Invalid deal among new allegations against fire dept.

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Allegations surrounding purported abuse of the sick time payout system utilized by Warwick firefighters that has allegedly amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars in overpayments in recent years has once again come to a boil this past week, as multiple news stories refocused attention on an issue that has been simmering since budget hearings commenced this spring.

In the past week, it has come out through media reports, primarily through the Providence Journal, that the Warwick Fire Department and its corresponding union had entered into a so-called “side agreement” with the city in 2013 that enacted a contractual change which allowed firefighters to cash in on unused sick time once a month rather than once a year.

However, Scott Avedisian (who was mayor at the time) said on Friday that no such agreement ever made its way to his desk, nor did it make its way to the city council.

“It happened during my administration, it's just not something I was involved in,” Avedisian said.

The Beacon obtained a copy of the agreement, dated April 23, 2013, which indeed featured no signature from Avedisian. It does, however, have signatures from city solicitor Peter Ruggiero (as a witness), then-fire chief Edmond Armstrong and then-union president William Lloyd.

Asked of the arrangement, Mike Carreiro – the current fire union president – said that the agreement was an “addendum” to the 2012-15 fire union contract at the time, and that it was necessary for calculation purposes to ensure that firefighters were able to accrue their maximum of 20 sick days per year, but also ensure they could only get paid for 15 of them.

Firefighters get 1.66 sick days per month, which equates to about 20 per year. If a firefighter can accrue 140 unused sick days, they can begin to monetize those sick days at 75 percent of their value (meaning one monetized sick day is worth 1.25 day’s pay). In the original contract language from the 2012-15, this was to only happen at the end of every year. The so-called addendum changed that to a monthly process.

According to Carreiro, when a firefighter isn’t able to monetize a sick day, the entirety of the 1.66 days gets carried over to the next month and is added to the bank, accumulating towards 140. Once they hit 140, if they monetize an unused sick day, they are be reimbursed for the 1.25 days and the remaining .41 day has to roll over to the next month to ensure that the math still adds up to 20 sick days a year.

However, it is this process of rolling over of the remaining .41 days that is at the heart of the alleged wrongdoing levied by community activists as early as February of 2016, when Warwick resident activist Rob Cote first started lobbying to the Warwick City Council about numbers that didn’t seem to add up in regards to overtime and sick time payouts within the fire department.

This spring Cote, working with former gubernatorial candidate, president of data analytics firm Simpatico Software Systems and political watchdog Ken Block, gathered sick time payout sheets that reflected sick bank amounts and monthly payouts for the past three years – corroborated with accountability sheets that logged when firefighters called out sick from work in that same span – and found numerous inconsistencies.

Included in their findings was multiple firefighters accruing above the maximum number of 140 unused sick days allowable by contract – apparently the result of carrying over the .41 days from a monetized sick day – which seemingly has allowed some firefighters to take multiple sick days in one month and yet still get paid for unused sick days at the end of that month due to an inflated balance in their overall sick bank. In total, Cote and Block tallied the overpayments to amount to nearly $250,000 over the course of a three-year period from 2015 to 2017.

Findings ignored

Despite these findings, Cote insists he has been summarily ignored by city administrators and the city council in the two and half years since he has brought these reports forward. He also laments the amount of resistance he feels he is facing in trying to access the same data from 2012-14 in order to create a clearer picture of these types of inconsistencies. Cote also feels that Avedisian should have to answer questions regarding the allegations, as he believes Avedisian knew of the flawed system.

“Peter Ruggiero should be immediately fired. Avedisian and his entire executive staff should be brought in before the state police and sworn under oath and testify as to the events leading up to this debacle,” Cote said on Monday.

Carreiro admitted on Friday that the contractual language is “obviously ambiguous and vague,” and said he couldn’t comment further on the side agreement because he wasn’t the union president at the time it was drawn up. Block and Cote contend that such an agreement is not legally enforceable without council approval.

On the Matt Allen Show on WPRO on Monday afternoon, contracts attorney Vincent Ragosta – notable for his role as a mediator during the Warwick Teachers’ Union prolonged contractual dispute, and now working as a partial arbitrator on behalf of the city of Warwick regarding the grievance filed by the fire union in regards to the side agreement – gave a particularly compelling answer in regards to the legality of side agreements.

“Side agreements, per say, are not unlawful…You can have a fire chief forming a side agreement with a union to resolve a particular issue, or to create a benefit. That's essentially collective bargaining,” Ragosta said. “However, merely because you formed an agreement doesn't necessarily make it a valid one. If the side agreement is struck, it then has to go through the process of ratification, and often that's not done.”

