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No Waterford fire-contract progress after town chair leaves meeting with illness

No Waterford fire-contract progress after town chair leaves meeting with illness


WATERFORD — Town officials, in a special closed-session Town Board meeting Monday evening, made no progress toward coming back to the fire-contract bargaining table with the Village of Waterford after Town Chairman Tom Hincz left the meeting early with an undisclosed medical issue.

Present for the closed-session negotiating session were Waterford Fire Department staff, Tichigan Volunteer Fire Co. staff, Village President Don Houston and the Town Board, minus Hincz and Supervisor Nick Draskovich, who was absent.

Houston and Town Supervisor Tim Szeklinski were visibly exasperated after the meeting that the parties were not able to make progress.

Notably absent was Village Administrator Zeke Jackson, who previously offered to recuse himself from meetings in order to get negotiations back open.

The Town Board voted on Aug. 26 to cancel its fire protection contract with the village, which currently has its Fire Department cover about 1,000 homes in the southern part of the town.

The contract runs through the end of this year, and the Village Board last week voted to extend the contract through 2020 to give the town and village more time to negotiate a revised contract.

Hincz will need to schedule another meeting with the village to negotiate, Szeklinski said.

Hincz could not immediately be reached for comment Monday night. Tichigan firefighters took Hincz home after he said he was not feeling well, Szeklinski said. He said he was not sure what Hincz’s medical issue was.

Both municipalities’ leaders were stuck in a communications breakdown until they convened in a joint meeting last week.

Village trustees Troy McReynolds and Andrew Ewert in addition to Town Supervisor Dale Gauerke spoke at that meeting in favor of coming back together for negotiations.

McReynolds said then that he wanted all of the officials to set aside their egos and “start acting like professional elected people and start taking care of our constituents.”

No update on the closed session was given to the public during the regularly scheduled Town Board meeting, which was scheduled for 5:30 p.m., after the special closed-session meeting.


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