By Unified Government County Administrator Doug Bach and Interim KCK Fire Chief Kevin Shirley
Trading time is an accepted, legal practice which is allowed under federal law and the labor contract between the Unified Government and the KCK Firefighters Union. The issue facing the Unified Government is when the trading time practice does not follow policies and procedures.
In 2017, the Unified Government Board of Commissioners directed UG staff to examine the issue.
The information gathered will be utilized to review and evaluate the trading time practice making sure it complies with Fair Labor Standards Act provisions and negotiated contract terms.
In the next several months, KCK Fire Department management and Unified Government administration will analyze the data collected, implement administrative changes, and bring recommendations for changes or improvements back to the Commission for consideration.
Any recommended policy changes are subject to collective bargaining and will be discussed during labor contract negotiations with the Firefighters Union for the 2019 contract.
This issue is portrayed by some as the Unified Government versus the KCK Fire Department. This is absolutely not true. The KCK Fire Department is an important part of the Unified Government. Firefighters are valued employees who save lives, while frequently risking their own.