Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to approve new contracts with two city unions and also hike pay for city officials to be elected next year.

The deal with the International Associaion of Firefighters provides for a 2 percent pay hike this year and a 2.25 percent increase in 2013.

The firefighters agreement also establishes a new pay rate for new hires 10 percent lower than existing compensation levels.

The agreement also restores time-and-a-half premium pay for six holidays, adjusts the cost to employees of health insurance coverage and provides a $500 fitness bonus to firefighters who pass a seven-step test.

The deal with AFSCME, the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, which represents most non-public safety employees, calls for a 2.5 percent pay increase this year and a 1.75 percent increase in 2013.

The AFSCME deal also creates a new pay rate for new hires 4.2 percent lower than existing compensation levels, restores previously impose furlough days and changes worker costs for health insurance coverage.

The aldermen are also scheduled to approve 2 percent pay increases over each of the next four years for elected city and township officials.

Those increases were recommended earlier this summer by a compensation committee of residents appointed by the mayor.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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