“New London members are pleased to welcome one of our own as our City’s mayor,” says Local 1522 President Rocco Basilica. “We look forward to working with him to ensure our citizens have adequate fire protection.”
In 2011, the City of New London switched from a city manager-based government to a strong mayoral-based government. As soon as the first mayor under the new system, Daryl Finizio (D), took office, one of his immediate courses of action was to cut 25 fire fighter positions (plus 10 police officer positions), citing a massive budget deficit.
“At the time, we had 67 active members,” says Basilica. “Losing 25 members would have devastated our ability to protect the City. We could not let that happen.”
Passero, a Local 1522 member and 31-year veteran fire fighter, has served on the City Council since 2009 and was, by this time, City Council president. Passero made no secret of his support of his brother and sister fire fighters and encouraged other City Council members to support Local 1522’s proposal to make enough contract concessions to stop the layoffs.
Four years later, when Finizio came up for re-election, Local 1522 members and New London police officers had not forgotten Finizio’s lack of support for public safety. So, when Passero made the move to run against the incumbent mayor in the primary, fire fighters and police were ready to support him.
“With guidance from the IAFF and the UPFFA, our members were out at as many events as possible in the gold and black,” says Basilica. “And our efforts were rewarded with a win in the primary and eventual win in the general election.”
Passero officially took office December 7.