Tempers Flare During City Budget Discussion

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Fairbanks City Council approved changes to the city's 2018 operating and capital budgets last night.
The council is in the midst of contract negotiations with the fire department and other labor unions, and some of those members shared fiery dialogue at the Monday meeting.
Julia Laude reports.
Julia Laude; Reporting>>: The conversation began with testimony from a fire fighter.
Joy Beth Cottle; Fairbanks Fire Fighter>>: "We truly are hiring great candidates but we aren't retaining them. They see the instability and the working conditions and the exponentially increasing work load and this year a pay cut to start off the new year in the form of non-funding both health care increases and our one percent cost of living allowance. How about the emotional toll it takes to sit with a woman who died unexpectedly in his sleep or walking away with a shoulder drenched with tears of a mother whose child was killed in a motor vehicle accident. Fairbanks Firefighters earn our pay and we deserve to have a fully funded contract."
Julia Laude; Reporting>>: Councilwoman Valerie Therrien offered to add to firefighters' compensation with pay increases and health care funding, but other council members didn't agree with how she made her suggestion.
David Pruhs; Fairbanks City Council>>: "Mayor maybe in the future you should not have us read the mission statement by the city clerk, maybe you should have them read the oath of office that we all took. Now we had an email from the city attorney talking about the violation of the code that has occurred."
Jerry Cleworth; Fairbanks City Council>>: "Individual members with the city council will not enter into separate negotiations with any union representative or member. All communications regarding issues with negotiations, both written and oral, from the union should be addressed to the members of the city's negotiating team and not to individual council members. That's the second page in this packet that we received when we began negotiations."
Julia Laude; Reporting>>: Therrien's amendment was ultimately denied, with member Joy Huntington and Therrien the only ones to vote yes.
Councilmen Jerry Cleworth put forth an amendment to add 50-thousand dollars for snow removal, so that public works can hire more temporary employees.
Jerry Cleworth; Fairbanks City Council>>: "If we get into a melt and we have hard pack on any of the streets that literally turns to mush. I know that this won't cover, this 50-thousand. It needs to be closer to about 100, 110-thousand if I did my math right but it is a step in the right direction and then we can wait until summer to see what the big picture looks like and will hopefully improve."
Julia Laude; Reporting>>: The amendment to the city's 2018 budget with the snow removal addition, was unanimously approved.
This is Julia Laude reporting.