OKC Firefighters Hope Special Election Will Settle Budget Stalemate
OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma City voters are still scheduled to settle a budget stalemate between the City of OKC and its firefighters.
At issue is OKC’s plan to turn 18 firefighter dispatch jobs into civilian ones. The other big sticking point includes getting rid of built-in overtime for firefighters who work on a 27-day work period.
“That what we are talking about, eliminating the provision that allows you to take personal time during that cycle and still get paid overtime,” said M.T. Berry, OKC’s Assistant City Manager.
Firefighters claim with a more standard work cycle the city would be shelling out a lot more money in overtime than it does now.
Firefighters also claim when you add the cost of hiring 18 new civilians and finding current dispatchers jobs at fire stations their budget offer of nearly $107 million is actually cheaper than the city's last best offer. An arbitrator recently agreed.
The City claims it’s plan costs the city $500,000. Firefighters dispute the claim and say they’re plan moving forward would be less expensive than the city’s option.
Both sides are still negotiating, but if a deal doesn’t come, a January 10 election is likely. The election would cost the city $100,000.