Firefighters, town agree on 3-year contract

Williston’s firefighters have a new three-year employment contract that brings their pay closer in line with other full-time firefighters in Chittenden County, but they remain at the bottom of the countywide firefighter pay scale.

The Williston Selectboard unanimously approved the contract last Tuesday. The firefighters’ previous contract expired at the end of June.

Since its last contract was finalized in 2015, the department has received certification to perform paramedic-level care and has brought on three paramedics. The new contract recognizes their higher level of certification, providing a 4.5 percent pay increase over the previous contract.

In total, the contract covers 13 firefighters. It includes annual cost-of-living salary increases tied to a regional inflation index. That amounts to a 1.9 percent increase in the first year of the contract.

“It is a start in the right direction in trying to get (pay) parity with other departments,” said firefighter Prescott Nadeau, who was the firefighters’ lead negotiator along with Ryan Prouty. “We are still the lowest in the county.”

Firefighters agreed to a higher contribution to their health care premiums compared to the previous contract.

Negotiations occasionally stalled and went past the end date of the previous contract because of the challenge of scheduling meetings with multiple negotiators, Nadeau said. Pay raises in the new contract will be retroactive to July 1, Town Manager Rick McGuire said.

— Jason Starr