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September 30, 2014

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North Las Vegas seeks audit of firefighter sick leave, overtime

Anita Wood

Anita Wood

The North Las Vegas City Council postponed approving a tentative agreement with the firefighters union on Wednesday so city officials can audit the department’s use of sick days and overtime.

The tentative agreement between the city and the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1607 would save the jobs of 33 firefighters by barring union layoffs during the contract period.

The council voted 4-1, with Mayor Shari Buck the sole dissenter, to postpone approving the agreement for 60 days.

The decision to conduct the audit comes days after Clark County officials reported abuse of sick leave by county firefighters was more widespread than initially acknowledged by the union.

“I appreciate the IAFF and the work they’ve done, but we can’t look at this in a vacuum,” Councilwoman Anita Wood said. She said she would like to make sure sick leave abuse is not an issue in North Las Vegas.

Wood estimated that fire department overtime could be well over budget, upwards of $1 million, by the end of the fiscal year at its current rate. The proposed agreement’s no-layoffs commitment would complicate the city’s financial situation if the department cannot solve the overtime problem, she said.

In January, the city and the firefighters’ union entered a tentative agreement that includes concessions to help close a projected $35.1 million city budget gap during the next two years.

The union made $3 million in concessions, eliminating a 3.75 percent wage increase and a cost-of-living increase this year and freezing selling back holiday and sick leave.

The city in turn would agree to not lay off union members or study privatizing ambulance, medical and fire services.

Should the concessions agreement fall through, the city could lay off firefighters as early as July 1.

Both the city’s Teamsters and police officers unions have made concessions since a budget reduction plan was presented in October. The concessions from the three unions would save 188 public-sector jobs.

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  1. Not taking pay increases and "Selling" holiday and sick pay is NOT what I consider a pay cut!

    The City Counsil and Mayor has an obligation to the public to get the budget under control. Now is the time to show leadership.

    The Fire Department continues to manipulate the public and the Mayor seems to be going along with them.

    In My Opinion

  2. Why isn't this done on a routine basis? There is another audit I would like to see, a listing of every union endorsement received by those who vote on these contracts.

  3. I don't like that we have to bargain away the mere study of privatizing ambulances. The union is nothing more than a bully. And if there is no contract in place, doesn't NLV have the upper hand in negotiating? There are MANY people in NLV that would love a job. We need people in office with some negotiating skills. If it wasn't for our Mayor, our leaders would give away the store.

  4. tinaa,

    You might want to browse the stories from the past and see how Buck has voted. She has consistently voted against any cuts. She is pro-union from all I can tell, and was endorsed by at least the police union that I know of.

    Right now it seems it is the rest of the council that is keeping our interests in mind.

  5. The Mayor of North Las Vegas is a Police Department slave with her father, husband and daughter all being police, retired police or employees of the Police Depertment

  6. By the time these communities get these raging wildfires with the firefighters watered down and under control there will be no communities left, they'll be burnt down.

  7. This "audit" should take place every month in the form of a scorecard that could be computer generated. I CANNOT BELIEVE that the City needs an audit team to collate information which is already on a hard drive!!

    One of the major reasons why North Las Vegas cannot attract any technical businesses is because the City operates on 50 years old audit techniques to discover what is happening - and that only happens during emergencies.

    The scorecard tells:
    1. How much each fire employee was paid.
    2. How many fires they attended.
    3. What kind of fires did the fight? Dumpster, car, garage, trash, single family dwelling or other. These are very dangerous to fight compared with a high rise or industrial area. Forest Fires are extremely dangerous and the pay very little to the fighters.

    Is the city paying $5,000 for each dumpster fire? Including equipment, it's probably more then that. The City should develop less costly means of dealing with them.