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Police, Fire Union Leaders On Pay Freeze

Utica, NY (WIBX) – The heads of Utica police and fire unions say they haven’t been made aware of what concessions Mayor David Roefaro is asking for, as both contracts are set to expire at the end of next month.

Roefaro said Tuesday that concessions are the only way to avoid layoffs.

Robert Wenner, president of the Utica Firefighters Local 32, says he did receive a letter from the administration about two weeks regarding future negotiations, but there was no indication of what concessions are being requested. He was aware that Roefaro has publicly mentioned a pay freeze.

“The Utica firefighters have always had the taxpayer, as our employer, at heart as well as their safety. We would always be willing to sit down with the city and renegotiate areas of the contract, if needed, for the benefit of the local members and citizens of Utica,” Wenner said.

Utica PBA President, Sergeant Tom Brady said he has had no formal discussions with the city, but wasn’t surprised by talk of a pay freeze in light of the economy and budget concerns.

“I think there’s a good group of guys that understand that when the city is doing well, then we can do well. When the city has some financial issues, obviously we’re not going to do well,” Brady said.

He added that each of the nearly 180 police officers has they’re own opinion and any contract would be decided with a union vote.

Brady said that upcoming police union elections will delay any talks for at least a couple of weeks.

“The city has reached out to us to start discussing things, but we haven’t had any chance to pick a date or anything. They’re aware of the fact that we’re waiting for the elections to transpire so we know who could be sitting on the other side of the table.”

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