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New London - In a rare joint statement issued by the mayor's office on Friday, the mayor and police union officials announced headway in police contract negotiations.
The optimism expressed by both sides is a departure from what had appeared to be friction in previous weeks on a host of issues.
Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio met with union leaders Friday to further hash out details of a new contract. The previous contract with police expired in July.
Finizio, who said he is "personally and unilaterally" conducting all further contract negotiations, said in his statement that both the administration and the union agree that most substantial contract negotiating points have been resolved.
Former Chief Administrative Officer Jane Glover had been handling negotiations before her resignation last month due to health reasons.
"I believe the city administration and the union are in agreement on the key elements of a new contract, and we are in agreement to work in good faith to conclude this contracting process swiftly," Finizio said.
Chuck Flynn, executive board member of New London Police Union AFSCME, Local 724, agreed.
"We accomplished with the mayor more in the last two hours than we accomplished in the last 10 months," he said in the statement.
Union President Todd Lynch said significant progress was made, calling the meeting "extremely positive."
"We're close," he said. "We made substantial strides today. I'm hoping I can bring this to the membership in the very near future."
Lynch said he expects another meeting with the mayor next week. He said a tentative agreement must be in place before going to police union members for a vote. A positive vote by the membership moves the contract to the City Council for approval.
Chief Administrative Officer Laura Natusch said the city administration does not plan to comment publicly again on contract negotiations until a final agreement is reached.