In this case, there has been no indication that the side agreement was put through any official ratification process.

Mayor Joseph Solomon – who assumed the duties of mayor on May 16 following Avedisian’s stepping down – apparently also does not believe the side agreement was an enforceable policy change, as he suspended the process of carrying over the .41 days in July, which brought about a grievance from the fire union that was denied by acting fire chief Marcel Fontenault and upheld by Solomon – which automatically sent the grievance to the aforementioned arbitration process that is ongoing.

Awaits audit

During his appearance at a mayoral forum on Thursday, Solomon said that he was awaiting findings from both Ward Fisher & Co and the audit being conducted on behalf of the Warwick City Council by Providence CPA firm Yarlis, Kaplan, Santilli & Moran (YKSM), which was initiated in June. He would not commit to any action regarding restitution of funds or punitive consequences prior to getting those reports.

“When I get those results before me, I will act accordingly based on the facts that exist within those results, and the information obtained with the arbitration process currently occurring,” he said.

The fire union has employed the services of Ward Fisher & Co LLP, a CPA firm based out of Warwick, to conduct an investigation into the sick time payout practice and assess if they had made any errors in calculating the sick time payout.

“There's been a lot of speculation and misinformation and we want to get to the bottom of this just as much as they do,” Carreiro said of hiring the firm.

Allegations of intimidation

On top of the allegations of financial wrongdoing, the fire department got swept up in another media storm involving Block last week when his business was visited by the Warwick Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Office for an impromptu inspection last Wednesday, citing an anonymous tip had led them to believe there were fire code violations at his place of business on Altieri Way in Warwick.

Block said that the reasoning for the inspection was “laughable,” as he merely leases the space and nobody would be able to access any part of the building equipped with emergency lighting in order to see a violation and make a complaint. To Block, the visit was about more than an inspection, as he had appeared on the radio earlier that week to discuss the sick time payout issue and filed an Access to Public Records Act (APRA) request to acquire any and all side agreements penned during Avedisian’s administration earlier that same morning.

“The point is he was here sending me a message, and he sent the wrong message,” he said. “That message was don't screw with us or we'll screw with you.”

The visit prompted Solomon to visit Block at his business. Block said Solomon apologized and promised to get to the bottom of why he was visited on the same day of his radio appearance and APRA request. According to Carreiro, the visit was simply a matter of protocol.

“The fire prevention office gets calls all the time. They act upon it and that's what their job is to make sure the building is safe for the public and our members,” he said. “It's not an intimidation, that's not a game we play. We’re not thugs or what they claim us to be. We come to work do our jobs and do our best to serve the people.”

On Saturday Solomon was asked about the incident. He said the timing of the inspection bothered him and that he is digging into the matter.

The Beacon filed an APRA request of its own to acquire any documentation associated with the anonymous complaint and the ensuing inspection. The request was being processed at press time.

Comments

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davebarry109

It's time for control of the Fire Department to be turned over to a special master. There are so many shenanigans going on over the years, most involving great cost to the taxpayer, that we can no longer have faith that things are on the up and up. Forget audits. Audits alone will make little difference. There is a culture in the FD that is corrupting. There is obvious abuse of sick time and swaps. The overtime budget gets blown out of the water each and every year. It's time for some drastic action.

Tuesday, October 23
Bob_Cushman

So the WFD Union President Lloyd makes a side agreement with the Fire Chief Armstrong, (who came up through the same ranks as the union president, in the same union), providing monetary increases in pay. Sound like a conflict of interest? Does Warwick need to hire a fire chief from outside the city with no ties to the WFD?

The City Solicitor Ruggeiro signs the agreement yet Mayor Avedisian claims he knew nothing about it? Ruggeiro states the agreement was never perfected but yet let's it go into effect.

Then the former fire chief instructs his administration workers, with no over site from anyone in the city finance department, to use pencil and paper using the agreed upon non-ratified scheme to enhance FF pay, send the pay request to finance where checks are paid, with no questions asked?

And we are suppose to believe that every year when the fire department over spent its budget by millions of dollars, that Avedisian, his chief of staff and his finance director have no idea why the budget is over spent?

Doesn't pass the smell test. Appears to be a coordinated scheme to defraud taxpayers millions of dollars.

Avedisian, Ruggeiro, his former Chief of Staff, Mark Carruolo (who know works as West Warwick town planner), David Picozzi former chief of staff (who know works as West Warwick DPW director) and Ernie Zmyslinski former finance director (who how works as the Town Planner in WW) all need to be brought before law enforcement officials to testify what they knew, how this entire scheme was allowed to happen and how they were all involved in this.

