Pension dispute results in $2.6 million owed to firefighters

Posted

Another financial challenge to the tune of at least $2.6 million has found its way to the doorstep of Warwick City Hall, this time related to pension reform within the Warwick Fire Department that, as it turns out, was never actually codified into either of their last two collective bargaining agreements.

Pension reform was thought to have been implemented in 2011 through city ordinance and then enshrined in subsequent collective bargaining agreements between the city and the IAFF – the union representing the Warwick Fire Department. That ordinance was proposed by former Mayor Scott Avedisian, and was unanimously supported by the city council, who passed it into local law.

The ordinance would split union pensions into two systems – Tier 1 and Tier 2 – with Tier 2 pensions requiring an additional five years for firefighters and other municipal workers to earn their pension, and reduce the compensation rate by 3-4 percent of their pay, with the goal of creating a more sustainable system that wouldn’t put the city in financial peril down the road. Tier 2 supposedly applied to all municipal employees hired after the measure was passed.

Negotiations for the 2012-15 collective bargaining agreement with the fire department came and went, and it was assumed the firefighters had been placed in the new pension system. But when newly hired firefighters began to see the affects of the pension reform in 2014, they filed a grievance, stating that the reform was in violation of their contract.

“That was never collectively bargained for,” Fire union president Michael Carreiro said on Tuesday.

A ruling from the American Arbitration Association released on Monday found by a 2-1 decision that they agreed with Carreiro and the fire union, and that the supposed agreement to place new firefighters hired after 2012 into the new pension system was not valid because it was not actually written into the contractual language.

But how could that be the case?

“It means that Scott Avedisian and his administration dropped the ball on what was good, effective pension reform for the city and its taxpayers,” said Mayor Joseph Solomon during a press conference from City Hall on Tuesday. “During the negotiations for the 2012 through 2015 and the 2015 through 2018 contracts, the union and Mayor Avedisian did not include the Tier 2 pension language in the contract.”

More puzzling to city officials is how the language to enact the Tier 2 pension system wound up codified in the contract language for both the police department and municipal workers’ collective bargaining agreements for 2012-15 and 2015-18. Only the fire department contracts were devoid of the provision.

“It could be suspicious, it could be coincidental,” Solomon said. “I'll leave it to you to decide.”

Regardless of whether it was a mistake or a more “mysterious” omission on the part of the Avedisian administration, as Solomon refused to commit to define it either way, it will put the city on the hook for what Solomon reported to be $2.6 million in pension money that is now owed to make 45 firefighters, who have come onto the department since the 2012 agreement was ratified, whole.

It is a gaffe that Solomon said the Avedisian administration had multiple chances to remedy or at least diagnose, but failed to do so. Solomon – agreeing with the city’s partial arbitrator, attorney Vincent Ragosta, who dissented the decision – said that the city should have taken the fire department to interest arbitration regarding the ordinance when they refused to sign onto it. Instead, as Ragosta put it in his dissent, the dispute “lay in the proverbial weeds” until the department eventually filed the grievance and led to today’s complicated situation.

“Given the needs for pension reform, the Avedisian administration would have had a compelling case to make in interest arbitration. They did not. In addition to the option of interest arbitration, the city had two opportunities to insist that the Tier 2 pension language be included in fire contracts. They did not,” Solomon said.

“This would have ensured that this critical pension reform was in place to save our taxpayers money and make our pension systems themselves more sustainable,” Solomon continued. “Instead, that was left on the table. While pension reform made it to the one-yard line, the prior administration fumbled the ball. They did a disservice to the city, and its taxpayers by not defending this pension reform.”

It is not immediately apparent the process by which the city will have to pay back that money. It is even less apparent how the city will feasibly find another $2.6 million in its budget when it already faces a structural deficit that could amount to $18 million, not to mention a school department that is projecting another $12 million in increased expenses next year and has yet to come to terms with an agreement with the city to close its own approximately $4 million budgetary gap for the fiscal year that ends this June.

Won’t seek supplemental tax

Solomon said that he had saved about $750,000 by enacting broad cuts across all departments, and that the city would be utilizing zero-based budgeting this spring to squeeze savings wherever possible. However, he once again firmly denied he would seek a supplemental tax bill or to raise the tax levy above the statutory 4 percent cap.

The fire department is still without a successor agreement to their contract that ran out last July. Solomon said that he would be abiding by the 2011 ordinance that separated the pension systems for negotiations to come in the future. However, as the fire department has demonstrated, this does not mean that pension reform will be a simple act to accomplish.

“We have difficult times ahead,” Solomon said. “As new contracts come forward, we will need to look at additional pension reform measures. The city council and myself, together with all our unions, will need to tighten our belts going forward to enact meaningful changes to our pension system that will act as the foundation for a more fiscally responsible future.”

Solomon said at the press conference that he had discussed the possibility of appealing the arbitration board’s decision, but was not ready to commit to saying he would or would not be doing so at this time.

City Council President Steve Merolla prefaced the news that broke on Tuesday morning shortly after learning about it prior to Monday night’s City Council meeting. He spoke at length about the development at the onset of the general meeting about the frustrations caused by the development. He pointed blame towards former city solicitor Peter Ruggiero – who was legal counsel for the city at the time of both fire union contract negotiations.

“People need to understand that when bills come due, that they weren't created in this case with this administration or this council,” he said. These were mistakes made six years ago, and representations that were made confidently by city solicitors that the meaning of language and the intent of the language that they had negotiated meant ‘X’ – and it didn’t.”

Merolla, who voted against both fire union collective bargaining agreements in 2012 and 2015, said that the council must rely on testimony from lawyers, like Ruggiero, who represent the city’s interest, especially when it pertains to complex issues like collective bargaining agreements and pensions.

“Most of the council members are lay people, not attorneys,” he said during a call on Tuesday. “If someone trained in labor law says to me, ‘This provision means this, and they’re going into the Tier 2,’ then you say fine.”

Fraud perpetrated?

Merolla went so far as to levy accusations of criminal wrongdoing regarding the situation.

“I’d like to see an appeal on this,” he said. “To me, a fraud was perpetrated. You can’t come before the council and say ‘This is what this means,’ when it doesn’t.”

