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Police and Fire unions win pay increases in Orange Park

Hilt and Vogel to compete for Council Seat 4 on Municipal Super Tuesday

Posted 2/8/24

ORANGE PARK – After months of negotiations, the Town Council approved the collective bargaining agreements with employees in the Police and Fire unions.

“We have been working on this (since …

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Police and Fire unions win pay increases in Orange Park

Hilt and Vogel to compete for Council Seat 4 on Municipal Super Tuesday


Posted

ORANGE PARK – After months of negotiations, the Town Council approved the collective bargaining agreements with employees in the Police and Fire unions.

“We have been working on this (since September) to make things right with our police. They do a great job. When you look at the local community our police officers (had been) underpaid. I want to thank them for everything they do. This is well deserved,” said Mayor Randy Anderson.

He continued, “I want to give a thank you to our fire department. This is well deserved, and I support where we are going with this.”

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) represents the Orange Park Police Department. The FOP was able to bring starting salaries for entry-level patrol officers in line with the new Clay County Sheriff’s Office starting pay. The result was a 20.9% increase for the lowest-paid positions and a 10.9% increase for the highest. The average pay increase across all positions is 14.36%.

The signed agreement brought $184,704 in additional wages and $55,411 in benefits.

Additional changes include the work period now being 14 days instead of 21 days, Juneteenth will be a federal holiday and mandatory shifts during storms and emergencies will result in double wages, regardless of hours worked.

In return, the FOP agreed not to engage in any strike, picketing or activity interfering with police work. Any employee participating in or promoting a strike may be disciplined or discharged.

Det. Jeff Yaeger is the current president of FOP Lodge 144, representing the Orange Park Police Department. Yaeger said the bargaining contract negotiations were delayed due to the police department’s transition from a former union to FOP.

“It wasn’t that the town wasn’t willing. It was because the police union was transitioning,” Yaeger said.

Samantha Frehulfer, the president-elect of FOP Lodge 144, said the town was cooperative and respectful during bargaining.

“The communication went really well when we went to the table. They were understanding and willing to help us out,” Frehulfer said.

The International Association of Firefighters represents the Orange Park Fire Department. The IAF negotiated standard pay increases to keep positions competitive in the local job marketplace. A base level increase of 6.5% will be applied to all positions.

The signed agreement brought $79,306 in additional wages and $23,792 in benefits.

The IAF agreed to a similar “no strike” condition. Juneteenth became a federal holiday for firefighters and paramedics.

“I’d like to see the (impact) of the raises. I think we’ll see hiring back where it needs to be,” said Vice-Mayor Doug Benefield.

In other news, the council learned Glenn A. Taylor will run unopposed for Seat 3, while Madison “Maddie” Hilt will face Kenneth Vogel for Seat 4 during the Municipal Super Tuesday election on April 9. The qualifying period ended on Friday, Feb. 2.
The two spots on the Town Council came open in late December when members Susana Thompson and Daniel Cobreiro resigned.