Tuesday, October 23
richardcorrente

To be clear:

1. There was a system in place. (just like every other fire department.)

2. It allowed for 20 paid sick days. (an acceptable amount)

3. Unused sick days were allowed to be "cashed-in" at only 75% of their value. (saving the taxpayers the other 25%).

4. The agreement was "obviously ambiguous and vague." (per Mike Carreiro, Union President).

5. A "side agreement" clarified the process, by then Mayor Avedisian and Union President Bill LLoyd. (good idea.)

6. Attorney Anthony Ragosta said "Side agreements. per say, are not unlawful". (sounds fair)

7. Some firefighters might have taken advantage of the agreement and/or the side agreement. (that happens.)

8. There will probably be a new-and-improved agreement. One that's even clearer. (Good.)

9. In the final analysis Warwick will have a top rated Fire Department that has a system in place.

10. Was any of this necessary? I don't think so. Systems, like this one, get improved upon every year. Everywhere.

Unless the public doesn't have the whole picture, this issue sounds like someone is trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill. I don't see anyone involved getting fired or even reprimanded, and the State Police have "zero" need to be involved.

There is one thing though, that just doesn't make sense. Ken Block said that "No one would be able to access any part of the building equipped with emergency lighting in order to see a violation and make a complaint". No one, of course, except Ken Block or Rob Cote.

Why would anyone call in an anonymous fire-code violation complaint at that exact moment? What motive would anyone have? Why would anyone care? Why would anyone (except Rob Cote or Ken Block) even know if that light was broken? Might it have been a set-up? Might it have been a ploy to bring more negative attention to this contract issue than it really deserves? Might it have been a disgusting attempt to make a "mountain out of a mole hill"?

Maybe. Might it have been Ken Block or Rob Cote? Maybe.

Happy Autumn everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Tuesday, October 23
CrickeeRaven

More delusional and false statements and conspiracy theories from the two-time election reject are the last thing that readers and taxpayers need in this situation.

The length of his useless comment does not make it any more true -- and in fact, many of his statements are false or, at best, selective readings of the facts.

- "Unused sick days were allowed to be "cashed-in" at only 75% of their value. (saving the taxpayers the other 25%)."

This is a lie. As the article states, "one monetized sick day is worth 1.25 day’s pay." So, every cashed-in sick day actually costs the city 1.25 days of salary -- more, not less.

- "A 'side agreement' clarified the process, by then Mayor Avedisian and Union President Bill Lloyd."

This is a lie. As former Mayor Avedisian is quoted as saying above: "it's just not something I was involved in."

- "Attorney Anthony Ragosta said 'Side agreements. per say, are not unlawful.'"

The two-time election reject ignores Mr. Ragosta's further comment, where he states: "However, merely because you formed an agreement doesn't necessarily make it a valid one."

This means that the city should never have been under the obligation to honor the sick day cash-in side agreement.

- "Some firefighters might have taken advantage of the agreement and/or the side agreement."

"Cote and Block tallied the overpayments to amount to nearly $250,000 over the course of a three-year period from 2015 to 2017."

That's not "might have," that's "did take advantage of the side agreement." And it cost the taxpayers -- who the two-time election reject falsely claims to represent -- $250,000.

Finally, the two-time election reject makes an accidental point about his own false statements: "Was any of this necessary?"

No, none of the effort he regularly and willingly puts into humiliating himself is necessary. But that will not stop him from continuing to make am embarrassing spectacle of himself in his future comments.

Tuesday, October 23
Cat2222

"this issue sounds like someone is trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill." The side deal has cost the taxpayers of Warwick (all 80,000 of them according to your nonsensical numbers) an estimated $250,000 and you still think this "side deal" is legit? That number is just an estimate from 2015-2017 and you can add another 6 months onto it now.If this was happening 4 years ago it would be you shouting out to everyone how Avedesian made a bad deal for the city. The former administration, FD and union all tried a game of smoke and mirrors and you sit there an say that it is a mountain out of a mole hill?

All this time both Block and Cote have been trying to show that what was going on was not legal. They have been hit by all sides and no real benefit coming from putting themselves in the line of fire. Of course Block didn't call it in himself. If he did and the FD is blameless they would have produced the documents. As if these types of tactics haven't been used by other departments before. It is straight out of a union playbook. The same union you seem to want to cozy up to. Are you thinking that they will back you when you try for a 3rd unsuccessful run at mayor? It is reminiscent of your past 4 years of trying to get the Warwick Teachers union to support you. That didn't turn out exactly as planned, now did it?