Solomon, who put forward legislation which passed in 2006 to ensure that the city council would be given authority to ratify contracts negotiated by the mayor, echoed the disappointment that the city council – which he was a part of during both of the last fire contract negotiations – was not given the proper information with which to make their decision.

“We assumed, shame on us, that as it was contained in the police contract and as it was contained in the municipal contract, that it was also contained in the fire contract,” he said. “Should we have doubted that the law was not going to be followed? I think not. Not when we're all playing on a level playing field. I think that the situation is this one was mysteriously left out, or accidentally left out. How does it get included with two bargaining groups and not the third bargaining group? I'll leave it at that.”

Carreiro said the decision by the Arbitration Association was a vindication of their position.

“We're pleased by the ruling,” he said. “We've always been trying to work on resolving this while not burdening the city's taxpayers. We're honored and hopefully they're putting in the change according to the CBA. Our primary concern is to protect and serve the citizens of Warwick to the best of our ability.”

But Ragosta argued that the union’s decision to grieve the pension reform in order to procure their more lucrative benefits for at least the time being was going to produce a significant financial burden that not only affected taxpayers as a whole, but the firefighters themselves.

“Ironically, the financial fallout of the panel's decision will not help the Union, as the City's ability to pay for salaries, health care and various other direct and indirect components of firefighters' total compensation will be substantially impaired by the estimated $2.4 million impact of the cease-and-desist and make-whole awards,” Ragosta wrote.

“The panel's arbitral ruination of the pension fund amendments simply fuels the avarice of the Union and unwinds the City's efforts to maintain an affordable and sustainable pension for its firefighters,” he continues. “And so, to the Union it must be said, be careful what you wish for.”

Ruggiero and former Fire Department Chief Ed Armstrong did not return calls for comment on this article. Avedisian declined to comment.

Comments

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Ben Dover

When in doubt, drag out the Sgt. Schultz defense and go from the smartest person in the room to "I see nothing, I know nothing." Can this ruling be appealed to the RI Supreme court, or will it? The payroll blew up and NOBODY got curious as to why, especially after new folks were hired? Agreed to and codified into law by police and municipal but simply agreed to and never codified by the 3rd? Nobody asked any hard questions, everybody just "assumed"? This done by the department of Administration, financial directors, council members, lawyers, etc. and all were Joe the Dope, that is what you want taxpayers to believe? This is NONSENSE! I think I know why the Feds. are here...All of this, these "explanations" are from the land of the absurd. All of this falls within the very wide reach of Title XVIII...This malarkey won't even pass the sniff test...Hey Joe, after all of this, why have you not called the State police, too close to home?

Thursday, March 21
davebarry

Both Merolla and Solomen are lawyers. They never read the firefighters contract? 'Shame on us" is right Mr. Merolla. You wouldn't get any legal work from me. You sir don't know the meaning of 'due diligence'.

As for Mayor Solomon, don't just take it out on taxpayers. Put in a hiring freeze. Look at reducing the over populated fire department. Wage freezes as well.

Thursday, March 21
PaulHuff

Do Solomon and Merolla really expect us to believe that when they "Ratify" contracts that they don't have at least a copy of the contract changes if not the entire document?

These 2 finger pointers are just as much to blame as the former mayor and his staff. They should stop with the theatrics, nobody is buying it.

How many firemen need to be laid off to recoup the savings?

Thursday, March 21
Warwickcitizen

This laughable ,How can a guy that spent almost 2 decades on the council serving as its president claim he knew nothing about this? Same for that fraud Merrolla.

Warwick was run by democratic council they had all the power, now they put the blame on the former Mayor he left almost a year ago. Time to take some responsibility Mr Mayor!!!!!!

Thursday, March 21
Hillsgrove Hal

I'm in total agreement with the comments already made here.

Mayor Solomon and Council President Merolla seem to be saying that, either a.) they didn't do their jobs on the city council and properly review the contracts put in front of them, or b.) were fooled by Mayor Avedisian into signing the contracts.

Neither of these "defenses" actually excuses their behavior -- then or now.

As PaulHuff says, nobody's buying it. I'd also add, we're all going to pay for it.

Thursday, March 21
Paul Wall

It’s actually amazing that Solomon and Merolla can pretend this is all news to them. By their own admission this legal drama has been dragging on for years. They were fully aware that the firefighters, from day one, took the stance that you can not superceed a CBA with city ordinances and as such would grieve and litigate the city’s attempt at doing so. I can’t fathom how any city council doing a single shred of their due diligence would not have been fully aware that this provision was not included in the Fire contract. They were warned, aware and approved the contract. There was nothing suspicious done by the Union here. The mayor AND city council elected to approve the Fire contract while being fully aware that the pension reform ordinance was going to be challenged legally. It is more than a little ridiculous how Merolla and Solomon want to take no responsibility and it’s amazing that they can sleep at night with all of their skewed and slanted rhetoric.

Thursday, March 21
Jimmy

100% Correct Paul Wall

Thursday, March 21
richard corrente

Lots of blame. Lots of shame.

Shame on everybody including the taxpayers that didn't play ANY role in the money we were spending. We should ALL attend more City Council meetings. That "blame" is on us.

Shame ESPECIALLY on Avedisian and his administration for creating this 18-year pile of miscommunication..

But after all that "shame" and "blame", why don't we give CREDIT to Solomon and HIS administration for CORRECTING this "shame" caused by The Avedisian Administration. He and Warwick Firefighters Union President Mike Carreiro dedicated hundreds of hours of their life making the Firefighters Contract BETTER! Let me repeat that. Going forward it is BETTER!

Many thanks to them, Attorney Vincent Ragosta, and everyone who worked their heads off to improve the contracts going forward. The past can't be changed, but they made the future BETTER!

Bottom line;

1. Avedisians' administration caused this "shame".

2. Solomons' administration fixed it.

Happy Spring everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Thursday, March 21
wwkvoter

Unlike the delusional panderer and 2 time election loser corrente, I dont hold city officials in office during this fiasco as blameless. According to the facts as reported in these news reports, they created the problem by not doing their jobs.

