WPCNR Afternoon Tribune, UPDATE # 2 by John F. Bailey, 3/25/02, 2:00 PM: WPCNR has learned that the Common Council will hold a Special Meeting this evening at 6 PM, to kill the Police-Fire Study they approved 5-1 March 14. The surprising reversal comes at the request of the White Plains Professional Fire Fighters Union on the eve of beginning negotiations of their new contract.
With the Mayor in the air over the Pacific Ocean, winging his way to Japan, the Council, if they wish to kill the study, will have to meet twice this week in order to override their own approval of a scant two weeks ago.
Acting Commissioner Hickey “floored”
The union request of the council was news to Acting Commissioner of Public Safety, Daniel Hickey, who told WPCNR, he just learned about it from City Hall a few moments ago. Hickey said the union did not talk to him or Fire Chief, Mark Daimon about the request to kill the study. He said he was “floored” when City Hall told him of the special meeting within the last hour.
Fire Fighter Contract Negotiations begin Tuesday.
Hickey noted that he was to begin labor contract negotiations with the fire fighters union Tuesday, but said he was not going to talk to the union about any reorganization of the department. He said that was not a negotiable item, saying it was up to the Mayor and the Council.
Hickey said the meeting Tuesday is the kickoff negotiation meeting, when both sides layout what the are expecting. The city will first learn what the firefighters are seeking in a new contract.
Boykin: Fire Fighters Union Asked Them to Kill Study
WPCNR interviewed Common Council President Benjamin Boykin, Jr., a little after 12 noon today, and Mr. Boykin said the decision to “rescind” the study legislation was made at the request of the fire fighters union.
Boykin said, “They have other agendas they want to pursue in new labor contract negotiations, and were not looking for us to do this.”
Boykin said he did not know what the fire department “agendas” were. He also said the police union had not commented to him on the police-fire study. He expected four councilpersons would be at the meeting this evening, providing a quoram.
The meeting was called by Mr. Boykin, WPCNR has subsequently learned slightly early Monday morning. Quoram was not achieved until minutes ahead of the six hours time interval required for a special meeting.
The reported move to kill the study, developed among council members over the past weekend.
The move to drop the study, we have learned, comes on the eve when the study was supposed to begin. A representative of the Center for Government Research was scheduled to fly in to White Plains Tuesday to commence the study, which was to have cost the city $84,000.
Shocked media scribes were mystified since the study was the centerpiece of Common Council President Benjamin Boykin’s President’s Address to the City in February, when he promised to end the controversy over separate police and fire department feasibility once and for all.