Monday, June 13, 2016

WDT: Rome, Auburn had bitter contract disputes with firefighters

      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

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Our current mayor is leading the charge! Hope he doesn't plan on having a political future, because he killed it.

Anonymous said...

And the only ones that will win are the lawyers. Council is making a huge mistake and costing taxpayers lots of money when they could have just sat down and negotiated. It is give and take and it seems the council is unaware of how negotiations work, of course when you have a city manager with NO experience in municipal government that will happen. Isn't her contract up for renewal?? How much has the downstate attorney cost us taxpayers so far? How long until more money is appropriated to him?

Anonymous said...

8:46...Mr. Butler is in the position he wanted to be in, mayor. I don't think he has interest in anything outside the area. But, if he can clean up these messes, FD, Police, Arenagate, Doggy do Park, etc. etc...maybe he should consider moving up the line. And, it appears he has a council of action with new blood that care about the future of the community. I like where he is going.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to the Mayor. Hope he gets to work on busting the other unions as well. Don't listen to the golfers

Anonymous said...

In your chronicle, you omitted the part where an election was held and the guy who voted for this heavy hitter lawyer was selected by the voters, over the guy who voted against it. That may or may not be a coincidence. Also, since those other cases, our state has enacted a tax cap law, which will be taken into consideration by the courts and arbitrators.

Anonymous said...

10:03, your right. Mr. Butler is in the position he wanted to be in, you can follow him if you want, because the train is ending in less than 4 years now, and we are loving it. Mayor Graham needed a good break, and will assume the role again, we hope to clean up what Butler has now screwed up.
As for the other council members, it is great to see Ms Macaluso still saying things which are NOT true and she really doesn't have a clue. The grant for the fire department was for two new hired members, not the three she stated in the paper today. The Times said two , but she still remarked "three" would be a temporary fix. It's the same method she used when voting on this grant. Watch the tapes, but she said in open public at the meeting, "i still don't understand this, but i am going to vote no". What????? How are you in such a position to make important decisions and NOT know about the item you are voting for when it can save so much or affects people. She really amazes me every time she opens her mouth.

Anonymous said...

Rome has more firefighters and a budget $3 million less than ours. Maybe we can keep staffing of 15 if they cut their budget $3 million.

Anonymous said...

Hey 1159 why the hatred against the unions??? Couldnt pass a civil service test?

Anonymous said...


You have to be kidding me? It was you Jeff that brought Sharon Addison in here with a mandate to take on the FD union ( "take a hard line").. It is very easy for you to now sit back and criticize other for carrying out the plan that you created. It is also very easy to take a soft stance and look "reasonable" when you are the final vote and the issue is ready decided. Wether or not you want to admit it, we all know that you helped to create this mess and that you love to watch it all play out from the comfort of the side-lines. This is a total disaster for us taxpayers and it all started on your watch - WE ARE NOT STUPID!!!!!

Anonymous said...

8:52, You are correct on one point, we are not all stupid. But you are.

Graham facilitated the recruitment of Addison, after other leaders dismissed a perfectly fine city manager who was able to perform reasonably well in the Peter Principle position she was in, like all the rest of them do. I doubt very much that during the interviewing process, any candidate was asked their position on taking on the fire department, to get their costs under control.

Jeff Graham said...

I facilitated the hiring of a city manager after a majority of Council decided not to renew a contract with the previous manager. Those voting to do so had no plan for filling the post and I pushed through the hiring of Krol to help with process. As for the decision on Ms. Addison, it was unanimous although I think you will find the current mayor was very supportive of her hiring throughout the process.
Call me some time and I'll give you the tick tock on the whole process.

Anonymous said...

8:52 is actually correct. It's easy to vote last sometimes. As for 3:57, nice try. I get it. Your guy lost and it was not close. That's OK though. I am actually kind of on your side a bit. The choice to run here is a tough one. This particular blog and the continuous arm chairing, second guessing, stumping for personal gain, makes it tough for people to govern. I am no Addison fan, but, every decision is publicized to the point where she can't win. As for Macaluso, your spot on. The puppet has lost her master.