Corrente, who is NOT nor ever will be, any kind of a mayor, is actually blameless - because the voters never let him anywhere near city hall!

-Henry

Thursday, March 21
Foundation

Mayor Solomon, formerly Council President Solomon has been an attorney for decades. Council President Merolla, while inept as an attorney has in fact been liscensed as one for some time. It is ridiculous to think that these two men are pleading ignorance. They were elected to do a job, and failed the taxpayers miserably. They didn’t read proposals or fact check prior to casting votes. They neglected to utilize their legal experience and expertise for the benefit of the taxpayers. Now, these two man who have jockeyed for positions of political power are simply pointing fingers, pleading ignorance, and letting everything ride on Avedisian. There is enough blame to be distributed to all of the parties involved.

Merolla got lucky being born into a family with a very accomplished father. The apple fell extremely far from the tree.

Solomon is a used car salesman who is more decisive about saving his dealer plates than settling city business.

These two politicians in particular are disgraces to their constituency with their lack of representation and sense of responsibility. These men need to be unseated with sensible, decisive, responsible, and non egotistical candidates. Lets make a change.

Thursday, March 21
Thecaptain

Corrente,

You Buffoon, can you state anything in the contract (which by the way does not exist) where the union president has made it better? Have you seen any of the drafts? Of course not because they do no exist. Again, you make insane comments with no factual evidence. And Im sure you understand that the council has no part in the CBA, only to approve the changes. Do you understand the process?? Probably not.

However, it seems as if the FF's and you, and others have forgotten the process. The fiscal note and the changes to the existing contract are presented to the council along with a falsified fiscal note courtesy of Ernie Zymslinski. The entire language of the contract is NOT presented. In 2012, it was given to the council 2 days prior to ratification. In 2015 it was not given to the council until 1 week after the budget hearings.

Not withstanding the fact that after ratification the contract goes back to the department to implement the language changes for the historical official document, it then is reviewed by Avedisian and Ruggerio for accuracy prior to them signing the contract. In 2012, it took over 1 year for the fire dept, to return the contract to the administration for final review. Are you aware that the official copy of the 2012 contract has no date of the signing? f course you are not as you dont have a copy of it do you? The same cast of characters that were responsible for the review and sign off are the same cast of characters that devised the unused sick pay scheme, the unused vacation scheme, the medical exam scheme, and the "banked holiday scheme. All of which were never presented in contract language and changed after the fact.

So if there is anyone out there that believes this was not a coordinated effort to defraud the taxpayers, you are lacking brain capacity. The math and the documents speak for themselves. Its time to know the process before you comment.

Thursday, March 21
Samuel

Hey look, the piece of crap, laughing stock of the city, the animal abuser himself is back, giving "facts" that everyone is supposed to believe. Have you no pride whatsoever??

Thursday, March 21
Jimmy

Captains back... what are you this week? A killer of animals or a Liar? Or Both... lol...

Thursday, March 21
Taco Tuesday

Online Dating Profile.

Loves small animals. Killing them.

Has a big heart. Trap that is.

PETA man of the year.

Climate change activist. Carbon monoxide technician.

Can’t keep a dive shop a float in a city with 40 miles of shoreline.

Improperly disposed of chemicals causing explosions in his septic system.

In lieu of long walks on the beach, he prefers nice drives behind city vehicles.

Terrible photographer/videographer. Especially at wakes.

Very safe driver. Never texts and drives. Just drives and films.

Thursday, March 21
Warwickbeautiful

Mr. Cote-Unfortunately with a long criminal record such as yours, including arrests for making threatening phone calls to a city employee, felony dumping of gasoline into a public sewer system, and being under investigation for another felony charge of illegally trapping and brutally killing defenseless animals, it is very difficult for anyone to take your claims seriously. You harass and chastise Mr. Corrente every chance you get, but at least he does not have the extensive criminal record that you wear as a badge of shame. Additionally, Mr. Corrente never trespassed at a funeral home where he was not invited, and screamed at and harassed a grieving family. And Mr. Corrente never conspired with his girlfriend to put the pictures of the funeral all over the internet before the deceased gentleman had even been buried. With your extensive criminal record, a volatile temper, and a deep seated hatred of city workers, it should come as no surprise that 99.99 of city residents have no interest in the useless drivel that you spew.

Thursday, March 21
wwkvoter

I've never met Cote, and not even sure I like how he communicates.

But I've never seen any of that list against cote proven. Not one thing. Much of it was DISPROVED. However, pretty much everything he has alleged about city finances etc, has in fact turned out true - which is why we have a Federal investigation in Warwick right now.

Watchdogs always seem to attract these types of false allegations. Why is that? We should strive to be truthful.

Friday, March 22
ThePilot

wwkvoter Get your facts straight nothing Cote has alleged has been proven true and there is no federal investigation of the fire department ongoing. The facts are that Cote did indeed pour gasoline down drains, has made threatening phone calls, harassed a grieving family at a funeral and now at a city council meeting stated that he trapped and killed animals. He now tries to back out of the animal allegations by saying he never killed any animals so go to the video and decide which it is...a liar or killer. The medical scam was never such and the administration is now trying to get physicals for the HAZMAT team before they lose EMA money. The sick payouts will be settled very soon when the audit comes out and the banked holiday is no scheme as the firefighters gave up paid holidays when the city asked for financial relief.

It case you missed it COTE=Thecaptain=LIAR

Friday, March 22
Jimmy

Wwkvoter, please stop with the investigation stuff. Merolla and Solomon are fully making that claim up because they are now trapped in a corner. They are scared to release the audit that YKSM had done. YKSM also has ties to Merolla, conflict. WHERE IS THE AUDIT? If the audit proved Rob Cotes claims that the FFs owed millions wouldn’t now be the time to release it. You are all being lied to be idiotic politicians.

Cote is a liar.

Friday, March 22
Thecaptain

This is all priceless.

Friday, March 22
Thecaptain

By the way, big cookout at my house tomorrow for Sammy, Jimmy, Taco, Kelly-Cole , Corennte, and the rest of the trash.

The menu is barbecued ground hog thighs, and skunk balls. I'm sure the menu will be a step up from the affordability of what you commonly consume !!

