Finizio tells firefighters not to worry, jobs safe - for now

New London — The mayor is expected to notify 25 firefighters who received lay-off notices last month that their jobs are intact and they will still be working come Sunday.

Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio said Tuesday he is sending out formal letters to all the firefighters who received pink slips last month to let them know they will not be laid off on Friday. The layoff notices will be rescinded until July 3, Finizio said, pending City Council approval Monday night of a revised contract.

"Firefighters should not be concerned at this time,'' Finizio said Tuesday. "They should continue to advocate for what they believe. But I have seen nothing to give alarm at this point."

The City Council discussed the Local 1522 agreement Monday night in a closed-door session and more than a dozen firefighters waited outside for the council to approve changes to the contract. Instead, councilors emerged from the session and took no action. There was no public discussion, either. Some members left the meeting angry because they did not know whether they would still be employed.

But Finizio said the firefighters have nothing to worry about.

He said he has no problem with the council taking its time to review the revised contract, which he said will mean "substantial savings" for the city.

"It's perfectly reasonable for the council to take a week to review the changes,'' he said. "I'm very, very hopeful the contract will be swiftly approved. We've been given every indication that the agreement will be ratified."

Fire union president Rocco Basilica said he met Tuesday afternoon with Finizio to discuss the situation. The deal, Basilica said, is "still on the table" and "nothing's changed for us."

"It comes down to the City Council Monday night," Basilica said.

Finizio handed out layoff notices, effective Friday, to 25 firefighters in an effort to save money in the 2012-13 budget. The union and the city negotiated an amended contract, which must be ratified by the City Council. The amended contract, which is already signed by the union and the city, must be ratified by the council. It will not be public until after council approval.

k.edgecomb@theday.com

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