Binghamton Fire Department, City Plan Ahead

By Erika Mahoney

October 1, 2012 Updated Oct 2, 2012 at 1:02 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A new contract for Binghamton firefighters could mean increased job security.

Members of the Binghamton Fire Department appeared before city council Monday to put the finishing touches on a new agreement.

According to Binghamton City Fire Chief Daniel Thomas, drafting this contract was a process that took months.

One of the main reasons for this particularly close attention to detail -- the contract is a five-year agreement.

Thomas said a five-year deal is rare; the current contract expires after one year.

Thomas says he is confident it will help local firefighters, many who have families, in somewhat unstable economic times.

"I guess we all like to kind of not necessarily just go year to year," said Thomas. "We kind of like to know what our benefits are, what are wages are going to be, and you know, we can plan for that, they can do that, and the city can do that also."

Councilman Bill Berg said he agrees the contract is beneficial for all three parties involved: Binghamton City Council, the Binghamton Fire Department and the 729 union firefighters.

"Salary wise, they know where they are going to be, health insurance wise, and with our early retirement incentive, it allows us to know where they are going to be for our planning purposes," said Berg,

Another new change to the contract, all new hires will enter into the P-P-O health insurance plan. Thomas said this means big savings for Binghamton.

City council will be voting on the contract Wednesday. Councilman Berg says he believes the contract will pass as is.

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