Friday, March 22
TCP

Glad you think that killing hundreds of animals is a joke. You are very disturbed and you should seek professional help.

Friday, March 22
wwkvoter

Where is that audit we taxpayers paid for? Someone should APRA request that, isnt it public information? Maybe it will clear some of this up.

Someday this will all be resolved and lets hope Warwick is better for it when that day comes.

Friday, March 22
Jimmy

Wwkvoter,

Where is the Audit? Ask Council Pres, he is hiding it on purpose. Transparency my ass....

Friday, March 22
Samuel

It's like Cote is the kid in the dunce cap saying stupid things to get attention. But the other kids are laughing at him not with him. But he doesn't care what kind of attention he gets, as long as it's attention.

Friday, March 22
Warwickbeautiful

With Mr. Cote's extensive criminal record, it is almost beyond belief that he would make such a tasteless comment regarding having a barbecue at his home with animals he is accused of brutally and painfully murdering on the menu. Apparently, his previous arrest by DEM for almost blowing up an entire neighborhood did not have any effect on his continued criminal behavior. Perhaps when the DEM criminal investigators watch the tape of Mr. Cote at the city council meeting bragging about trapping and murdering hundreds of animals, they will pay a visit to his home, and he will once again be in the familiar position of having his arms behind his back with handcuffs on his wrists. You would think that after all of his previous arrests and interactions with law enforcement, Mr. Cote would try and keep a low profile and stay out of trouble, but as they say, "a leopard never changes it's spots". Please Mr. Cote-get the professional psychiatric help you so desperately need.

Friday, March 22
chrisprata@live.com

Wbeautiful, you're making me wonder about Cody, because even though most of what he has said has turned out to be true, I had no idea he had an extensive criminal record. I did a Google Search and I could not find any convictions for anyting, is there way you could please point us to that direction?

The one thing I did turn up with that the gasoline issue was a septic system not a sewer system and there was actually no gasoline in the system when it was tested by an environmental engineering company and all charges were dropped as a result.

Do you dispute this?

Friday, March 22
ChrisP

I probably will put this into a letter to the editor, that we are running out of time. We have a new mayor and he seems to be taking these issues very seriously. It looks like this should be sorted fairly soon. At least I hope so. I've been patiently waiting for this to straighten out for a couple of years. A lot of accusations being thrown around. Everyone needs to stop the accusations and find the truth. It might not be gargantuan crimes but they were certainly things that could have been done better, right? Corrente has said that. We should all be able to see that by now. Time to fix!!! Cote is angry with the firefighters the firefighters are angry with him. And we're all sitting out here wondering how well our city is going to get run.

Friday, March 22
Jimmy

Chris,

We are not angry with Cote. We are amused by his psychotic ways. Filming us at stores, driving through headquarters yelling “pancake breakfast” or “taco Tuesday” while we are at training. And honestly what has he proven? He’s given a lot of facts and figures that he claims are substantial. Not one person has backed that up. Ken Block is another story he has a computer program agenda. So I ask again what Jess he proven correct. The city’s audit firm from what I hear does not agree with his findings.

I’m angry he killed squirrels and skunks just to eat their balls at a cookout. But I’m sure he’s not crazy.

Friday, March 22
Warwickcitizen

Good to see the animal killer is back, or has he been hiding in the funeral home parking lot harassing families of deceased.

What a complete loser you are Captain

Saturday, March 23
Happy

Very challenging issue here. I say that because the "slippery hands" are at work again, just passing the buck.

Mr. Merolla stated, “Most of the council members are lay people, not attorneys,” and “If someone trained in labor law says to me, ‘This provision means this, and they’re going into the Tier 2,’ then you say fine.”

Almost all the language in labor contracts are "rubber stamped" meaning those clauses are just rolled over time and time again.

So, my question for Mr. Merolla and even Mr. Solomon would be when a new contract is written and changes are made why would one have to be a lawyer just to ensure the changes are included? Why would the City Counsel not meet and review this before it is signed?

To me this just makes a strong case that the President of the counsel, either the last one or in 2011 did not have the voters in mind or the best interest of the city, "It's the other guys job".

WOW, not a good way to run a city!

Saturday, March 23
Kelli Cole

Mr. Cote aka thecaptian.. it was brought to my attention that you felt the need to include my name in your comments on this thread regarding your "cookout". Im not sure why you just cant seem to leave my family alone after disrupting my fathers funeral service. I have never done anything to you, nor has anyone in my family. Keep my families name out of it. We want nothing to do with you, your family or your disgusting antics.

Monday, March 25
BEN DOVER

This is quite something...I tried to look up case history, judge, docket number, etc. regarding gasoline in sewer system concerning Mr. Cote...I could find none...Someone provide the docket number, if this was indeed adjudicated...

I have no knowledge of supermarket taping or funeral home appearance, therefore I shall not judge...

What I do know what happens in cases similar to this is when you can't defeat the message or don't like the message, attack the messenger...Cote, Cushman and Block would appear to have done their homework. Many of the documents are in fact, city documents. They are, in fact, the messengers. What I don't understand is, why is Cote lying? Why would a private citizen go to the trouble and cost and time and effort to assemble all of this information to provide a false narrative? Is he a former fireman or city employee? Was he denied a city pension or disability pension? Was someone in his family treated unfairly by the city? What is the motive and why go through all of this to foist a lie?

Politicians lie, a lot, an actuary will lie, or shade the truth, accounting firms, especially the big ones, lie...they want to keep contracts...department heads lie, they want to keep their jobs, Attorney Generals have been known to lie....So why is COTE LYING?

From what I have seen...He's not lying...Not about the issues he has documented along with Block and Cushman...and if any of the federal team that is "rumored" to be here is like the Operation Plunderdome team that took down Cianci...you better be nervous...They are kinda like a great white shark...You know they are there, they exist, you just don't know how hungry they are or when they might strike..stay tuned, try and keep an open mind...You don't have to be a Wharton school graduate to understand this city is in serious financial trouble and it didn't happen in a vacuum.

