Coral Springs and Parkland have taken their long-standing partnership for fire and emergency medical services to the next level.
The two cities recently approved a five-year contract that provides the element that had been missing from the previous contract — job security for Coral Springs fire department staff serving in Parkland. Unlike the earlier agreement under which Parkland could, if it wished, look for a new partner after giving 12-months notice to Coral Springs, the new contract can only be terminated by either party for cause.
Parkland will ensure the employment of 90 percent of the fire department employees that service the city if the newly approved contract is terminated, not renewed or not renegotiated after five years. The remaining 10 percent will be absorbed by Coral Springs. In recognition of the strengthened relationship between the two cities, “Coral Springs/Parkland Fire Department” will be displayed on all employee uniform T-shirts, as well as department equipment.
The jobs of 33 firefighters were at stake every time the contract came up for consideration, said Mike Matonak, Coral Springs Fire Union president. The lack of job security had forced many department employees to leave; the protection built in under the new contract will calm the employees in the department, he added.
The contract was finalized after nine months of negotiations between the staff of both cities. “Both communities will benefit from the partnership financially and also in the level of service,” said Coral Springs City Manager Erdal Donmez. “Five years will become another five years and more in the future. We just need to keep proving ourselves, and that is going to happen automatically.”
“We are not looking to beat Coral Springs,” said Parkland Mayor Michael Udine. “Hopefully, there are not looking to beat us. I don’t think that they are. It is a partnership. Most of the things that I am seeing in here are very positive for Parkland and equally positive for Coral Springs as they get to expand their geography in the department.”
The contract, which will become effective this October, will fetch Coral Springs an annual revenue of at least $5.4 million. The contract amount for fiscal year 2016 will be $34,000 less than for the current year.
Coral Springs began providing EMS services to Parkland in 1996, but it was only in 2004 that the two cities entered into an agreement for both fire and EMS services. The agreement was renewed for five years in 2010, but only after Parkland toyed with the idea of contracting with the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
Copyright © 2015, Sun Sentinel