CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake city officials ratified a new four-year collective bargaining agreement with the city's fire department on the same day it officially swore in a new chief.
Moments after longtime Crystal Lake firefighter Paul DeRaedt was sworn in Tuesday as the new chief, the City Council approved a four-year deal with the department that includes a roughly 7 percent increase to salaries over the life of the deal.
Salary ranges for firefighter/paramedics will range from $60,249 a year to $88,899 a year in 2014-15 before increasing to a floor of $64,591 and a ceiling of $95,306 in 2018. Lieutenants will see their maximum earning power increase from $101,990 in 2014 to $109,341 in 2018.
The increase to each level occurs every six months.
"We were able to conduct our negotiations with the city quickly and efficiently," said Tim Kerley, president of the Crystal Lake Professional Firefighters Association. "We are happy with the outcome and appreciate the city's returned effort."
The agreement also included many of the previous provisions about the 24-hour work shift, education reimbursements, no strike clauses and overtime policies.
Mayor Aaron Shepley said the city has some of the finest public safety officers and especially credited DeRaedt for his 20-plus years of service to the city and the leadership he will bring to the department.
"I love living in Crystal Lake, and one of the things I love most about it is that when I put my head on the pillow at night, I know I'm going to be safe," Shepley said. "We're very thrilled to have [Chief DeRaedt]."
DeRaedt takes over for James Moore, who announced his retirement in June. Moore had served as chief of the fire department since 2005 with DeRaedt in the deputy role for eight of those years.
DeRaedt thanked Moore for his guidance over the years and said his predecessor made an easy transition possible. "I feel very comfortable taking those reins," DeRaedt said. "We have many assets and resources available to us, and there are really none greater than the men and women we have."