The Gloversville Firefighters Association Local 719, which represents the city’s 28 firefighters, has filed a request for mediation with the state Public Employee Relations Board over contract negotiations between the union and the city of Gloversville.
Local 719 officials said negotiations are currently at an impasse, and called on the state agency to help the union “achieve a reasonable and responsible solution for all parties in the city of Gloversville,” according to union president Edward Martelle, who was quoted in a statement announcing the filing earlier this week.
City officials have been calling on the union to cut $300,000 annually from the department’s personnel budget, which Common Council members and Mayor Dayton King believe is inflated with unnecessary overtime costs.
The union approached the city with an offer that would save $1.2 million over four years, but it was rejected by city officials because, according to King, the savings would only be realized if some members of the department retired, which was not guaranteed.
The city has threatened to place on the November ballot a referendum question that, if passed, would convert the fire department into a hybrid full-time/volunteer department if the savings could not be worked out.
The union has said the city’s budget request potentially threatens the safety of Gloversville residents.
In Local 719’s statement they said in cases where mediation is requested or required, a PERB mediator contacts both parties and arranges a meeting, and determines if a contract consensus can be reached.