Bo Butler, president of Local 3160 of the Professional Firefighters of Londonderry, said Town Councilor John Farrell’s recent statement at a Town Council meeting about fire negotiations and staffing was “a supreme disappointment.”
Farrell told the Town Council on Aug. 11, in reference to recent Facebook social media postings by the union, that he wished to counter the firefighters’ claims about staffing, as well as to offer comments about contract negotiations.
In response to a question from the Londonderry Times, Butler said on Tuesday, Aug. 19, that Farrell’s comments were a disappointment “to the Professional Firefighters of Londonderry as well as many citizens of Londonderry who have expressed their concerns with his actions to us directly, many during the Old Home Day festivities. There are two sides to every story, however, and in this case and at this specific time, you will only get one side of the story and that is the side of Councilor Farrell. We do not negotiate in the papers.
“The Professional Firefighters of Londonderry respect, recognize and understand the importance of good-faith negotiations and will protect the integrity of the process by providing no comments to the public or newspapers until negotiations have concluded and an agreement has been reached that is both beneficial to the Town and the Local,” Butler said.
“We hope to move forward from this and invite our citizens to ‘Like’ our Facebook page (Professional Firefighters of Londonderry) for more information on who we are and what we do every day,” he added. He also thanked residents for their support and feedback.
Farrell said at the Council meeting that during recent negotiations between the Town and the firefighters, the town extended an offer to move from four battalions to three battalions with 13 to 14 people per shift, no change in hours, a 1.8 percent increase in wages, and no change to any other employee benefits, in a one-year agreement.
Farrell claimed the offer was rejected “within 5 minutes by the firefighters’ representatives. Therefore, it was not presented to the membership for a vote.”