Kalispell Approves Contract with Firefighters

By Beacon Staff

The Kalispell City Council unanimously ratified a collective bargaining agreement with the firefighters’ union at its May 2 meeting, capping a tumultuous number of weeks where the layoffs of seven firefighters were at stake.

Following stark disagreements between union leaders and city officials over the cost of a 3-year employment contract awarded to the firefighters by an independent arbitration decision, the two sides eventually reached a deal where firefighters agreed to cap the number of days they would work annually. The deal will keep the Kalispell Fire Department force at 30 people, and forestalls other proposals like the privatization of the city ambulance service.

“I want to express a heartfelt gratitude by simply stating thank you for bringing solutions to the table,” Councilman Bob Hafferman said.

Also at the meeting, council members unanimously approved a zoning change that allows the Samaritan House homeless shelter to serve meals out of the cafeteria kitchen at the former U.S. Army Reserve Center at 1110 Second Street West, where the nonprofit currently uses the facility for office space. Although no beds will installed at the Reserve Center, moving food service there allows Samaritan House to offer more room for clients at its original location at 124 9th Avenue West.

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