The WDT has done what was not done last year when a Long Island attorney was hired to smite the rascals in the FD.
Upstate cities like Rome and Auburn have gone through similar disputes over manning language in the contract and after all the huffing and puffing contracts were settled with manning levels remaining but at slightly lower levels, allowing city officials to claim savings and the union to claim they protected their members.
Labor lawyer Terry O'Neill was pitched to Council well over a year ago by the city attorney. He regaled Council with stories of battling firemen in Yonkers and other downstate communities. He impressed some, didn't impress others.
As an informational exercise it was interesting, but there was never a consensus on the core proposal to seek redress in the courts by intentionally breaching the contract.
A check I made with the NYCOM labor expert yielded names of other labor lawyers involved in similar battles, but when that list was offered to Council, I was told 'we have our guy'. The resulting 3-2 vote to hire Mr. O'Neill was taken. The majority rules, so that was that and the current Council supports that decision.
At the least, a look around at similar situations and talks with different counsel could have helped, but the decision was made and a campaign was on. There was little debate.
Watertown will in the end settle. The captains will get pay restored if not position and minimum manning will be dropped by one or two. Victory will be claimed, lawyers will be paid and the world will go on its way.
Watertown Daily Times | Rome, Auburn had bitter contract disputes with firefighters