Denton fire department

Denton firefighters arriving for a drill last Friday at Denton Bible Church. Denton police officers and firefighters are working through labor negotiations with the city before their current meet and confer agreements expire in late September.

Denton police officers and firefighters are working through labor negotiations with the city before their current meet-and-confer agreements expire in late September.

Leaders of both of the associations that represent the police and firefighters say the negotiations with the city are not contentious and that complete agreements should be reached before the contracts expire next month.

Among the topics up for discussion are civil-service employee pay, promotions, education and training, as well as clarifying disciplinary policies for police officers and bringing firefighters from more diverse backgrounds.

The Denton Police Association’s current contract is set to expire on Sept. 30. It’s the same for the Denton Fire Fighters Association’s contract.

Bryan Cose, a police sergeant and vice president of the DPA, said the association has made it a priority to push for the city to increase pay for officers to make the Denton Police Department a more competitive place for officers to find work.

Notes from the city of Denton’s five-year budget forecast a need to pay all civil-service employees about 5% better than the market average pay.

One aspect of paying civil-service employees is how they are provided incentives to rise through the ranks. Both Cose and Jason Ballard, the president of the DFFA, said their departments are looking for ways to improve how this is done now.

At the Fire Department, for instance, one can get certification in such areas as arson investigations, handling hazardous materials and water rescues. It’s similar with the Police Department.

In both, earning that next degree in college is encouraged and required in some cases to rise in the ranks. Both Cose and Ballard said their departments want to configure a better way of pushing officers and firefighters to pursue those degrees and certifications.

Ballard said the Fire Department wants to revise some of its hiring practices and work on its pension plan. Currently, all Fire Department staff are on the firefighter pension plan. The DFFA wants to move all employees who are not civil-service employees onto the city’s pension plan. But Ballard said Thursday that probably won’t happen in this contract.

These and other terms of the contract have to be approved by the City Council. City spokesman Ryan Adams said the city is looking to have these contracts finalized by the time the city wraps up its budget process on Sept. 17.

DALTON LAFERNEY can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @daltonlaferney.

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