Herbst 'very optimistic' about reaching health care settlement

The Town of Trumbull has reached a tentative sewer settlement with the Bridgeport.
The Town of Trumbull has reached a tentative sewer settlement with the Bridgeport.

The agenda writer for the Trumbull Town Council's April 4 meeting jumped the gun last week by putting in a resolution item that asserted the council consider and approve a union contract between the Board of Education's bargaining units and the town — an agreement that would settle the ongoing dispute about switching health care providers to the CT Partnership 2.0 Healthcare Plan.

However, the two sides will continue negotiations this week, which voids Resolution TC26-47 on the current council agenda.

"This resolution was tabled in committee last week as negotiations are ongoing," Town Council member Mary Beth Thornton told The Times Monday.

Despite the presumptive resolution and the TEA's dismissal of it, First Selectman Tim Herbst said he was "very optimistic" about the negotiations coming to an end soon and a resolution being passed in the near future.

"The negotiations are close to being finalized — this is going to happen and, when it does, it'll be a win-win for everybody," he told The Times Monday.

Director of Labor Relations James Haselkamp has played a crucial role in reaching an agreement that would help save taxpayers $3 million, Herbst said.

Alongside Haselkamp and Director of Finance Maria Pires, the first selectman met with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gary Cialfi Friday, April 1, and said that he walked away from the conversation feeling confident that the savings would be actualized in the 2016-2017 budget.

"My goal in this budget has been to bring forward a reduction in the mill rate and reduce taxes for our residents," he said. "And we're closer to that goal than we were weeks ago — we just have to keep chipping."