AUBURN —  Two councilors tried to keep their colleagues from going behind closed doors to discuss union contracts Tuesday night.

Councilors were scheduled to talk about union deals with the International Association of Firefighters Local 797 and with the Teamsters Local 340 — representing the city’s public works employees — in two executive sessions Tuesday night. The firefighter’s contract officially expired Dec. 31. The Public Works contract expired June 30.

Councilors needed a 5-2 majority to go behind closed doors and discuss negotiations with City Manager Glenn Aho. Their first attempt to discuss the firefighters contract failed 4-2, with Dan Herrick and Mike Farrell voting against and Councilor Eric Samson abstaining.

After a short recess to confer concerning open meeting rules, councilors voted a second time, resulting in another 4-2 failure. This time, Samson voted to go into executive session and Belinda Gerry abstained.

Councilors tabled the firefighters contract and moved on to the Public Works contract. Instead of tackling the executive session issue again, councilors voted 4-3 to let Aho settle the contract.

They came back to the firefighter contract a third time at the end of the meeting, agreeing to go behind closed doors by a 5-2 vote. Herrick and Farrell, both voting against the closed door meeting, stayed in council chambers while their colleagues went into another room with Aho.

They emerged moments later, agreeing to let Aho settle the contract details.

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