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Tallahassee's mayor responds to county commissioner's offer to negotiate between city and firefighters

Leon County Commissioner made the offer publicly Tuesday, March 5
Posted at 6:18 PM, Mar 05, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-05 18:18:10-05
  • Leon County Commissioner, Bill Proctor, offered to become the negotiator between Tallahassee's city government and Tallahassee's firefighters.
  • Tallahassee's mayor responded with the letter below.
  • Watch the video above to hear from Proctor on why he thinks he can get the job done.


One year: that’s how long the City of Tallahassee and the area fire union have been in a stale mate over higher wages. Now, one county leader is looking to step in.

I’m Kendall Brandt in the downtown Tallahassee neighborhood. I'm asking Commissioner Bill Proctor why he thinks he can make a difference.

County Commissioner Bill Proctor says firefighters have been waiting a year too long for better pay. "It startles me that Florida's legislature has been through two sessions, and yet here in Tallahassee we don't have an agreement."

The agreement that hasn't happened: a contract between the Tallahassee Professional Firefighters Union and the City of Tallahassee.

"This is a joint county and city supported, sustained fire department. That's why we have an interest. Our dog is in this fight," Proctor added.

After lots of back and forth with city leaders, Proctor says he now wants to help reach an agreement on a new contract.

The fire union and city leaders have met more than 20 times since march 2023 to negotiate higher wages.

The offer on the table right now: an more than $2,000 raise for firefighters, bumping the starting pay from about $44,000 to more than $46,000.

Engineers would get a smaller raise of about $1,000 a year and ranks such as lieutenants won't get an increase at all beyond a $500 bonus.

Tuesday morning, the Tallahassee Professional Firefighters issued a statement in response to Proctor's offer saying in part quote: "To see one of our longest serving elected officials willing to publicly speak out and offer to assist in some resolution is encouraging."

When I met with the union president Joey Davis in January, he told me the discrepancy in raises is why an agreement still hasn't been reached.

I reached out to the city about that current offer and Proctor's proposal.

Fire Chief Gene Sanders told me in a statement quote "The priority has been on Firefighters, with the City providing multiple proposals for compensation increases that are now up to 8.6% within the rank of Firefighter, which is far above an average offer, with the expectation that the Union's negotiating team would have taken this proposed raise to their members for a vote."

He did not mention the county commissioner's ask in the statement.

Proctor says he is still waiting to hear back from the city.

ABC 27's Kendall Brandt asked Proctor, "why do you think you can end this negotiation?"

Proctor repsonded saying, "there are none who have gone through the plethora of issues which I have gone through over the last almost three decades. It's not a demand, it's just simply an offer."

I spoke with Commissioner Jeremy Matlow and he tells me he plans on bringing Proctor’s proposal up at the city commission meeting Wednesday. Proctor says he will host a town hall with union firefighters at the Bruce Host Library on March 21.