topped out at
their current pay scale.
"(The Condrey) provides a much wider (pay) range," Neeson said. "It allows
much wider movement for us. We are stuck in a very small range as we are
now, and most every firefighter over there now is topped out, and most of
them have been topped out for awhile now."
Heath presented Neeson with a copy of the city's proposed contract that
does not include the Condrey pay scale, and Neeson said he would take it
back to the local union. The council will meet with Neeson again before
its next regular meeting for continued negotiations.
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*Salaries based on the Condrey 2013 report.*