Town bleeds red & blue

By Ron Leir

This town won’t be letting go any of its public safety employees after all – thanks to 11th-hour concessions extracted from the police and firefighter unions.
But both the Police and Fire Departments will see their ranks thinned via demotions and attrition, and the town is going ahead with plans to take ambulance services out of the hands of the Fire Department.
Mayor Ray McDonough said the town and unions came to the agreement last Wednesday after many hours of negotiations.
Previously, Harrison had sent notices to 11 Fire Department employees and eight Police Department members that they would be laid off, effective July 1 – this,  to help close a budget gap of more than $1 million.
As outlined by Town Attorney Paul Zarbetski and Harrison’s labor counsel Robert Murray, here is the deal that has been struck:
In the long run, the Fire Department will take the harder hit. It is losing 12 of its 42 members through retirements, and none will be replaced.

Those leaving, as of July 1, are: Battalion Chiefs Thomas Rodgers, James Woods and Michael Greene; Capts. Anthony Cruz, John Carey, James Lawless (who was promoted nine months ago) and James Cappuccino; and Firefighters James Wolinger, Donald Donohue, James Dolaghan, Thomas Dougher and Thomas Murphy.

To read the full story, see this week’s issue of The Observer.

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