City Council on Tuesday could end seven months of collective bargaining with the El Paso Firefighters Association by adopting a contract that would increase pay for firefighters and paramedics. "It's a fair deal, one that is good for our members, good for the department and, ultimately, good for the people of El Paso," said Joe Tellez, president of the El Paso Firefighters Association. The agreement before council members also moves firefighters and their families to a health care plan provided to all other city employees, settling a major issue that had hung over the protracted negotiations between El Paso and the firefighters union. If City Council finalizes the contract Tuesday, pay for firefighters would increase by 10 percent over the next two years and paramedics also will see increases to salary and incentives. How much paramedics will receive will range from $50 to $150 a month. The new charter provisions and civil service rules adopted last year by the city would begin to apply to firefighters if the agreement is accepted. East-Valley city Rep. Eddie Holguin said the performance of the Fire Department in recent years certainly warrants the raise. "Our Fire Department happens to be one of the best in the country right now," he said. He added that paying for such a raise should also not overburden taxpayers. Holguin said he hopes the city's projected savings from having all of its employees enrolled in the same health coverage plan will justify an increase in pay.
Michael D. Hernandez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org;546-6151.
·What: El PasoCity Council meeting.
·Where: City Council chambers, second floor, City Hall. Free parking in front of City Hall at West Missouri Avenue and Durango Street.
·On TV: The meeting will be broadcast live and replayed at Tuesday on cable Channel 15.
·Online: Meetings are also broadcast live at www.ci.elpaso.tx.us/realplayer.asp.