Monday, March 25
Witness

Ben Dover-

Cote is mad because years ago he was not awarded a bid to train a team of fire department divers. Then he was investigated by DEM for improper disposal of hazardous waste. That infuriated him further. He had those records expunged as its been several years. Mr, Cote is upset that he has not been able to BULLY the city counsel with his vile language and personal attacks for many years. Cote himself told city counsel he personally euthanized hundreds of animals in his own yard, not sure what further proof you need.

Regarding the funeral, that was true. He was there. He already admitted he was there. he sent the pictures over to Stacia Huyler to post on Warwick watch before the funeral was even over. What motive does a grieving family have to make that up? Considering he admitted it, its a mute point.

The fact that some politicians lie and the fact that Mr Cote may have been right about something at some point does not excuse his behavior, In this very thread he joked about eating the balls of the animals he killed. He also, once again, attacked the family of the man who passed away- a family who had absolutely nothing to do with him prior to this interaction. Being a city "watch dog" does not give him the license to treat people this way without repercussion. Mr. Cote does not make up his own rules. He is the first one to attack someone but when called upon to take accountability for his actions he hides behind his daughters.

He is a terrible human being and there is no excuse for what he has done. None.

Please see the link below for the press release regarding Mr Cotes now expunged arrest:

http://www.dem.ri.gov/news/1998/pr/0605981.htm

Here is a direct quote to that article:

Subsequent lab tests indicated that there was at least 20 and perhaps as much as 30 gallons of gasoline in the septic system, enough to pose a significant danger of a major explosion. Leo noted that if the fumes had backed up overnight in the pipes and vents associated with the septic system, the result could have been disastrous.

Monday, March 25
ChrisP

I stand corrected. Also, Ben's comments hold some truth as well. This is very much a two side situation. I just hope Warwick can get past this. But, I have my doubts right now.

Monday, March 25
Warwickbeautiful

Chris P-Here's another example of Mr. Cote's violent criminal behavior:

Cote charged with harassing phone calls, claims he’s the victim

Posted Thursday, July 5, 2012 1:00 pm

Jessica Botelho

Warwick Police have charged Rob Cote, leader of last summer’s Car Tax Revolt, for making harassing phone calls on the basis of a complaint by Terry DiPetrillo, an employee of the Department of Public Works.

But Cote, who was notified Tuesday morning by police of the complaint and appeared at the station later in the day, says he’s the one being harassed.

In an email exchange, he says he feels the situation “is politically motivated against me for leading the charge in the Car Tax Revolt and for helping Channel 12 News uncover the gross mismanagement of the Warwick DPW and the attempt to cover up the theft by DPW workers at the city yard, and for being vocal in my community.”

Cote continued, “I have made numerous complaints to the Warwick Police about being harassed by city workers, including Mr. DiPetrillo, at council meetings and in public, and I have written letters to the mayor and his administration about this, all of which have gone unanswered with no investigations. This shows a pattern of behavior by the DPW and the administration for speaking out against what is obviously wrong in this city, in yet another attempt to sequester an opposing political dialogue.”

Cote also showed a Warwick Beacon reporter emails confirming proof of at least six complaints.

He emailed the reporter a post on craigslist.org that was sent to him by a member of the Car Tax Revolt. The post was dated May 13 of this year and reads, “your [sic] crossing a bridge into dangerous territory. I understand your [sic] upset with the way city employee's [sic] conduct their daily work (or lack of it in some isolated cases) but what your [sic] doing now is becoming VERY personal to many. I'm not threatening you in any way just trying to help. When you cause a man to lose his job You give that man nothing else to lose. Sometimes you have to throw in the towel before the war gets ugly, no harm no foul. What are you really going to gain? You've put yourself in a position where the police really aren't even going to rush to your aid...Think about it.”

In a phone interview Tuesday, Captain Robert Nelson said DiPetrillo filed the complaint as a result of an investigation involving harassing phone calls allegedly made by Cote.

According to Cote, he attempted to contact DiPetrillo numerous times after an incident that occurred June 28. At first, Cote said DiPetrillo’s phone was busy, but he ended up speaking to DiPetrillo twice for a timeframe of less than two minutes.

They then had a “heated” verbal argument immediately after the incident.

Cote, along with his friend from Massachusetts, Phil Cottone, had just returned from a fishing trip at Point Judith and were traveling east on West Shore Road in Cote’s truck, his boat in tow, June 28.

At first, said Cote, he didn’t see or hear DiPetrillo, who had pulled up to the right side of Cote’s vehicle.

Cottone then got Cote’s attention, as Cottone said Dipetrillo was yelling profanities and pointing at Cote while making obscene gestures. Cote said he was taken by surprise because he said he has been friends with DiPetrillo for more than 20 years and called him as a means to find out why DiPetrillo was behaving in such a manner.

“There was a large pickup truck that pulled up to the right side of us and a guy with a shaved head looked over at Rob and flipped him off,” said Cottone, who has known Cote for nearly a decade. “There was an exchange back and forth and Rob asked him to pull over a number of times so they could talk.”

After that, Cottone said, he and Cote went to Cote’s home and had dinner. A day or two later, Cottone received a call from the WPD.

“I told them the other individual initiated the inappropriate gesture,” Cottone said. “I’ve known Rob long enough to know that if something is wrong, he wants it fixed. Rob is uncovering some stuff and he’s speaking out against people that aren’t working. It’s about time someone stands up.”

Yet, Nelson said DiPetrillo did not mention anything about the alleged exchange on Post Road. Rather, DiPetrillo said Cote made a series of phone calls to his city cell phone in consecutive order and left vulgar messages within a 30-minute time frame.

“He did not explain to the police officer what happened in the previous driving incident,” said Nelson of DiPetrillo. “He said, ‘This person will not stop calling and he has left several messages.’ At such time when the police officer did hear the messages, it was enough to be considered harassing phone calls. The obscenities are illegal.”

DiPetrillo was contacted for comment but did not reply in time for press.

Cote said he would contest the charge in court.

Monday, March 25
Phil H.

I have more respect for my dogs excrement. Than I do for any of Rob Cote’s fairytales.

Monday, March 25
Donttrustthemeat

If anyone’s out and looking for a cookout to crash this upcoming spring/summer, please avoid Janet Court at all costs. You won’t know where that meat is coming from.

