City Desk

Union to WASA: Pay Up for Hydrant Inspections

Yesterday, the D.C. Fire Fighters Association—the union representing members of the District fire department—announced it was asking the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority to pay the city $900,000 to cover the costs of inspecting more than 10,000 city fire hydrants.

Good idea, but how come it's the union asking—not, say, fire Chief Dennis Rubin?

Dan Dugan, the union's president, says he was forced to take the lead on the issue because negotiations between WASA and the department over paying for hydrant inspections had stalled. He doubts that WASA General Manager Jerry N. Johnson is interested in making a deal. "This guy's all fluff," Dugan says. "When it comes down to signing the [agreement] to make it all happen, he doesn't want to sign it."

Dugan says the dollar amount came from a source with knowledge of the negotiations between WASA and the fire department.

An Aug. 30 closed-door meeting ended without an agreement, but both department spokesperson Alan Etter and WASA spokesperson Michele Quander-Collins say that negotiations are ongoing, with a another meeting likely before the end of the month.

Quander-Collins says Dugan has no basis to make any demands. "He's not part of the discussions," she says. "I'm not gonna make him part of the discussions now."

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