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August 31, 2009 - 7:28pm

Council, union come to agreement on settlement terms

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia FIre Department.

Both the Batavia City Council and the firefighters union, IAFF Local 1896, called votes tonight on settlement terms in the unfair labor practices complaints filed against the city by the union.

The City Council passed its resolution approving the settlement terms on a unanimous vote with no discussion.

The union vote wasn't quite as unanimous. With all of the EMS employees scheduled to lose their jobs at midnight eligible to vote, Union President Greg Ireland characterized the vote as "close." (He's not required to disclose actual vote count.)

After a short executive session, the council reentered chambers and heard three public speakers. Afterward, Councilman Frank Ferrando made the motion to approve the settlement resolution. Councilman Bob Bialkowski then made a motion to "call the question," a parliamentary term prompting a vote, effectively eliminating any discussion beforehand.

Bialkowski's motion passed unanimously (Councilman Tim Buckley had a personal matter tonight and did not attend the meeting).

Bialkowski said he called for the question because, "I was afraid that any discussion at this point would only infuriate people. There is no right or wrong on this. It is a business decision. We certainly do not want to offend any employees and, unfortunately, when you enter into a discussion it can lead to people becoming antagonized."

During a post-meeting press conference, City Council President Charlie Mallow said there was nothing new or surprising in the decision so the council decided, "why have a discussion?"

I'll have more from the meeting and the press conference later tonight.

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