Jannise Johnson, Staff Writer
Created: 12/22/2011 05:33:53 PM PST

MONTCLAIR – The Montclair City Council decided 3 to 1 Wednesday night to require members of the Montclair Fire Fighters Association to continue their 6 percent individual contribution toward their retirement fund.

Negotiators for the city and the association (MFFA) had been at an impasse since February.

Wednesday’s labor negotiations impasse hearing in council chambers went on for more than three hours as city officials, council members and a negotiator and lawyer for the MFFA laid out arguments in favor of each of their positions.

One of the main sticking points was the individual contribution to the retirement fund known as CalPERS or California Public Employees’ Retirement System. In past years, the employees did not make an individual contribution.

However, city officials have argued that the economic slowdown has required that some of that burden be borne by the employees.

City Manager Edward Starr said the money does not constitute a loss of wages.

“The members aren’t actually losing that money,” Starr said. “They are being asked to contribute it into their own retirement accounts.”

Starr went on to say that pension liabilities are a large component of the city’s costs.

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