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    Saturday, November 26, 2022

    Montville Town Council discusses paid firefighters contract behind closed doors

    Montville — The Town Council discussed the parameters for a new contract between the town and the firefighter’s union at a special meeting Monday night after opposing a previous contract proposal.

    The council entered executive session for the discussion, which lasted an hour and five minutes. Mayor Ron McDaniel was included in the discussion along with Attorneys Eileen Duggan, Michael Satti, and Duncan Forsythe.

    At the conclusion of the discussion, Council Chairman Tom McNally said no vote was taken. Under state law, no votes can be taken in executive session, but rather have to occur in public.

    Council members and McDaniel declined to comment about the session after the meeting ended.

    If the two sides cannot come to an agreement, the contract discussions will continue in arbitration.

    The previous contract went into effect on July 1, 2019 and expired on June 30 of this year. The proposed contract would be retroactive to July 1 of this year with a June 30, 2025 expiration date.

    At its special meeting on Oct. 6, the council entered executive session with McDaniel and Duggan for 42 minutes before unanimously voting against approving the funding necessary to enter into an agreed contract between the town and Montville Fire Fighters Association of Management, Local 3386, IAFF.

    In a letter dated Oct. 18, 2022, McNally told McDaniel that the council “oppose all negotiations with the Montville Firefighter Association local 3386, IAFF that are in direct violation with the towns agreements that are in effect with the four town Volunteer Fire Companies.” The letter was read into the record at the Public Safety Commission’s Oct. 24 meeting.

    The town entered four, separate agreements with each of its fire departments ― Montville, Chesterfield, Mohegan and Oakdale Fire Companies ― that went into effect on Dec. 14, 2017 and will expire on Dec. 13, 2027.

    McNally then pointed to a letter dated Nov. 30, 2020 from Attorney Richard S. Cody to McDaniel about the responsibilities of the town and each fire department outlined in each agreement.

    Cody wrote to McDaniel that the town does not have the contracted right nor responsibility “to take direct operational measures that may affect the level of service,” such as regulating the movement of firefighters between companies.

    Cody continued that it was the responsibility of each firehouse to provide the contracted service while the town is responsible for providing the necessary staff and equipment.

    “The parties could have provided within the contract for the Town to assume general operational responsibility, and liability, to meet the level of quality, but did not,” Cody wrote. “ln fact, the parties made clear that their relationship to each other is one of independent contractors.”

    McNally, a former volunteer firefighter, concluded his October letter with: “The council has not been made aware of any lapse in services, nor any question of either the companies, or town for remedy to any lapse of the agreements.”

    k.arnold@theday.com

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