Trumbull Hires Its First Labor Relations Director

James Haselkamp, Norwalk's director of Personnel and Labor Relations, will become Trumbull's first Labor Relations Director.

“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,” said First Selectman Tim Herbst.

Haselkamp is scheduled to start Feb. 1.

According to the town, Haselkamp’s appointment in Trumbull caps a nearly 30-year career in labor relations and human resources, spanning four different municipalities.

“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.”

For Norwalk, Haselkamp successfully arbitrated the outsourcing of solid waste services resulting in $12 million in savings to the city over 10 years, while avoiding layoffs.

Herbst said Haselkamp also negotiated changes to the Norwalk pension plan which will reduce the city’s annual contributions to the fund by $8,430,000 over the next ten years.

Herbst has worked on the Trumbull's pension in the last four years. "Having a person with Haselkamp’s experience will further assist the Town’s efforts in fully funding the Town’s pensions, which in turn will help the Town work towards a AAA bond rating," the first selectman said.

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to serve the residents of Trumbull," Haselkamp said in a statement. “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 served in municipal labor relations for Bridgeport, Stamford, Waterbury and finally Norwalk.

Former Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia, who served with Haselkamp for the last seven years and spoke at Herbst's swearing-in ceremony in December 2013, said Trumbull would be "well-served with a person of Jim’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.”

The new position of Director of Labor Relations was part of a reorganization plan approved by the Board of Finance last month, Herbst said.

"Before the reorganization plan was adopted, the Town had not had a qualified human resources professional managing the department," he said. “In speaking to my colleagues in other municipalities, it became clear that Trumbull was behind the times.”

“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."
Vito Moscato January 14, 2014 at 06:51 AM
Did you know that the first act of the new mayor of Norwalk was to fire this guy?
Steven Castro January 14, 2014 at 04:28 PM
Can't have enough Lawyers. The Town now has a qualified Human Resource Professional on February 1. Where is the current HR personel being reorganized to? The current budget has $78,000 for professional services for Labor negotiations. Is Berchem, Moses & Devlin on the way out? The four attorneys cost in excess of $300k, a cost saving to the Town on FICA & medical costs, from four years ago. All these savings, but in reality it's just another lawyer added to the Payroll. Afterall pension savings will only be realized from future hired employees. The negotiated contracts are very unlikely to change current employees from Defined Pension Plans to Defined Compensation Plans. The Police contract avoided this change in the first year. Are there benchmarks establish to measure the savings that the Qualified HR Professional will acheive in the next ten years? These benchmarks need to a great deal more than what Berchem, Moses & Devlin would have acheived or the hiring makes no sense. The whole thing seems like more spin and another lawyer to the gang.


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