Monday, March 25
Patient Man

I've been traveling a lot lately & haven't really looked at my neighborhood lately. This morning I was driving with my wife & I commented "wow 3 For Sale signs on our street. I've never seen that many on our street." Then I saw a 4th For Sale sign. I think I live in a pretty desirable working class neighborhood. People are taking notice of the cities fiscal situation & are getting out. All who love living here should be very afraid.

My advice to city leadership is to depend on revenue growth from new business activity & increased property tax revenue from higher valuations, not increased tax rates. This will give existing & potential residents confidence that the city is done digging the hole. If depending on organic revenue growth doesn't generate enough free cash flow to pay the cities bills, Warwick can go into bankruptcy sooner. The city can reorganize it's debt.

The other answer is max tax increases for the foreseeable future & bankruptcy will remain an ax over the cities head for decades. Anybody else notice Moody's downgrade of the city to negative?

Tuesday, March 26
Jimmy

It’s sad all of you that wish bankruptcy on this city just to get out of paying obligations. Try it personally first and see how it goes. It’s not pretty. This city is far from bankruptcy .

Tuesday, March 26
Patient Man

People can & do get out of paying the cities obligations by moving. Why would anybody try personal bankruptcy? It is horrible to go through. Individuals can't raise taxes so there isn't an artificial money tree to harvest. Individuals are lucky that they are far more constrained in how deep a whole they can dig themselves into before becoming insolvent.

The city needs to act in the best interest of the city as a whole. Not continue putting special interests at the head of the line to the detriment of the rest of us. I would hate to see the city go into bankruptcy, but I would rather the city goes into bankruptcy at $20.80 per $1,000 instead of $30 per $1,000. Taxes will be going up after receivership either way. The lower the base the better for the city to have a V shaped rebound. Plus, the taxpayers need a break in the pace of tax increases. Try thinking about the whole & not just the few. Creditors should have taken into consideration the cities ability to pay it's obligations before signing contracts with them.

The most horrible thing is Bond holders get paid first in Rhode Island. All other creditors get behind them in getting paid.

Tuesday, March 26
CRIMINAL RICHARD COLE

Here is my criminal record of my felony convictions as indicated by official state records. I also apologize for my probation violations of my violent behavior.

Offense Statute Deg Date

Jurisdiction: Warwick Police Department

1.

SIMPLE ASSAULT/BATTERY

11-5-3(a)

M

08/19/1994

Offense Reporting Agency:

Warwick Police Department

99 Veterans Memorial Drive

Warwick, RI 02886

Filed As: FEL ASSLT/DANGEROUS WEAPON/SUB

Deg

F

Date

8/31/1994

Arrest:

08/19/1994

2.

MALICIOUS DESTRUCTION PROPERTY

CONV

M

08/19/1994

Offense Reporting Agency:

Warwick Police Department

99 Veterans Memorial Drive

Warwick, RI 02886

Arrest:

08/19/1994

Related Cases

K219940589A (Related Case Number)

Statistical Closures

11/14/1994 Case Disposed

Party Information

Plaintiff

State of Rhode Island

Defendant

COLE, RICHARD S

DOB: 09/22/1950

SID: RI00066747

Events and Orders of the Court

DISPOSITIONS

11/14/1994

Disposition (Judicial Officer: Darigan (Retired), Associate Justice Francis)

1. SIMPLE ASSAULT/BATTERY

Nolo Contendere Plea To Amended Charge

11/14/1994

Disposition (Judicial Officer: Darigan (Retired), Associate Justice Francis)

2. MALICIOUS DESTRUCTION PROPERTY

Plea of Nolo Contendere

11/14/1994

Sentence (Judicial Officer: Darigan (Retired), Associate Justice Francis)

2. MALICIOUS DESTRUCTION PROPERTY

Criminal Sentence

Condition - Adult:

Suspended, Judge: JUDGE DARRIGAN , 1Y 11/14/1994, Active 11/14/1994

Condition - Adult:

Probation, Judge: JUDGE DARRIGAN CONCURR W/EACH COUNT, 1Y 11/14/1994, Active 11/14/1994

EVENTS

08/31/1994

Case Initiation

10/12/1994

Information Filed

10/14/1994

Event Action

10/14/1994

Defendant Arraigned and Pleads Not Guilty

10/14/1994

Type of Bail Set

10/19/1994

Motion to Dismiss

10/20/1994

Justice Assistance Finding Report

10/27/1994

Event Action

10/27/1994

Event Reason

10/27/1994

Event Reason

11/14/1994

Event Action

11/14/1994

Case Disposed

11/14/1994

By Consent, Charge is Amended

11/14/1994

Defendant Retracts Not Guilty Plea

11/14/1994

Defendant Re-Arraigned

11/14/1994

Pre-Sentence Report Waived

11/14/1994

Disposition Prosecutor

11/14/1994

Disposition Defense Attorney

11/14/1994

Certificate of Judge

11/14/1994

Judgment of Conviction Entered

11/14/1994

Payment Receipt Number

01/12/1995

Event Action

01/12/1995

Event Reason

HEARINGS

10/14/1994

Arraignment (2:06 AM) (Judicial Officer: Darigan (Retired), Associate Justice Francis)

Occurred

10/27/1994

Hearing on Motion to Dismiss (2:24 AM) (Judicial Officer: Fortunato (Retired), Associate Justice Stephen)

Occurred

11/14/1994

Pre Trial Conference (4:06 AM) (Judicial Officer: Darigan (Retired), Associate Justice Francis)

Occurred

01/12/1995

Violation Hearing (6:18 AM) (Judicial Officer: Darigan (Retired), Associate Justice Francis)

Tuesday, March 26
Samuel

Wow Stacia you have sunk to a new low, attacking a dead man. Yes I and everyone knows that you posted that. You think you're smart but you are one of the stupidest people in Warwick. I don't know what happened in your life to make you such a mean-spirited and loathsome individual. Maybe your failed relationships, your inability to succeed at anything in life or maybe not even being able to support yourself and having to live off of a man.

