Firefighters, Finizio may have deal to avert layoffs

New London - Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio and fire officials are expected to announce today a labor compromise that could save the jobs of all or some of the 25 firefighters who received layoff notices last month.

City officials and fire department union leadership negotiated for several hours Tuesday, mayoral assistant Zak Leavy said, and a press conference about those efforts is expected sometime today.

Leavy would not give any further details or confirm whether a compromise in the labor negotiations between the two sides had been reached, but he did say representatives from both the city and fire department would be present at today's announcement.

Fire union President Rocco Basilica declined to comment Tuesday.

The four or five hours of negotiations Tuesday capped labor negotiations that began even before Finizio announced last month that 25 firefighters would be laid off to keep the city within the proposed budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, which begins July 1. Those firefighters received their layoff notices in the mail.

Ten police officers have also been threatened with layoffs, and police union President Todd Lynch said Tuesday that negotiations with the city are scheduled for Thursday. Preliminary discussions have begun, and Lynch said he has "been working very hard" with Chief Administrative Officer Jane Glover to reach a "mutual agreement."

"The talks between myself and Ms. Glover have been very positive, and we look forward to reaching a positive outcome so no police personnel lose their jobs," Lynch said.

Finizio has until Thursday to decide whether to veto the City Council-approved $83 million budget, which represents about an 8 percent increase in taxes. Finizio has said that budget would require the termination of dozens of city employees.

The mayor had proposed an $87 million budget with a 20 percent increase in taxes, which he has said would have preserved all services and jobs. Finizio announced the layoffs after the council approved the first of three readings of the budget.

Last week, Finizio said he would go forward with other layoffs unless he got "modest concessions" from the firefighters' union on minimum staffing levels. In return, he's offering a defined pension plan so the oldest members of the department, who are making the most money, can retire. That would open up positions for younger firefighters who earn less money.


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