Somerville Planning To Lay Off 31 Employees

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The mayor of Somerville is preparing to lay off 31 city employees if the Board of Aldermen affirms an arbitration ruling for city firefighters.

An arbitrator says the firefighters should receive nearly $4.5 million in back pay.

City spokesman Tom Champion says the mayor has decided that layoffs are the only way that Somerville can afford the payment without damaging its bond rating.

"Any deterioration in the city's bond rating would cause us millions of dollars down the road," he said. "That's not gonna be a cost-effective trade off."

If aldermen reject the ruling, the city and the firefighters union would return to negotiations.

This program aired on January 13, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.