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Council Approves Raises for Firefighters

By Steve Bell


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the first time in a long time, raises are in store for some Kansas City, Missouri public employees. Firefighters will get a raise package that will cost the city about five million dollars.

The city council reluctantly approved the raises agreed to in 2009 when their predecessors thought the recession was just a short-term bump in the road. The union later took a voluntary wage freeze for two years, then said it was time for the city to make good on the contract.

Councilman John Sharp said the matter was set to go to arbitration and the council could have just gone along with that, which he said might have been the smartest thing to do, politically. "Then we could just say, "we had no choice; the arbitrator made us do it." But I suggest that might have been irresponsible."

Sharp said that's because the arbitrator might have ruled that the city should pay more than the average 4.2 percent raise approved.

The Fraternal Order of Police says it will now definitely ask for a raise for its members, as will the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

It was a busy day for the council, which also approved an ordinance to facilitate sidewalk cafe's in the Crossroads District, a controversial signage plan for the 103rd Street auto-mall district, and appropriated $2 million for the Jackson County Sports Complex and another million to buy equipment and software for the police department's new all-electronic ticketing system.

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