At Monday’s City of Marion Board of Works and Safety meeting, the board denied a grievance by a Marion firefighter to pay him for extended time off for non-duty injuries.
According to the firefighter’s contract, firefighters are allowed a total of 120 days of medical leave for an on-duty injury or 60 days for a non-duty injury.
However, the union’s legal counsel, Edward Merchant, disputed the city’s interpretation of the contract. He said an MFD firefighter had two separate non-duty related injuries this year. For those two injuries, he received 60 total days of pay.
However, Merchant and the union argued that because of how the language in the firefighters’ contract was worded, for every separate injury a firefighter suffers, they should then receive a maximum of 60 days of pay for each non-duty injury.
The board, and the city’s corporate counsel, Thomas Hunt, disagreed with this argument. They interpreted the contract as meaning 60 days of non-duty injury pay throughout the year at a maximum, regardless of how many injuries are sustained.
However, ultimately the decision came down to when the grievance was filed in the first place. After a firefighter becomes aware of an issue, they have 14 days to file a grievance.
The board voted 5-0 to deny the grievance on the basis that it was filed after that 14-day period.