Tuesday, March 26
wwkvoter

Patientman, your posts are always insightful and informative, thanks. I have mentioned that CF taxes actually went UP 19% after bankruptcy (and probably more since then), but I cannot understand why, since a lot of pensions were simply eliminated or reduced, and other costs cut.

Correct that Warwick is a lot more likely to see 30 tax rate (I'd be long gone by then, and I wouldnt look back, see ya.) than bankruptcy.

As to posting criminal history of Mr Cole, not cool.

Tuesday, March 26
ErinBrockovich

Whomever created an account and listed the arrest record of a gentleman who is no longer with us has stooped to a new level of low and I hope you will be judged accordingly. That is the most deplorable thing I have seen. I can guarantee if that were my father I would find you. Best wishes to you and best of luck in how this plays out for you.

Tuesday, March 26
Jimmy

That post about Richard Cole is the lowest form of douchebag out there. It’s either A. Rob Cote or B. Stacia (Fill in the blank last name, she gets a new one each week). No doubt in my mind.

Tuesday, March 26
Samuel

At least Mr Cole's funeral was attended by thousands of friends. The Warwick Watch group will be able to hold there funeral services in a phone booth. Truly disturbed and pathetic D bags

Tuesday, March 26
Kelli Cole

Wow! So please tell me what my fathers arrest record from 1994 has to do with anything on this thread! I'm sure that was either Rob or Stacia but why hide who you are and use a fake name?! if you have something you wanna say than say it to me without hiding your true identity... it's funny how you sit here and call people " trash" but really you are the trash trying to disgrace my fathers name! My father was an amazing man and anyone that knew him knows that!

Tuesday, March 26
Patient Man

Who is Richard Cole? We need to stay focused on the fiscal health of the city. I'm not concerned with him or Rob Cote. Let's forget about running the living & the dead through the grinder. Way too many posts by & about Richard Corrente. Too many posts about Richard Cole & Rob Cote. Let's stick to the subject. Warwick's borrowing costs just went up. That's what matters.

Tuesday, March 26
Cote is a scumbag

What a scumbag Cote is. Pathetic piece of shit. Mr. COLE was TEN TIMES the man YOU WILL EVER BE!

The entire city can't wait to throw a party when you DROP DEAD. The entire city will spit on your grave. I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOUR PRECIOUS DAUGHTERS IN TEARS.

I will be there with my camera....oh i CANT WAIT. CLICK CLICK.

KARMA IS COMING....

Tuesday, March 26
Jimmy

I hope the Cote/Stacia praises on this site take notice. We all know who the low life is that posted that. Anyone who defends this psychos and liers thinks long and hard about what the agenda really is about. Cote is a sinking ship of misinformation.

Tuesday, March 26
Erin Cole

I have a message for Stacia Huyler and Rob Cote.

You hide behind your fake profile and keyboard, throwing assaults at people who DID NOTHING to you. You think its funny to cause misery to others who are grieving a significant loss. You take zero accountability for your wrong doings. You are TERRIBLE people.

My family is better then you in every possible way. You can't hurt us. You are BULLIES who like to be tough guys behind your keyboard. That keyboard isn't always going to be there to protect you. Someday you will have to pay for the way you treat people...and i can not for that day to come.

I would love to have a one on one conversation with either of you, but you won't do that. That doesn't get you the attention you so badly crave. That takes away that keyboard that you think is protecting you.

I can assure you, its not.

If you think for a second we are the least but ashamed of my father or his record, you got another thing coming to you. He earned that arrest protecting his son and he would do it again in heart beat. I would.do the same to protect my own. I know you would throw your children the the wolves, but COLE's always protect our own. I COULDN'T BE MORE PROUD OF THE MAN MY FATHER WAS. Post that all you want. Not a single person in our VERY LARGE family and circle of friends is ashamed of it. You are really just making yourselves look more pathetic.

Karma is coming for you both. It a matter of time. In the meantime, i really hope i bump into somewhere. I would really love to introduce myself in person. I don't need to hide behind a keyboard, i can promise you that.

See ya later ;)

Tuesday, March 26
Patient Man

Wwkvoter,

I've been explaining to my wife the math of moving for several years. I've also been explaining the options. We've been transients our entire adult lives. In Warwick we've found a home. Now we are considering leaving.

The problem is nobody should ever want to leave Warwick. Great 4 season climate. the bay is amazing, the airport & commuter train, I95 & I295, proximity to Providence, Boston & NYC. Proximity to northern New England. Only gross incompetence could drive residents out of Rhode Island. We've had it in spades.

If/when we leave, someone will buy our house, so despite the depressed valuation Warwick will still get revenue from our home. We pay 2-3 X's that in income tax to the state. Our income has zero to do with RI. It did once, that's why we moved here. Now we're both able to live anywhere in the world as long as there's an airport & WIFI. Nobody is moving to RI to replace the lost revenue from us moving.

Tuesday, March 26
#istandwiththeColes

ROB COTE IS THE BIGGEST LOSER IN THE CITY!! WHINEY CRYBABY RAT...HIS OWN FAMILY HATES HIM! LITERALLY NO ONE LIKES HIM!

Tuesday, March 26
That rat stinks!

What is that smell? Oh its the smell of the dead animals Cote slaughtered. Take a shower, will ya Cote? You REEK!

Tuesday, March 26
Wow Stacia

Wow stacia...you have some HUGE BALLS posting the record of a dead man when YOUR OWN MOTHER has been charged with DOMESTIC ASSAULT.

Its funny, just YESTERDAY mommy dearest asked for her record to be expunged!

EVERYONE SEARCH EUGENIA PETRI ON THE COURT WEBSITE. THAT'S HUYLERS MOTHER.

NOW IF THATS NOT THE POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK!!

Tuesday, March 26
Samuel

Also search her father's record. They are quite the family

Tuesday, March 26
HAHA

Well, well, well.

Mommy is a domestic abuser and daddy is an embezzler.

Wow Stacia...that's some rap sheet for the Petri clan, huh? At least Mr. Coles arrest was for a good reason. You come from thugs and theives!

Tuesday, March 26
Confused

Cote, what does Richard Coles police record have to do with anything? Do you think his arrest from decades ago somehow excuses your CURRENT behaviour? You have been a @&*%&# for years but i never realized what a piece of shit you truly are.

