Las Vegas Sun

August 20, 2014

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City government:

Fire extinguished: City, firefighters may have come to contract resolution

Las Vegas City Council will discuss contracts with several unions, may officially hire new fire chief and consider bills regarding booze downtown at meeting

A yearlong stalemate between Las Vegas and its firefighters union could be resolved when the City Council considers a new four-year contract Wednesday. The council also will discuss the status of its other collective bargaining negotiations and approve the appointment of a new fire chief during its regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday at 9:15 a.m. at Las Vegas City Hall, 495 S. Main St.

Union negotiations progress

More than a year after an impasse was declared, negotiations between Las Vegas and its firefighters union could reach an end if the City Council gives its final approval Wednesday to a tentative collective bargaining agreement between the two sides.

The proposed four-year deal, which retroactively includes the previous fiscal year, would last through June 2016 and cost the city an estimated $7.2 million. Firefighters would receive raises of 1.5 percent in years two and three of the deal and a 2 percent raise in the final year. It also calls for the city to make a one-time lump sum payment of $335,000 to the department’s health care fund and to add a $500 payment per firefighter per pay period toward health care.

In another collective bargaining-related item, the council also will consider approving a new two-year agreement with corrections officers at the city jail, represented by the Las Vegas Police Officers Association. The deal, which will cost the city an additional $1.3 million, includes a 3 percent raise in the first year and a 1.5 percent raise in the second year, among other provisions.

Finally, the council will receive a broad update on the current collective bargaining negotiations and agreements with all of its unions.

New fire chief

William McDonald was tapped by city management in June to take over the top job at the Las Vegas Fire Department, but he’ll still need approval from the City Council before he can be hired as the new chief.

The council will discuss McDonald’s appointment and contract Wednesday, when they could vote to fill the vacancy left when former chief Mike Myers retired in February.

McDonald, who has served as a chief for the past 20 years in several cities, most recently in San Jose, Calif., is being recommended for a $150,000 annual salary plus benefits.

He was chosen from a pool of more than 60 local and national candidates to lead the department that includes 664 employees across 20 stations.

New laws keep booze flowing downtown

A pair of bills up for final approval by the City Council will make doing business a bit easier for bars and restaurants wanting to sell alcohol downtown.

The first bill would allow tavern-limited establishments in the Arts District and the Parkway Center District, a unique type of license that costs less to obtain than other liquor licenses but doesn’t allow for gaming or food service.

The tavern-limited licenses were previously only available in the Fremont East Entertainment District, where their lower cost has been credited with helping the proliferation of bars in the area.

Another bill would tweak existing law to allow downtown businesses along a pedestrian mall, specifically those under the canopy of the Fremont Street Experience, to sell alcohol through walk-up windows. Businesses wishing to sell through a walk-up window will be required to have the appropriate tavern and alcohol-related licenses.

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