Feichthaler offers to act as mediator for city, unions
Former Mayor Eric Feich-thaler has reached out to both the city and union leadership, offering his services as a mediator to help bring some resolution to what has been a very contentious, and public, negotiation process.
Feichthaler sent an email to City Manager Gary King and Local 2424 President Mark Muerth Tuesday making the offer, but so far he has not heard back from either party.
Feichthaler said he would offer his services for free.
“It’s frustrating to see what’s happened,” he said.
City officials did not offer comment on the matter, but Muerth said the firefighter’s union has always been open to mediation.
Muerth said the city “closed the door” on mediation with a formal response via its counsel, John Hamment.
“I’d love to be able to sit down and work this out through mediation, but the city is no interested,” Muerth said.
Feichthaler said he “is not friends” with any of the involved parties and as a certified mediator is sworn to impartiality.
He said the city was in a different situation between 2005-2007, when it had to compete to keep firefighters.
Feichthaler acknowledged the unions would have to recognize the current economic situation but feels the the fire union has done just that.
He thinks both sides would like to know it won’t head to impasse and instead can reach an agreement.
“Everyone would like to have a little more certainty moving forward,” Feichthaler.