Thread: Well, that's a spat...
01-13-2005, 03:18 PM #1
Well, that's a spat...
First time I heard of this dispute.
I know about 5 years ago Stamford had a "floating" career engine that would go into some of the volunteer areas during the day -- didn't have a station, just somehow they had an awful lot of PR & Inspections to do. Wonder if that odd structure was playing in as part of this dispute.
Stamford is a fairly large and prosperous city of 37 sq. miles & 120,000 with a lot of in-commuters. "Downtown" is career, with outlying areas volunteer & combination.
Stamford Firefighters, Mayor Settle 8-Year Lawsuit
Democratic Candidate For Governor Was Accused Of Abusing Power In Volunteer Department Staffing
January 13, 2005
By CHRISTOPHER KEATING, Capitol Bureau Chief
Seeking to avoid an expensive and contentious trial, attorneys have settled eight years of litigation between Stamford firefighters and Mayor Dannel Malloy, a leading Democratic candidate for governor.
Malloy would have been called to testify in the long-running battle pitting the city against a volunteer fire company over staffing of the fire service in semi-rural North Stamford, officials said.
Firefighters charged that the case dragged on for eight years because Malloy was unwilling to compromise, quoting him in an affidavit and in the lawsuit as saying he was "the 800-pound gorilla" who could do as he pleased as mayor.
A long trial could have brought negative media attention for Malloy, whose campaign for the Democratic nomination for governor has been slowed by an ongoing probe by the chief state's attorney's office into whether contractors who worked on Malloy's home received preferential treatment from the city. Malloy has maintained his innocence in the probe, and no charges have been filed.
The lawsuit charged that Malloy abused his power and violated the city charter in 1996 by ordering 16 paid firefighters to begin working at a volunteer fire company in the Long Ridge section.
The volunteer firefighters had asked for two additional paid drivers at a cost of about $150,000 per year, but Malloy's decision to send 16 paid firefighters ended up costing the city about $1.2 million a year, according to court papers.
When two firefighters asked Malloy to remove the additional firefighters from the volunteer station, he refused. "I'm the 800-pound gorilla, and these are all my bananas," said Malloy, according to an affidavit filed last year by a paid firefighter, Ralph Nau, who has known Malloy since high school.
Malloy denied Tuesday that he made the statement.
"I never said it," Malloy said in a telephone interview from his office. "It's not terminology I would ever use. That's just not the case."
West Hartford attorney Leon Rosenblatt, representing the firefighters, said that the issue could have been settled years ago if Malloy had been willing to bend.
"I found Malloy to be intractable, thoroughly politically motivated, unable to compromise and somewhat of a bully," Rosenblatt said. "We tried many times to settle, going back to 1996, on exactly these terms."
But Malloy responded that the firefighters "lost most of their claims in court." The mayor rejected the idea that he was unwilling to negotiate.
Neither side got everything it wanted, but both conceded that the eight-year battle had become too exhausting and expensive to go any further. The settlement calls for the city to continue paying about $1.2 million annually to the Long Ridge Volunteer Fire Company, plus an annual cost of living increase. The city will also pay an additional $34,000 to help close the company's budget deficit in the current fiscal year. The volunteer company sought the ability to determine the size of its budget, but the city won the right to continue overseeing the amount the company receives.
A companion lawsuit included claims about Malloy's family and its connection to the firefighters' union.
James J. Romaniello, Jr., then-president of Local 786 of the International Association of Firefighters, testified in 1997 that while Malloy was mayor his union purchased some of its insurance from the Malloy family insurance company run by Malloy's brothers.
Malloy on Tuesday at first said he was unaware of the issue, but later said the agency no longer has the union as a customer.
Donald Berg, union president of the Long Ridge Paid Drivers Association - a group aligned with the volunteers - said his side spent about $150,000 in legal fees in the case that no one believed would last eight years.
Malloy's assessment was that the withdrawal of the lawsuit was a "total defeat" for the firefighters.
Berg disagreed. "Malloy claimed he was an 800-pound gorilla and he would have his bananas one way or the other," Berg said. "I think he's more like an 80-pound chimp these days."
"It's a disgrace the way this whole thing got dragged out," he said.IACOJ Canine Officer
01-13-2005, 03:56 PM #2The settlement calls for the city to continue paying about $1.2 million annually to the Long Ridge Volunteer Fire Company, plus an annual cost of living increase."This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?
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