Mayor Daryl Finizio said this afternoon that the 's budget includes funds for Alfred Mayo's employment and that the city is working to make reductions in the department without layoffs, but that Mayo would be vulnerable if layoffs have to occur.
Finizio said in a press conference that the funds for Mayo's position had been budgeted and that his position was not one of that are not being funded in fiscal year 2013. He said he considered it fair to pay Mayo back wages, since he would have been hired had recent information been available to the administration, and that Mayo's legal fees are "not significant" since the legal work in the matter was still in its preparatory stage.
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Finizio said the city is currently negotiating with the firefighters' union to meet the reductions approved by the City Council.
"At this point, we are not considering layoffs in that department," he said.
However, Finizio said that if the negotiations are unsuccessful and layoffs are needed, Mayo would be laid off since the union rules stipulate that the most recent hires are terminated first if personnel reductions are necessary.
Finizio said he did not regret his initial decision to uphold Mayo's termination, but made the decision with the intent of holding employees to the same standards. He said the decision was based on reports from Fire Chief Ron Samul as well as the Connecticut Fire Academy. Finizio also said he was disturbed to hear other black recruits say they had encountered problems at the academy and that he considered the results of an "very profound."
"We have to make determinations based upon the information we receive," he said.
Finizio said he has heard informally that Mayo has accepted the offer. Mayo must still go through in-house training and be sworn in.
"He's a good person," Finizio said. "Nothing involved in this process, from my viewpoint, has ever been personal."
Mayor Daryl Finizio has offered to rehire a firefighter recruit whose employment was terminated two days before his graduation from the Connecticut Fire Academy last year. He will hold a press conference on the decision at 12:30 p.m. today.
reports that Finizio has offered Alfred Mayo "unconditional reinstatement," back pay, and attorney's fees following the resolution of a matter involving Mayo's driver's license. Mayo said he plans to accept the offer.
Mayo will become the first black firefighter hired for the since 1978. He was hired by the department to begin training in September, but terminated after Fire Chief Ron Samul said he had received five communications from the academy regarding concerns with Mayo's behavior. Despite not graduating, Mayo passed the tests necessary to be certified as a firefighter.
The issue was taken up by , which said they did not feel the circumstances cited by the academy and fire department warranted termination. An later determined that the academy should have handled any disciplinary issues in-house rather than making repeated notifications to Samul. The investigation concluded that some of the academy's notifications “were inappropriate and contained adverse conclusions concerning Mr. Mayo that were not solidly based in evidence.”
Following the investigation, Finizio said he would make a determination on Mayo's case once he was certain that there would be no problems with Mayo's driver's license, saying possession fo a license is an "essential qualifier for becoming a firefighter." Mayo was cited for a motor vehicle infraction by the Connecticut State Police while driving from the academy in November.