You have certainly shown me that age doesn't always equal wisdom.

Tuesday, October 23
richardcorrente

Dear Cat2222,

If I thought the Fire Department was wrong I would say so. And I would use my real name.

If I thought the Teachers Union was wrong I would say so. And I would use my real name.

I think Cote and Block are wrong so I am saying so. And I am using my real name.

I think you are also wrong so I am saying so. And I am using my real name.

I make honest comments. I praise when it is deserved and I criticize when it is deserved. And I use my real name. Others just condemn, criticize, and complain. None of my comments are made for political reasons, and I honestly don't give a damn if you believe me. You don't even have enough credibility to use your real name.

I did however, check with the Beacon (732-3100) and they confirmed that you STILL have no obligation whatsoever, to read my comments. Or comment on them; with or without a REAL name. Especially when you do it hiding in the shadows. (like an anonymous coward of a critic.)

Happy Autumn Cat2222.

Happy Autumn everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Tuesday, October 23
richardcorrente

Dear Cat2222,

If I thought the Fire Department was wrong I would say so. And I would use my real name.

If I thought the Teachers Union was wrong I would say so. And I would use my real name.

I think Cote and Block are wrong so I am saying so. And I am using my real name.

I think you are also wrong so I am saying so. And I am using my real name.

I make honest comments. I praise when it is deserved and I criticize when it is deserved. And I use my real name. Others just condemn, criticize, and complain. None of my comments are made for political reasons, and I honestly don't give a damn if you believe me. You don't even have enough credibility to use your real name.

I did however, check with the Beacon (732-3100) and they confirmed that you STILL have no obligation whatsoever, to read my comments. Or comment on them; with or without a REAL name. Especially when you do it hiding in the shadows. (like an anonymous coward of a critic.)

Happy Autumn Cat2222.

Happy Autumn everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Tuesday, October 23
Cat2222

Did you forget RC that I gave you my real name weeks ago and even gave you my email. A lack of wisdom and now lack of memory. Oh dear!

Reality is that my opinion is no less valid despite not being "real" as you like to call it. Using your "real" name doesn't make you any more valid either. You are hung up on idiotic things and then feel free to use numbers pulled straight out of the air. People are fascinating, are they not? You are free not to read or comment on my opinions as well. By all means continue. Seeing you be get swatted down with "real" facts is always highly entertaining.

Tuesday, October 23
Thecaptain

Corrente, you are a buffoon and an idiot combined. You continue to comment when you have never seen a document. Your stupidity is so overwhelming that it is incomprehensible. I guess you didnt hear Ragusta state that a without city council ratification the back room sneaky illegal secret side deal IS ILLEGAL AND VOID AND SUBJECT TO RESTITUTION AND POSSIBLE CRIMINAL ACTION.

How many times did your mother drop you on your head?

Tuesday, October 23
CrickeeRaven

Cat, no matter how often he tries, the two-time election reject will not change facts, and certainly not by claiming that using his real name makes his comments true.

His statements are lies, and he has come up with no other response than to suggest rules for using this website that the owners have not set for its use.

Notice, too, that he has no reply to the facts I outlined.

And he never "checked with the Beacon." If he had, they would have asked him (again) to stop using their site for free political advertising.

But the chance he'd listen to them is the same that he'd write an entire comment without humiliating himself: Zero.

Tuesday, October 23
Thecaptain

I really never thought a human being could be so oblivious to facts. Feckless Corrente, who continues to be nonsensical attempts to justify corrupt illegal behavior, illegal side deals, and circumvention of the city charter. Proving once again how unfit he is to be in any managerial capacity. It takes a higher level of brain capacity to route out these schemes particularly when obstacles are purposely put in front of you to obstruct your rights to open records.

His mantra "cut taxes, cut spending? Here is a perfect example of cutting spending. Illegal spending. Now that we know he supports corruption and circumvention of law, can we all just ignore this tiny little insignificant crushed bug on the windshield?

Wednesday, October 24
CrickeeRaven

Great job bringing this information to light, Thecaptain. In working to expose this improper deal, you prove that you are doing more good for taxpayers than the delusional two-time election reject.

Wednesday, October 24
Warwick Man

Captain,

Fair question... what about many of the MOUs that benefit the city? 5% pay cut was a Side Deal. Many staffing issues were changed as side deals. Simple question, are those invalid too? Your going to find out that the city may in fact owe money for these deals that you think (happen all of the country every day) should be thrown out.

