New London Mayor halts firefighter layoffs

July 18, 2012 4:59:13 AM PDT
The New London mayor's office on Tuesday postponed the layoffs of 25 New London firefighters, citing the fire union's request for a court injunction after the jobs were jeopardized by a breakdown in city budget negotiations.

Chief of Staff Jane Glover said the postponement is "day to day," The Day of New London reported. Fire officials were trying to contact employees who had been bracing for the layoffs to take effect at 5:30 p.m.

The mayor and the City Council had been sparring for months over the fire department's $8.9 million budget when the council decided Monday night not to act on a concession agreement designed to avoid the job cuts. The amended contract, agreed to by firefighters and the mayor, would have reduced mandatory staffing levels on each shift and eliminated two planned raises in exchange for keeping the jobs.

The firefighters facing layoffs account for a third of the city's fire department.

They include Alfred Mayo, who recently became the first African-American hired by the department in 34 years. Mayo lost his job last December, but was rehired after a report found he was subjected to racial discrimination at the fire academy.

Firefighters and their supporters booed and cursed as Finzio faced them outside City Council Chambers on Monday evening. The mayor blamed the city council and said it was a matter of politics.

Some councilors said they would not vote for the agreement because they needed more information.

The council also failed last month to approve the contract agreement with the firefighters, which was reached after Finizio announced plans to make drastic cuts in the public safety department.

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