Mayor Sarno wants “social media clause” added to firefighters contract

This is the third time the city council has rejected the fire chiefs contract proposals

Courtesy of Springfield Fire Department.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Contract negotiations have stalled between the City of Springfield and the Fire Chiefs Association.

22News found out why the mayor wants to add a “social media clause” to the contract.

“I cannot in good conscience agree to re-submitting the SFD District Chiefs Contract back to the City Council for another vote, until there is a clear path and plan put forth by Commissioner Conant to better understand and deal with respectfully ‘the ugly’ commentary and underlying issues that have arisen on social media,” Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno stated. “These issues, as usual, of a few, are not very becoming, nor of professional conduct and should not be a reflection upon the vast majority of our brave, dedicated and diverse firefighters. I have instructed Human Resources/Labor Relations Director Atty. Bill Mahoney and City Solicitor Ed Pikula to work with Commissioner Conant and all our city departments to clarify and rectify this issue and policy ASAP.”

This comes after a district fire chief posted an “insensitive” Facebook post, comparing the contract’s residency clause to the welfare system.

City Council President Orlando Ramos told 22News the mayor is one of many who found the post to be offensive.

For the third time, the Springfield City Council has rejected a contract offer from the district fire chiefs.

This comes after extended debate over residency. Under their current contract, all district chiefs are required to live in Springfield. According to City Council President Orlando Ramos, six out of the 10 district fire chiefs live outside of the city.

“Asking them to re-negotiate the contract and figure out how we’re going to reprimand those that are currently in violation of the residency requirement,” Ramos said.

But the current district fire chiefs want to be grandfathered in, and want the residency rule to apply to future district chiefs.

The six senior district chiefs living outside Springfield earn an average of $119 thousand a year.

City Council President Orlando Ramos said the contract proposal includes an annual 2 percent pay raise, over six years, which the city council rejected, for a third time.