Wednesday, October 24
Cat2222

I second that CrickeeRaven. There was too much information supporting his findings for it to be a false allegation. I am disappointed in Ruggeiro not bringing up the fact that he knew about the side deal as soon as you started sounding the alarm. People in power knew about this and let it go for 2 years because it was in their best interest to remain silent. That is simply not acceptable. Thank you for your time and money spent working on this.

Wednesday, October 24
Thecaptain

You still do not understand the issue. SIDE DEALS ARE ILLEGAL. Doesn't matter what side of the deal the city is on , all are illegal. That is the opinion of the states most knowledgeable lawyer, the Supreme Court, and the city charter. If you have a problem with that, than I would invite you to contact the people responsible for the illegal side agreements, mainly Peter Ruggiero. You can contact him at peter@rubroc.com

You can also contact Ernie Zmyslinski, former finance director for Scott Avedisian at ezmyslinski@westwarwickri.org

and question him as to how this could have happened. You may want to ask Ernie how he was able to author a false fiscal note on the impact of the line item of unused sick time. You can ask Avedisian how they were able to get away with not itemizing the line item of firefighter sick time which is required by basic accounting practices and by the city ordinances. And you may attempt to answer this question. How is it possible that a firefighter can call out sick on a certain day, get paid his regular salary, and also get paid 1.25 days for not calling out sick, and then having someone cover for them at time and a half. This is the scheme that drives the overtime. Each time this happens cost the taxpayer 3.75 days pay. And you think that you have some explanation that the taxpayer will find acceptable? I'm all ears. Address the issue at hand. Dont try to justify poor behavior by citing examples of worse behavior.

So for months you disparage me, call me everything in the book, accuse me of all kinds of crap and offer no documents, you cannot stick to the point, so instead of addressing the message and solving the problem you attack the messenger. That's the difference between us. Trained as a pilot, professional underwater instructor, commercial diver, and USCG licensed captain, I am highly trained in problem solving. People like me identify problems, select the options for solving the problem, then act swiftly. Your council and administration was notified about this 2 1/2 years ago. Nothing was done. If it wasn't for me, the hemorrhaging would still be happening. By the way, at the time, my option for solving the problem was to quietly make it go away so that this big stink didn't happen. They chose to ignore it and jerk me around. bad idea and they all should have known better.

I'll expect your apology and a thank you for my dedication to ensuring my community's fiscal soundness.

PUTZ

Wednesday, October 24
Warwick Man

Rob, I’m Still 100% positive without a doubt that nothing was done illegally. You can quote Ragusta and 1 case that may or may not be similar, but they are not. I’m going to step away until the final outcome is here, but I can assure you, you will have done nothing but cost the city more in litigation. That you can count on.

Wednesday, October 24
Cat2222

Warwick Man,

Yesterday evening, Dan Yorke had the East Greenwich Town Manager on as she discussed their ELEVEN side deals. She was able to sift through years of documents to find out that there most definitely was a side deal in place that drove the OT for the FD way over the appropriate dollar amount. It was reiterate time again that these types of side deals, while prevalent, are not legal. These types of deals are done outside of the scope of the public in order to satisfy the union in order to keep their support when election time rolls around. It would have been best to deal with it outside of the limelight because now it will no doubt be a full investigation and someone will most definitely have to take the fall for it. The WFD will not be getting this practice reinstated after review. Not a single elected official is going to put their name on this deal and push it through.

Wednesday, October 24
Thecaptain

Cat,

You just cant argue with someone who refuses to accept legal precedent, fact, and opinion by the experts. Especially when that person was (is) a beneficiary of the illegal side deal. Think about this for a moment. With all of the media attention to this issue, id I was remotely wrong, wouldn't you be seeing numerous elected officials coming out with documents and evidence that I was wrong, to finally discredit me in the community? They cant, they wont, and I can assure you this. This practice is over, and you will see major changes in the fire contract, you will not see another chief promoted from within, and you will see serious scrutiny and oversight on this department. I guess Warwickman simply refuses to accept the fact that political posturing and back room deals were done for Scotty boy to collect votes. Rule #1 Warwickman, never ask a question to a politician that you dont already know the answer to. Rule #2 - Dont open your mouth until you have documents to back it up. Rule #3 Understand that when you are anonymous, no one will take you seriously.

The prosecution rests !

