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Redlands Firefighters, Battalion Chiefs Support Tentative Agreement with City

A city spokesman says the agreement with two public safety employee associations would result in significant annual savings for the city.

Representatives of the Redlands Professional Firefighters Association and the Redlands Association of Fire Management Employees expressed support Tuesday for a tentative agreement reached with city negotiators that addresses compensation including overtime, retirement and benefits.

"We worked seven months with the city to reach this agreement," Bill Conway of the Redlands Professional Firefighters Association said in a phone interview.

"Our commitment has always been to the community, and us working with the city council and their negotiators is another example of the leadership firefighters have shown," Conway said.

Conway is a Redlands Fire Department captain. The Redlands Professional Firefighters Association had 57 members and under the tentative agreement there will be 54 members, Conway said.

Jim Topoleski spoke for the Redlands Association of Fire Management Employees, which has three members. Topoleski and the other members are firefighters who have promoted to battalion chief.

"As fire management employees we work part and parcel with the firefighters bargaining unit," Topoleski said in a phone interview Tuesday. "We realize we serve the city together to deliver the best possible service to the taxpayers. It's not our strategy to be at war with bargaining units or the city. We've worked diligently, professionally an collectively to reach this agreement."

The Redlands Association of Fire Management Employees used to have seven members, but the number has decreased during the economic downturn over the past three years, Topoleski said.

A city of Redlands spokesman says the agreement with the two public safety employee associations would result in significant annual savings for the city.

The tentative agreement with the two associations must be approved by the City Council before it will take effect, Baker said in a statement.

"Although anticipated savings are only estimates and can be affected by a number of variables, City staff estimate savings from the two agreements could be more than $1 million annually, beginning in the first year of the new contracts," Baker said.

Representatives of the Redlands Professional Firefighters Association and the Redlands Association of Fire Management Employees and city negotiators drafted the agreements, Baker said.

The agreements are expected to be considered by the City Council on Oct. 16, Baker said.

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