NORWALK, Conn. – Just before he headed out the door, former Mayor Richard Moccia signed a tentative agreement with Norwalk Assistants and Supervisors Association (NASA) President Al Palumbo setting forth the terms and conditions of employment under which the city’s assistant corporation counsels would function when they join the NASA bargaining unit.
The agreement, if approved by the Common Council, would exempt assistant corporation counsels, currently considered Ordinance List employees, from Article X, Section 4 of the NASA contract that calls for them to be reviewed and reappointed at the end of each term for which they were hired. The only way to remove an assistant corporation counsel from the city payroll under the new agreement would be for “just cause,” and could be challenged.
Assistant corporation counsel would be the only NASA position to have the re-appointment procedure waiver at this time, restricting the city’s ability to eliminate their positions or to choose to hire someone else at a lower rate.
According to a copy of the tentative agreement, Moccia signed the deal Nov. 18, 13 days after he lost his re-election bid and the day before new Mayor Harry Rilling took office.
There are currently four positions that are covered by the tentative agreement. Diane Beltz-Jacobson, who has worked for Norwalk for more than 20 years, is paid $113,419; Brian L. McCann, hired in 2008, is paid $101, 918, and Carolyn M. Colangelo, a part-timer hired this year, makes $66,779. The fourth position is vacant.
The positions would be slotted at Grade 8 in the NASA contract and, as of July 1, would get a 2 percent raise and would get other raises negotiated for the classification in the following years. Currently, Ordinance List employee raises are decided on by the mayor, working within a framework set by the Common Council.
According to a memo from Director of Personnel H. James Haselkamp accompanying the agreement, the employees chose to join the union because of concerns about reappointment and outsourcing.
The tentative agreement is on the Tuesday night council meeting agenda, when it will be discussed in executive session, according to Rilling.
“I’m not ready to discuss that,” he said of the details of the agreement. “I recognize the right of employees to join the union, and I respect that right.”
Also on the agenda are 12 board and commission appointments, including the nomination of Greg Burnett to the Board of Estimate and Taxation.
According to the city charter, all BET appointments are supposed to be made within a week of the mayoral inauguration, but Burnett is the lone appointment put forward so far.
“We are in negotiations,” said Rilling, a Democrat working with a council headed by a Republican 8-7 majority. “We had two other names but we couldn’t come to an agreement.”
Rilling said he and council President Doug Hempstead and Majority Leader Jerry Petrini are trying to work in a cooperative way, but that the negotiations have not been easy.
Petrini said Friday night that he liked the idea of hashing things out before taking them to the full council and the public.
“To me, it would be awfully embarrassing to have some of these great people come forward and want to serve civically and getting torn apart on the debate,” he said.
“We’re trying to work in a cooperative way and trying to bring a new level of cooperation between the parties to act in the best interests of the community,” Rilling said. “Hopefully we can continue to do that.”