Iorio's words fire up Fire Union Chief

08/07/08 Mitch E. Perry
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Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio went before the City Council this morning to present her fiscal year 2009 budget.

In the middle of her near half-hour report, the mayor broke off of the laundry list of programs the city will be working on in the next year to discuss upcoming contract negotiations with the city’s firefighters.

Iorio said the city has offered a 3 percent cost of living increase, and a merit increase averaging 3½ percent a year.

Negotiations between the city and the Firefighters Union, ongoing since late last year, are currently at a stalemate.

Larry Parker is the president of the Firefighters Union. He didn’t appreciate the mayor’s comments. Parker said the figures Iorio mentioned in her address before the City Council were misleading.

Recently a special magistrate ruled in favor of the city on the issue.

City Council chairman Thomas Scott has been quoted in the St. Petersburg Times saying that he wants to know if any other city employees are receiving what has been referred to as a 10-percent increase.

Fire Union Chief Larry Parker said that calling their demands for a 10 percent increase is wrong, that half of their workforce will not get a merit increase. He said the step increase of 5 percent is not out of line with other departments, though the mayor disagrees.

And he says his union is cognizant of the budget problems that the city is contending with.

The City Council was originally scheduled to discuss the issue on the 22nd, but it may be delayed until September.

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