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May 27, 2011


Fire union head OK with Casady becoming public safety head

by Deena Winter

The head of Lincoln’s firefighters’ union says the group doesn’t have an opinion on the mayor’s decision to make the police chief the head of a public safety department, overseeing both the police and fire chiefs.

Dave Engler, president of the Lincoln Firefighters Association, which represents about 270 fire employees, said the union was never asked for input on creating a public safety head.

“We were told this is the way it’s going to be,” he said. “My boss will be the fire chief. That’s who we will still deal with.”

He said Police Chief Tom Casady is an intelligent guy.

“I’m not one to say that the sky’s falling because he has the ability to bring a lot to the table,” Engler said.

While the relationship between police officers and firefighters is traditionally tense, Engler said in Lincoln the two have a “professional working relationship” that’s not as strong as in some cities. In some cities, police fraternize with firefighters at the stations.

“We get along to some extent, I would say,” he said. “I don’t think it’s (their relationship) as strong as it is in some cities.”

On another fire issue, Engler said his union is close to a contract with the city. In Omaha, the mayor’s decision to proceed with a fire union agreement has come under fire because it would be approved before the new state law governing negotiations goes into effect. However, Engler said the new law wouldn’t have any effect on the agreement – which calls for no raises for firefighters next year, even though salary surveys indicate they are entitled to an increase.

Firefighters took heat earlier this year for getting 6 percent raises this year, plus longevity bonuses that pushed some raises past 10 percent. Engler said the union negotiated 0 percent raises the year prior, and some city officials expressed concern that if they didn’t take raises this year they would just fall farther behind on salaries and then have to catch up in coming years.

That conflicts with some city officials’ claims that if the city didn’t approve the 6 percent raise this year, the fire union would likely go to the state Commission of Industrial Relations and get an even bigger raise.

“This year we’re taking 0 percent because you’re never gonna win in this,” Engler said.

I give the firefighters props for that — and a demerit to the mayor’s office for portraying firefighters as willing to run to the CIR, when in reality they offered to take no raise at all this year.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. porcupine
    May 27 2011

    Good we need a police /EMT we would get a lot more for our buck. They could help out with other things when not responding to an accident like tracking down stolen bikes, graffiti tags, junk car complaints, etc. That’s a lot better then set around working out ,cooking, shopping, getting a bunch of OT with Kelly days. Police/ EMT I like it!

  2. John Wayne
    May 30 2011

    Lets see…………the mayor has Casady`s police dept. investigate the Eric Kholes accident and the results come out inconclusive!

    Had the results pointed the finger at the city being in wrong it could have cost the city a huge amount of money to settle with Erics family.
    Now Casady gets a big promotion…….you smell anything funny?

    • porcupine
      May 30 2011

      Oh I see now what a pay off. Do you think the whole department is on the take??

  3. John Wayne
    May 30 2011

    I think the people running this city are corrupt as he!!,thats what I think!

  4. Porcupine
    May 30 2011

    I guess the Mayor or Scott put away their puppets!! You don’t here from harrison, Billy, Gary or iris anymore. Come on, can’t you put your hand up their azz and work them a little more? It’s getting boring. It must be TRUE: puppets are spineless no-minds who rely on other people to get by.

  5. Roberta
    May 31 2011

    It works in other City’s, why not here? So does that mean John and Jim will not make as much as the old chiefs?


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