CEDAR FALLS | Unionized city firefighters want to start with a clean slate with the new city administration.
For that reason, they have withdrawn their vote of no confidence in the City Council and administration taken in August 2014.
Jim Cook, president of the Cedar Falls Firefighters Association, announced that to the City Council on Monday night. He said the move was made "in efforts to move forward with the city and try to work better with the city of Cedar Falls ... so that we can maybe work together and move forward as two organizations and do what's best for our citizens of Cedar Falls."
He also congratulated new Mayor Jim Brown, new council member Tom Blanford and thanked retired Mayor Jon Crews and City Administrator Dick McAlister for their service. Crews and McAlister were not present.
The decision "came about because of the new leadership. We're trying to move forward and work with the city," Cook said after the meeting. "That's always been our goal. It's a way for us to hopefully open up and communicate better with them. Our door is always open. We've always tried to explain that to the city. That's what our goal was."
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Though no formal vote was taken, "This was my administrative decision to go ahead and do that" as union president, Cook said.
Firefighters had disagreed with the city administration on staffing issues, contending the city was seriously understaffed and questioned the use of paid on-call staff, volunteers and public safety officers. They said savings from a reorganization and the re-creation of a Public Safety Department should be used to hire additional staff. The firefighters union endorsed no incumbent council members in November's city election and supported Dave Halterman over Brown and Crews for mayor.
Cook was present two weeks ago as Brown, Blanford and re-elected council members Susan deBuhr and Dave Wieland were sworn into office and walked up to McAlister and shook his hand.
The firefighters' collective bargaining agreement with the city does not come up for renegotiation until next year.