Keokuk Approves Fire Contract

Keokuk, IA – The Keokuk City Council has agreed to a new three-year contract with the city's firefighters.

Three lieutenants will receive a 4% raise in the first year of the contract and 3% raises in years two and three. The rest of the unit will receive annual 3% raises.

The new contract will take effect July 1, 2010. It runs through June 30, 2013.

The raises are expected to cost the city about $26,000 in next year's budget. Budget talks are expected to get underway in January.

Finance Sub-Committee Chairman Doug Matlick says that figure should not keep the city from bringing firefighter salaries in line with neighboring communities. He says that if the city has financial trouble in January, it will not be because of $26,000.

Mayor Dave Gudgel said, last week, that he might veto the contract if it was approved. He had cited the current economic climate in Keokuk and the difficult budget facing the city.

Gudgel chose not to exercise his veto power because of how the negotiations went. He says the two sides negotiated in good faith and that should not be altered.

The city felt that if the deal was not approved, the contract would go to mediation, where Keokuk could lose. Several council members said this was not the right time to offer pay increases.

Keokuk is currently in negotiations with employees of the general bargaining unit and of the wastewater treatment plant.