Wednesday, October 24
unionman10

Rob, or Captain or Mike Fontaine, whatever you go by today,

Lets say I stipulate that you are correct that ALL side deals are illegal, You have provided one in which you allege the firefighters have been overpaid by what $250,000? Great, for argument lets say I accept your point. I would suggest you have only put forth MOA's which support you position. I point to the warwick beacon article of 2/16/10. This article describes concessions by the fire department in 2010 and 2009 totaling $636,000, all of which were done by MOU's. So using your argument, the firefighters are actually owed in the neighborhood of $386,000? As you stated above, It doesn't matter which side of a MOU you are on, they are ALL illegal. You and Ken have called the firefighters thieves, criminals and other derogatory terms. I ask you, was it their responsibility to bring the MOU"s to the council, or was it the administration's? Did the firefighters cut the checks? Do firefighters staff the finance and personnel departments? Talking to the firefighters none of them have ever seen the paper sheets you posted. These books are kept by office staff assigned from city hall. Should they have a better system for accounting? absolutely! but watching the council meetings, they refuse to supply the department with the equipment they need to efficiently provide EMERGENCY services, do you actually think the council would approve hundreds of thousands of dollars for a Human resource program? Maybe now but in the past? Again, is it the fire unions responsibility to provide the correct HR system for the city, or is it the administrations? Just asking, trying to be respectful and not derogatory.

Wednesday, October 24
allent

Stop my car in traffic for your boots and I'll spit in them

Wednesday, October 24
Thecaptain

Unionman,

Im gonna go out on a limb here,

The article that you point to in the Beacon describing $636,000 in concessions is obviously public information, which means that , that information was gained during a council meeting where it was discussed and voted on. For the Beacon to have that information, it was made public, and clearly obtained during an open meeting. The Beacon, and no other entity had the information of the "side deal" of sick time. It was never discussed in an open forum, it was never voted on , and it was never passed. Tharts the difference between what is legal and what is not.

I certainly hope that you understand that I was not sitting on the Supreme Court when the case precedent was passed. I also was not part of the legal system that ratified the Warwick City Charter. I am only part of the funding formula and frankly, I have a vested interest in how my money is spent. Dont blame me, call Peter Ruggiero.

Thursday, October 25
Warwick Man

“Firefighters stepped up by eliminating two paid holidays from its contracted 14 and forsaking a clothing allowance for a combined savings of $396,000. Last year, firefighters took the equivalent of a 5 percent pay cut for four months at a savings of about $240,000 to the city.

The givebacks are unique said City Solicitor Peter Ruggiero as they were achieved without reopening any of the contracts. The administration is still in discussions with the Fraternal Order of Police in hopes of gaining a voluntary reduction in pay from March until June 30. Last year police granted concessions saving the city about $1 million between two budgets.”. Does this need to be repaid. It’s a MOU that was not ratified by the council.

Thursday, October 25
Warwick Man

Knowledge of, and voting in council setting are two completely different things. The council. MAY have known but it was certainly never voted on.

Thursday, October 25
Bob_Cushman

One of the argument by the Avedisian administration as well as the three municipal unions is that concessions by the bargaining units saved the city millions of dollars.

Using official City Budget document I decided to analyze the 100 level line items that include the employee Salary, Sick time, OT and vacation, etc. expenses and the employee benefit line items that consist of pension, healthcare and other benefits to determine if real dollars were saved.

Here are my findings.

Expenses related to Salary line items

2009 - $50,258,262

2010 - $47,864,060

2011 - $49,759,926

2012 - $50,224,984

2013 - $50,485,471

2014 - $51,149,635

2015 - $51,863,673

2016 - $54,479,733

2017 - $55,226,802

Expenses related to Employee Benefits line items

2009 - $41,330,889

2010 - $41,660,044

2011 - $44,166,673

2012 - $46,437,558

2013 - $50,782,594

2014 - $51,085,107

2015 - $54,720,143

2016 - $55,605,684

2017 - $56,620,662

Combined expenses & change from previous year

2009 - $91,589,151

2010 - $89,524,104 (-$2,065,047)

2011 - $93,926,599 (+$4,402,495)

2012 - $96,662,542 (+$2,735,943)

2013 - $101,268,065 (+$4,605,523)

2014 - $102,234,742 (+$966,677)

2015 - $106,583,816 (+$4,349,074)

2016 - $110,085,417 (+$3,501,601)

2017 - $111,847,464 (+$1,762,047)

Conclusion: whatever concessions were implemented by the administration and agreed to by the unions resulted in only 1 year (2009 to 2010) where expenses were reduced. Those saving were wiped out in the 2011 year as expenses increased by $4.4 million.

Bottom line: Expenses related to the 3 municipal union salary and benefits have steadily increased at times by very significant amounts year over year and whatever concessions that were agreed to DID NOT reduced overall employee expenses.

Thursday, October 25
patientman

A full forensic audit should be insisted on by the WFD. Their reputation is at risk.

