This story has been updated to reflect Mr. Mason’s time at Million Air a privately held general aviation company, and to include quotes from Mr. Mason
Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo announced on Thursday the hiring of Michael Mason, of Cos Cob, to serve as the Town’s consultant handling labor contract negotiations.
Mr. Mason was awarded the contract after the Town issued a solicitation of Requests for Proposals for the position which reports to the First Selectman.
The Town received five proposals for the position.
Mr. Mason’s contract with the Town is effective July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2023.
According to the contractual agreement, Mason will be paid $12,500 per month.
A Greenwich native, Mason has been involved in Town government for many years including 12 years as a member of the Representative Town Meeting and 17 years on the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET), of which he currently serves as Chairman.
Mason does not hold a college degree. However, Mr. Camillo said in a release, “I believe Mike’s long-time public service and his involvement with contract negotiations as one of the BET’s representatives assigned to the Board of Education labor contracts negotiating team, as well as his 36 years of experience in the private aviation sector will provide him with the experience needed to settle fair and equitable labor contracts that protect and serve the best interests of both our taxpayers and our employees.”
Mason, a Republican, was first elected to the BET in In 2004. Today, in addition to being its chair, he is the Republican caucus leader.
Mason was previously co-owner of Million Air, a privately held general aviation company until March 2015. He consulted for the company from 2015 until Jan 1, 2020.
In 2019 Mason sought the nomination from his party for First Selectman after six-term First Selectman Republican Peter Tesei announced he would not seek another term. Ultimately, however, Mr. Camillo topped the slate of Republican candidates.
Mason has roots in Greenwich. His father grew up in Chickahominy and his mother grew up in Cos Cob. In 1991 he and his wife Michelle bought a condo in Cos Cob.
During his 2019 campaign event Mr. Mason shared his Greenwich roots. “My parents started off in Adams Gardens after World War II. My father spent a lot of time later on in Nathaniel Witherell – for those of you who wonder why I have a huge support for our Housing Authority and our Nathaniel Witherell.”
He said back in 1991 he joined the RTM in District 8 after receiving his first tax bill. Later, he would be elected chair of that district three times.
Reached by phone Thursday night Mr. Mason said that in the new position, which he anticipates will begin in early July, he will be a contractor rather than an employee of the town.
Asked about possible conflict of interest, he noted that the BET is prohibited from voting on contracts.
“I’m excited about the opportunity,” he said. “I’ve served on the BET and the RTM for 28 years. I’d like to maintain the process for which the town addresses labor contract negotiations and enhance it in some ways. I didn’t expect this opportunity, but I look forward to it.”
Mason noted that in the past, the labor negotiation was full time employment with salary and benefits.
“It was a management confidential job – not union. Al Cava had the job, and when he became eligible to retire, he moved to Stamford to become the HR director for that city.”
Mason said the labor negotiation job had been posted twice. Someone was hired and “cycled through“. Then an RFP was posted more than once.
“There were some responses from some major law firms that were not cost effective for the town. I submitted as a sole proprietor,” he said.
Mason said that on Wednesday night he announced at an RTC meeting that he did not intend to run for re election for BET.
However, he said he was not asked about staying on between now and the end of his term.
“I didn’t see anything that said I could not stay on and serve as a sub contractor for the town, so I plan to finish the term, which goes through November election day.”
Nov 29, 2020