By Norwalk Firefighters Association
To the Editor:
NORWALK, Conn. – The membership of Local 830, the firefighting force of the City of Norwalk, has unanimously pledged its’ support and endorsement for Harry Rilling for mayor of our city in the 2013 Election.
The reasons for our endorsement of Rilling for Mayor are quite simple, none of which are based on any campaign promises or after-election favors. Harry has simply assured our membership that we will be given “a seat at the table” when it comes to matters of public safety in our city. He has promised that he would treat us with respect and have a open communication policy with us throughout his tenure.
We respect and appreciate the fact that Harry has dedicated most of his professional life to public safety. With that background, we feel very assured that he would understand the issues and needs not only of firefighters, but ALL public servants.
Rilling also understands the fact that Norwalk Firefighters worked very diligently to negotiate a successor collective bargaining agreement that would be an overall cost savings to the taxpayers of our great city. Local 830, the organization that represents over 130 uniformed professionals, secured the services of an Insurance Benefits Consulting Firm, which was paid for out of our own pockets, to address the high costs of medical benefits. From the recommendations from this firm, the city of Norwalk was able to adopt and put into place similar cost-saving measures in other city departments. According to the chairman of the Board of Estimate and Taxation, those health care concessions are expected to save our taxpayers an estimated $1.2 million over the next three years.
After all of these good-faith efforts and concessions, City Hall still insists on hiring high-priced attorneys that attack every article of our contract and attempt to change recently negotiated benefits. From these experiences, we learned that not only is it critical to have a mayor who is willing to have strong input on such cases, it is of equal importance that he is prepared make the decisions that will positively benefit both the employees of the city and those who pay for the services they provide.
One major issue that we, along with other city agencies, have had over the past few years has been a total lack of respect of our membership and leadership from the personnel director. Instead of the concerns of our members and their families being addressed carefully, we have been met with resistance, sarcasm and a general feeling that our problems are unimportant.
It is clear, by all of the City of Norwalk employees who have elected to support and endorse Harry Rilling, that it is time for a deviation from the lack of respect and lack of support for those who serve the public in our city.
We, the membership of the Norwalk Firefighters Association, proudly and entirely support Harry Rilling in his bid for mayor in the 2013 election.
Norwalk Firefighters Association
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