Naperville has inked a three-year contract with its firefighters and paramedics that calls for a 6 percent base pay increase spread over the life of the deal.
The pact that applies to roughly 185 members of the Illinois Association of Firefighters Local 4302 calls for a 3 percent raise in base pay in the first year followed by 1 percent and 2 percent.
"Collectively when we look at this entire contract we look at it as a plus for the city, for the firefighters that protect the city," said Chief Mark Puknaitis, who negotiated on behalf of the city. "I think they do an exemplary job. … I think we will work hard in the future to keep costs low and continue to remain very efficient."
On top of the base pay pump, a handful of firefighters also will continue to receive "step" increases that raise their pay for having an additional year of experience. In addition, the new contract increases the amount of pay for firefighters reaching milestones of 10, 15 and 20 years of service and institutes an annual education pay incentive.
Wages for new firefighters will be frozen for the duration of the contract. On the other end of the career spectrum, the department will offer an incentive of either one year of city-paid medical insurance or one month salary for those who retire by Jan. 5, 2014. That incentive will be limited to 12 employees and Puknaitis said it will help the department save on both wages and pensions.
The contract replaces the previous deal that expired April 30. Puknaitis said it was negotiated over the course of three months without attorneys.
The union approved it with a 100-1 vote, according to Lt. Dan Smith, union president. He called it a "fair contract overall" and said the retirement incentive is a key provision.
The City Council voted 8-1 on the deal. Councilman Grant Wehrli was the lone no vote and said he does not like the bump in experience pay and financial incentives for education.
"I'm not underappreciative of the fine work they do, but math is math," he said. "And we have to manage and we have to keep the city's finances in line."