The Sheridan City Council held a special meeting over the noon hour Thursday regarding a grievance filed by the Local International Association of Firefighters Union. The Council held a grievance hearing Monday night that carried over into Tuesday morning, where the Union and City Human Resources Director Heather Doke each presented their case.
The union filed a grievance because both Sheridan Fire Rescue Chief Patrick Reitz and Doke did not approve 5% wage increases for 6 firefighters. After hearing brief presentations from the Union and City Attorney Greg Von Grosigk, the City Council unanimously elected to affirm Doke's decision to not grant the wage increases. Councilor Ryan Mulholland says that the City simply can't afford to pay the increases with its current financial situation.
Another factor that lead to the Council's decision was the language in the contract.
Union Vice President Jon Syring says that while the contract with the City may not stipulate the 5% increases, they feel that they have a strong case because of past practice in granting the wage increases.
Syring said that the next step for the union would be litigation against the City. Attorney Von Grosigk said that state statute says that the Council cannot bind future Councils or commit City resources for future administrations, which would make the past practice claim a moot point.