Thursday, October 25
Warwick Man

It was and is ongoing Patientman

Thursday, October 25
Thecaptain

Again Warwickman is incorrect,

There is NOT a forensic audit going on. The third party is looking at certain issues that have been brought to their attention by the council. A forensic audit is on a much greater scale than what is being done. There are a handful of issues that YKSM is looking at and in no way constitutes a forensic audit. I wonder if Warwickman will ever be accurate in anything he states.

Thursday, October 25
Warwick Man

Captain, I misspoke. I though the question was audit. Will you answer my question. What about the 5% and vacations. Is that illegal too?

Thursday, October 25
Thecaptain

Maybe its my studdering problem. ALL side deals not ratified by the council have no standing per THE SUPREME COURT. I didnt make the law, but I do know how to read, and I did hear correctly when Vincent Ragusta stated that although "side deals" are not uncommon, if they are not ratified by the legislative body they are illegal and the municipality is not bound by them.

Thursday, October 25
Warwick Man

Vinny Ragusta is one opinion. We can agree that $636,000 will be coming back. Thank you.

Thursday, October 25
Thecaptain

Warwickman,

For your entertainment pleasure:

https://www.wpri.com/fox-providence/dan-yorke-state-of-mind/1025-ken-block-and-rob-cote-talk-warwick-firefighters-sick-time-practice-on-state-of-mind/1551894941

ENJOY

Friday, October 26
Thecaptain

Rivk,

here's another one for you to enjoy

https://www.dropbox.com/s/3tqpwhv64jct8dq/Rob%20Cody%20dry%20interview%20mixdown.mp3?dl=0

Friday, October 26
patientman

Union Man, I'm referring to a forensic audit by the state police. Not the same thing. If the union and city conspired to steal hundreds of thousands or more from taxpayers, people need to go to jail. Specifically the 3 people that signed the deal. The side agreement was signed two contracts ago, but was never brought to light or included in the last two contracts. RICO convictions could be forthcoming.

Saturday, October 27
Bob_Cushman

Sick Pay issue has gone back to 2009 with nothing being done to reduce the expense but rather increase it.

2009

Taxpayer paid $$531,000 for unused firefighter sick pay: http://warwickonline.com/stories/taxpayers-paid-531000-for-unused-firefighter-sick-time,57722?

City pays workers $160,000 for not calling sick: http://warwickonline.com/stories/city-pays-workers-163000-for-not-calling-in-sick,61583?

2010

Hummel Report: http://www.hummelreport.org/Stories/1_7_2010_sick360.html

Warwick Beacon: http://warwickonline.com/stories/the-taxpayers-spin-warwicks-budget-misdirected-priorities,42191?

Trillo Seeks bill to ban sick pay bonus: http://warwickonline.com/stories/trillo-seeks-bill-to-ban-unused-sick-pay,47015?

2011 Article cut spemding eliminate sick pay bonus:

http://warwickonline.com/stories/cote-wants-council-to-cut-city-spending,39326?

http://warwickonline.com/stories/the-taxpayers-spin-no-more-excuses-cut-spending,49712?

Saturday, October 27
Thecaptain

Patientman,

You are 100% correct. The only problem is that in a municipality, the state police cannot intervene unless they are invited to do so by the mayor or by the city council One would wonder why they have not been contacted as of this date when clearly this deal was illegal, secretive, and kept in the closet for 6 years.

Saturday, October 27
Warwick Man

A) No one is going to jail.

B) nothing was done illegally.

I’m gonna love watching Cote lose his mind (what’s left that is) when this is over.

Saturday, October 27
Mechanicman22

The captain

Do the ff get TDI too?

Sunday, October 28
Thecaptain

Warwickboy,

Remember when you said that you couldn't wait until I was humiliated when it finally came out that "this was nothing more than an accounting error, if anything". I cant wait to see how the WFD contract gets chopped up in arbitration. Get ready, the party(theft) is over.

Monday, October 29
Thecaptain

Mechanicalman22,

They do not get TDI, they get IOD unlimited and light duty. Light duty can also be assigned for injuries that are non job related. After 30 days of non job related injury, they no longer use up sick days, they are put on light duty and another man is brought in at time and a half. Another scheme.

Monday, October 29
Mechanicman22

TheCaptain

You seem to really hate the FD, does this go back to when they wouldn’t let you be the emergency response diver?

Tuesday, October 30
Thecaptain

That's funny stuff mechanical man, No it goes back to when I found out that they were stealing. Try educating yourself so you don't appear to be a by product of the Warwick Public Schools.