You are a sick individual. Sick and pathetic. Do us all a favor and kill yourself. And take Huyler with you.

Wednesday, March 27
Patient Man

59 comments & half of them are about how scummy Cote, Cole, some & someones parents are. How about we stay on topic. The city is broke. How do we find a way to maintain tax rates, get concessions from the unions creditors, bond holders & retirees, cut spending & improve the quality of life, improving services & schools in Warwick.

Thursday, March 28
Happy

Patient Man, in response on how to fix it, raise taxes.

Every administration knew of the financial burden the city faced but just kept "kicking the can" down the road.

The main urgency the mayor now faces is to keep his car lot up and running!

Friday, March 29
richard corrente

Dear Patientman,

Good question!

"How do we find a way to maintain tax rates, get concessions from the unions creditors, bond holders, & retirees, cut spending, & improve the quality of life..."? In other words "how do we "Cut Taxes - Cut Spending"?

Here's an idea from "The Corrente Plan" that I believe would make much of your request happen.

Voluntary Pension Buyouts! It saved Texas almost a BILLION DOLLARS!

Here's how it works:

Ask a retiree if he/she wants a check or continued monthly payments. If the answer is "No." no harm, no foul. If the answer is "Yes" Warwick saves money and the retiree gets a lump sum settlement check.

While we are at it have this same committee also investigate "pension fraud". I will bet my left leg that there are a bunch of people receiving illegal pensions. I will BET my left leg! Retirees that should be in category "2" are "accidentally" listed in category "1", costing the taxpayers considerably more! (I'll bet). Maybe Warwick should announce an "amnesty-period" for violators to turn themselves in and avoid criminal prosecution. They would then be reclassified to the less costly pension, a win-win for everyone.

We could also check on those who are out on an alleged "injury retirement", you know, just to make sure they are still unable to work. Maybe Warwick should require an annual checkup. Why not? They already have full-coverage taxpayer-paid health insurance to pay for it.

And Patientman, if I am wrong, it will cost the taxpayers Nothing! (but I really don't think I am)

I believe Warwick is in dire need of Pension Reform. These are just a few ideas.

Happy Spring Patientman.

Happy Spring everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Friday, March 29
Patient Man

Happy,

Someone did the math and even a decade of max tax increases won't be enough to save the city. A better option is to freeze tax increases & negotiate with employees, retirees & other creditors to cut the cities obligations to a sustainable level. As tax revenue increases by rising home values & growth in the business community we'll become a desirable city to move to. If it doesn't stop the bankruptcy we'll be going into receivership at a much better position. So far the only stakeholders that have carried the burden have been the taxpayers. Hopefully Mayor Solomon can engage the rest of the stakeholders to come together & save Warwick & themselves.

Of course, we all know it won't happen.

Friday, March 29
Cat

I am totally appalled by the actions of CRIMINAL RICHARD COLE. The post proves that there are no levels you won't stoop to prove your absolute moral degradation. We can all disagree and still maintain our character and integrity. If you go low when others go low - that makes you both losers. If you go high when others go low - that makes you smart. If you can't fight fair by using logic and common sense, you shouldn't have ever entered the ring in the first place. The younger generation deserves a better role model than this.

Friday, March 29
Patient Man

Cat, agreed.

Way too much attacking the messenger & not the message has devolved into the ridiculousness of attacking the criminal record of a man I have never heard of. And for what?

Saturday, March 30
MMT

Lets make something clear. The person posting as "Criminal Richard Cole" is NOT Richard Cole (he passed away less then 2 months ago). The person posting that is Rob Cote, who never met Richard Cole, and whom Richard Cole never did anything too. Richard Cole was the persons whos funeral Cote crashed and he is trying to justify his actions by bringing up the decades old arrest record, as if that justifies the action. There are many people who are not only upset by the disgusting act at the funeral home, but also this despicable continuance of arrogant, ignorant and outright horrific behaviour by Mr Cote.

Yes, its off topic of the article, but many many citizens of this city are MAD AS HELL. I understand their are many people who know nothing of this and don't care, but i promise if it were your loved one you would.

The Cole family never knew a thing about Cote and certainly do not wish to have anything to do with him now. The vast majority of the comments are not even made by them, but by those who support them. Cotes continued attack of this family and their deceased loved one is just creating more anger. He has no idea the beast he is waking with his actions.

If Mr Cote would MAN UP, apologize to a widow and the children of deceased we could all move on. Instead he does the polar opposite. He continues to try to add insult to the injury.

Its sad when this is what we have become. When a person thinks they are justified in doing such things.

Are there no lines that shouldn't be crossed? Where did our sense of community go? Everyone should be outraged by this man's behaviour. This is someone who sees himself as an influencer in the community. Someone who sees himself above ALL OF YOU.

Mr Cote, if you are reading this....i STRONGLY suggest you keep Mr. COLE, and his family out of your comments. A decent man with a spine would apologize, but since we all know thats NOT you, the least you could do is shut the hell up.

Saturday, March 30
Ben Dover

WOW! Why the deceased Mr. Cole's court issues from 20 years ago would be printed here is way out of bounds...Whomever printed this had better read the rules on the courts own website about using such records in this manner. Cote could make the same case. Press releases about a case 20 years old, a case that was settled and record expunged walks the same tightrope...the same for calling someone an animal exterminator, a convicted felon etc...is not wise to do in print...Let's try and stay on topic...

Despite all the denials, it would appear, according tho the Mayor, the FBI is in fact...here...Looking at something...They tend not to waste time unless something with cause, has caught their eye...As I said, time will tell..Regarding contracts, if I'm the FBI, I'm looking at expenditures of money involving payroll, ie, taxpayer money based upon a verbal, non codified into law contract...All expenditures need to be ratified, codified and agreed to by the whole council...Not withstanding there are members who have openly admitted they never read anything, (can't read?) doesn't change the charter and ordinances and rules of the council. With two lawyers on the council, one now the Mayor, and former President of the council, how any of this may have happened is preposterous. Forget about your damn license plates and worry about this, as well as the rest of this city's precarious financial condition. You and the council better get their act together lest the FBI do it for you.

Sunday, March 31