A story that began with a labor dispute in 2018 ended with the dissolution of a union, and the end to a small fire department that had served a village for nearly 80 years in 2019.
The Nasonville Fire District quit operations this year, and while state law outlines an extensive process to officially dissolve the department as an entity, the neighboring district has already absorbed both the work, and much of the tax money, that goes into village fire protection.
Attorneys working on behalf of village taxpayers were in the midst of several battles with former paid staff members when 2019 began. In February, voters tabled a proposed settlement that would have ended litigation, and put at least some firefighters back to work.
Residents officially rejected the deal in March and ordered the department’s operating committee to initiate the long process of dissolving the district.
And in October, voters unanimously approved an agreement negotiated with the International Association of Firefighters by Attorney Timothy Cavazza. It resolved all outstanding grievances with union workers who had been let go in 2018, including complaints pending in Superior Court, and charges of unfair labor practices.
It also included payouts for two firefighters previously injured in the line of duty, but with the requirement that the Nasonville union dissolve permanently.
The Nasonville Fire District’s current budget includes $168,892 in payments to Oakland Mapleville for continued fire and EMS coverage. Oakland Mapleville Fire District Chief Joseph Bertholic has been serving as interim chief, monitoring equipment in the largely vacant former Nasonville headquarters on Victory Highway.
Currently, the two districts are in the process of negotiating a formalized deal for ongoing fire service, and unneeded equipment is being sold off. The next meeting of the district’s operating committee is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 14.
NRI NOW will continue to count down the top stories of 2019, calculated primarily by traffic to the website, through the end of the week.