Members of Wellston City Council recently approved in emergency fashion an updated contract with the full-time employees of the Wellston Fire Department (WFD), for the period from Jan. 1, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2023.

The updated contract, addressed during the Thursday night, Jan. 7 meeting and adopted in the form of Ordinance 2021-1, establishes rates of pay, hours and other conditions for all full-time WFD members, including the Chief and two Assistant Chiefs. In general, Mayor Charlie Hudson said this new contract differs only slightly from the most recent agreement, mentioning specifically the addition of two personal days and a two-and-a-half percent pay hike.

Regarding hours of work and overtime, the regular work period for the pay purposes in the WFD are defined as being from 12:01 a.m. Saturday, through 14 calendar days to Friday at 12:00 midnight. The organization and pay schedule are based on a minimum of 2,900 hours in the work year.

Further, the contract states the WFD employees shall work a 24-hour work shift on duty and have 48 hours off-duty; all scheduled and unscheduled overtime must be offered to part-time employees before mandating is implemented; a full-time employee cannot be mandated to work more than 24 hours before or after his or her shift; a full-time employee cannot be mandated to work more than 48 hours without having 48 continuous hours off; and all WFD employees shall be paid every two weeks.

As for pay, the WFD Chief will receive a salary of $50,304.95 in 2021, $51,562.57 in 2022, and $52,082 in 2023 (which represents the aforementioned two-and-a-half percent increase annually). The Assistant Chiefs will receive $47,863.90 in 2021, $48,240.50 in 2022, and $49,446.51 in 2023.

Effective Nov. 1, 2018, the City shall provide medical, dental and optical insurance coverage equal to 90 percent of the policy costs, with participating employees providing the remaining 10 percent. Any employee not requiring insurance shall be paid $1,750 in a lump-sum payment at the end of each insurance contract year. Further, the City will provide a $50,000 term life insurance policy on the life of WFD employees, and that policy will have a double indemnity clause for accidental deaths.

Each member of the WFD bargaining unit shall also be afforded a $550 uniform allowance annually.