Town hires Director of Labor

Norwalk’s Director of Personnel and Labor Relations has been hired to fill a new position in Trumbull.

James Haselkamp starts as Trumbull’s first director of labor relations on Feb. 1. First Selectman Timothy Herbst made the announcement Tuesday. The new position was part of a reorganization plan approved by the Board of Finance last month, he said.

“Jim’s breadth of experience as a human resources professional and his proven track record of negotiating agreements that are fair to employees and taxpayers make him uniquely qualified to assume this new assignment,” Herbst said in a release. “Jim has a consistent track record of negotiating employee labor agreements that respect municipal workers while at the same time implementing innovative cost saving measures that have saved taxpayers millions of dollars in each of the municipalities he has served. He will be able to hit the ground running and help the Town of Trumbull immeasurably.”

In his current role as director of personnel and labor relations in the city of Norwalk, Haselkamp successfully arbitrated the outsourcing of solid waste services, resulting in a $12-million savings to the city over a 10-year period, while at the same time avoiding layoffs, according to Herbst. In addition, Haselkamp negotiated changes to the Norwalk pension plan that will reduce Norwalk’s annual contributions to the fund by $8.43 million over the next 10 years. Herbst said having a person with Haselkamp’s experience will further assist the town’s efforts in fully funding the pensions, which in turn will help Trumbull work toward a AAA bond rating.

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to serve the residents of Trumbull,” Haselkamp said. “Trumbull is a great community and I am honored that First Selectman Herbst has given me this opportunity to serve. I look forward to the challenges that the position will bring and working with the employees to better serve the residents of the town.”

Haselkamp, a Milford resident and father of three, began his career as an attorney for the Connecticut Council of Police Unions #15, AFSCME. He later pursued a career in municipal labor relations when he served as the director of personnel and labor relations in the city of Bridgeport, Stamford, Waterbury, and finally Norwalk.

Former Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia, who served with Haselkamp for the last seven years, said the town of Trumbull would be well served with a person of Haselkamp’s experience and acumen.

“Having worked with Jim for seven years, I can state without hesitation that he is a professional and dedicated employee who places the well-being of taxpayers as his highest priority,” Moccia said. “During his tenure in Norwalk, Jim successfully negotiated multiple labor agreements that struck an appropriate balance between concern for our employees and concern for our taxpayers. Jim will serve the town of Trumbull well.”

Before the reorganization plan, including the director position, was adopted, the town had not had a qualified human resources professional managing the department, according to Herbst. At the beginning of his third term, the first selectman indicated that the reorganization and position were critical in meeting the current demands of the town.

“In speaking to my colleagues in other municipalities, it became clear that Trumbull was behind the times,” Herbst said. “Virtually every other municipality in Fairfield County has a qualified professional administering the human resources and labor relations functions of their respective municipalities. So when we sought a candidate to fill this position, we needed to make sure we hit the ground running. Trumbull has found that candidate in Jim Haselkamp.”