While details will not be made public until the union has the chance to see them, New London Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio has reached a concession agreement with the leadership of the city's firefighters union, avoiding layoffs. The concessions still have to be confirmed by the membership.
As stated in this blog earlier, before the deal was confirmed, this has to be viewed as a big public policy victory for the mayor. Speculation is that the deal includes reduced mandatory staffing levels, incentives for veteran firefighters to retire and extension of the contract, which now runs through June 2014.
The mayor said talks with the police union are progressing in hopes of obtaining concessions that will avoid layoffs in that bargaining unit as well.
At the press conference, Mayor Finizio also announced his veto of the general government budget. contending that revenues were overestimated, seeking an adjustment to account for savings from the concessions and asking to restore the pay and staff cuts the council imposed on his administration.
Critics may not like the mayor's hardball tactics in threatening layoffs of public safety personnel, but let's be realistic. What union ever agreed to givebacks without the threat of job losses?
If the mayor can indeed obtain significant budget savings without firefighter or police job losses, it may be an important step in restoring credibility to his beleaguered administration.