Poquonnock Bridge Fire District votes to rehire two of nine laid off firefighters

Groton - The Poquonnock Bridge Fire District Board voted unanimously Thursday to return to work two of the nine firefighters laid off by the district last July, Board Member Ron Yuhas said. 

Representatives of the union and board had signed a tentative agreement on Sept. 9, 2014, following a series of meetings between the two sides and a state mediator. 

“We discussed the original (tentative agreement) and decided financially we could bring two of the nine guys back,” Yuhas said. 

The fire district has been running with a minimum of five firefighters on duty at all times, which has required the department to call in firefighters on overtime, Board President Alan Ackley said after a Town Council meeting earlier this week. 

Yuhas said he believes the two firefighters will be called immediately. 

“We’re going to bring them back as soon as we can,” Yuhas said Thursday night. “There’s a process we have to go through as a district, but they may be back as soon as tomorrow.” 

“We can work it into the budget,” he said. “It actually will cost a little less (than paying overtime) if the figures are right.”

Settlement talks to try to reach a new agreement with the union began shortly after the district board challenged, in Superior Court, the union’s 10-year contract with associated raises that had been signed by a previous district board in 2012. It had passed by a 2-1 vote.

d.straszheim@theday.com

Twitter: @DStraszheim

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