NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP/WTNH) — The New London City Council has approved a new agreement with the city's firefighters union that is expected to save the jobs of 25 firefighters who were to be laid off next week.
The Day of New London reports Thursday night that councilors voted 4-2 in favor of the deal. One of the votes in favor came from Councilor Adam Sprecace. He had joined two other councilors in opposing an earlier deal, saying it was too costly.
The new agreement includes a cap on the city's contribution to the Connecticut Municipal Employees Retirement System.
Firefighters will switch over to the state pension or municipalities and allow the minimum staffing to drop from 18 firefighters to 16, something that has happened in the past.
"Obviously we want more staffing on duty, it is safer for everybody including the citizens, but we went to a number we have used before," said Rocco Basilica, Firefighter's Union President. "We felt it was more important that the pension came into play."
There were seven changes or concessions that were worked out to avoid layoffs. Also, there will be no raises next year; something that let's the city move forward without hitting the tax payer again.
"The city as a whole couldn't remain solvent as a whole this year had we not reached some agreement with the firefighters, or proceeded with layoffs," said Mayor Daryl Finizio.
"It came down to this vote tonight, and as far as city management and the fire union, we're fine," said Basilica.
"I believe this has been a difficult process because we have a difficult budget," said Finizio, "but we have always known throughout this process that we have had an amazing fire department."
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