Web Extra!

With talks between the village of Brookfield and its firefighters union at a standstill, a firefighter slated to be laid off in January confronted village trustees Monday and implored the board to save his job.

“I’m pleading with the board to do everything in your power to keep my job,” said Nick Tomeczko, who was hired as a Brookfield firefighter in March of 2007.

Tomeczko received a letter from the village manager on Dec. 2, notifying him that he would be laid off effective Jan. 2, 2010. It was his second layoff notice of the year.

Back in May, Tomeczko was among nine full- and part-time village employees laid off in a cost-cutting effort expected to save Brookfield nearly $900,000 in 2009 and 2010. His job was saved in June after the village won concessions from firefighters regarding holiday pay and tuition reimbursement.

Brookfield’s contract with the firefighters union expires on Dec. 31. During the fall, negotiators for the village and firefighters, who are represented by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73, worked out a deal believed to have included a wage freeze for 2010.

The rank and file, however, rejected the offer when it was presented to them earlier this month. Without a contract in place, Tomeczko’s job is again on the chopping block.

“I thought we had [a deal] done,” Village Manager Riccardo Ginex said.

Firefighters and a union official on Monday said they had already made concessions to the village, but that the village wants more than they want to give.

“The village asked us to come up with concessions to save his job, which we came up with, and he still gets a layoff notice,” said Mark Duffek, a veteran Brookfield firefighter. “We agreed to certain concessions, but more things were added. That’s what the union rejected.”

Ginex agreed that the village is seeking additional concessions in a new contract, and that the concessions made over the summer guaranteed Tomeczko’s job only through Jan. 2. An agreement signed June 25 by both Ginex and SEIU negotiator Al Molinaro states those terms.

Ginex added that the earlier concessions and any others asked for in a new contract aren’t related.

“It’s two separate things; a reduction still needs to be made,” Ginex said. “They’re not seeing it that way.”

The layoff notice Tomeczko received Dec. 2 was perfunctory, Ginex said.

“We’re bound by contract to send him a 30-day notice when the contract is about to expire,” said Ginex, who called Tomeczko’s appearance before the board “a dog-and-pony show.”

Ginex also stated that the village did Tomeczko a favor by extending his employment into January, thus extending his health insurance through the month, when his wife is expected to have a baby.

Ginex said that he has tried to reach fire union officials about scheduling another negotiating session prior to the end of the year, but that he has not heard from them, pushing negotiations in to January at the earliest.