Tuesday, October 30
Mechanicman22

This is a pretty good article..

DEM ARRESTS WARWICK MAN FOR ILLEGAL DISPOSAL OF GASOLINE IN SEPTIC SYSTEM

PROVIDENCE: A Warwick man was arrested today for allegedly disposing of gasoline by pouring it down the drain at his business. Robert Cote, 39, of 12 Social Drive in Warwick, was arrested by DEM Officers at his place of business and arraigned before Judge Walter Gorman in 6th Division District Court in Warwick. He was charged with a single count of unlawfully disposing of hazardous waste. Cote entered no plea, as typically occurs in felony cases. He was released on $5,000 personal recognizance and faces an arraignment in Superior Court on August 14. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. The RI Attorney General's Office will be prosecuting the case.

According to Sr. Agent Giusto Iannelli, of DEM's Office of Criminal Investigation, the Warwick Fire Department was called to Cote's business, the Pro Divers Shop at 2442 West Shore Road, on April 30 after a neighbor in an adjacent strip mall heard an explosion and observed smoke coming from the dive shop. The fire department responded and extinguished the fire, but an officer at the scene noticed a heavy smell of gasoline coming from the facility. Cote admitted to placing a container with less than a gallon of gasoline in a sink to see if the gasoline was contaminated. Cote claimed that the fumes from the gasoline were ignited by a spark from a hot water heater.

The fire officer at the scene called DEM to determine if there was a remaining hazard. John Leo, a Sanitary Engineer with DEM's Emergency Response Unit, responded and found that a considerable amount of gasoline was present in the septic system. Leo determined that the situation constituted a threat to public safety and the environment, and he immediately called CYN Environmental to come to pump out the septic system.

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.

In addition to today's arrest, DEM officers, assisted by officers from the Warwick Police Department, executed a search warrant and removed evidence from the scene.

Tuesday, October 30
Cat2222

Mechanicman22, You forgot part 2 of that story that exonerates him but you already know that. It just didn't fit into your narrative. Trotting out Part 1 of that story is something that is done on the regular here in the comment section. How original.

Wednesday, October 31
Thecaptain

Cat,

You will see that Mechanical man is (was) Warwickman,who is (was) Unionthug, who is (was) StevieD. All the same nonsense. Attack the messenger, but don't discuss the message. By the way Cat22, I will be releasing another illegal side deal made by the WFD very soon. If you were upset about this "secret side deal" wait til you see whats coming. I just wish that we could post pictures on this site. There is an old saying in court - Evidence is Prima-facia !!

Wednesday, October 31
Thecaptain

I'm thinking of designing a trophy of a Warwick Firefighter standing next to a resident, patting himself on the back, and picking the pocket of the taxpayer. Holding the sign, WE WANT AVEDISIAN BACK !!

Wednesday, October 31
Mechanicman22

Rob Cote,

Aka.Captain

At least I never stole stuff off a sunken German sub, where dead soldiers lay.. things you have bragged about.. maps and other things! Yea I was at the bar when you bragged!

Wednesday, October 31
Thecaptain

Stole stuff?

You mean recovered artifacts? And yes, I, like many other professional divers have recovered artifacts from the U853, (and many other wrecks) which lies in 130 ft of water 8 miles south east of Block Island. In the early and mid 90's, I conducted hundreds of dives with students and professionals teaching them about the history of Narragansett bay, and took hundreds of people by the hand, underwater to see and touch history.

In fact, one of the the things I recovered was a box of Nazi submarine depth measuring devices used by the wolf pacs. They look like a mini torpedo and they are dropped to the bottom. The time was measured before the explosion was heard and they then calculated the depth of the water. On the day that I recovered them from inside the wreck in the officers ward room under 2 ft of mud. I contacted the explosives expert from the Warwick Police Department, Officer Chris Mattheson who now proudly has added this piece of history into his collection of historical artifacts.

So Mechanicalman22, aka Warwickman, aka Unionthug, aka, StevieD, you should actually at one point in your life be proud of some kind of an accomplishment. Your lack thereof is certainly cause for you to anonymously and without fact, attempt to disparage an individual who in comparison, you have yet to learn all of the things that he has already forgotten.

One last note. One of the documents that I recovered now sits in a museum in Paris that displays the personal historical items of the worlds most famed ocean explore, Capt. Jacques Yves Cousteau. He received it from me on his 85th birthday. It was displayed on the wall in his office in front of his desk until his passing. May he rest in peace for his passions for the ocean have forever changed mankind.

Saturday, November 3
Mechanicman22

Cote..

I’m not Steve D or a union Guy. Just a blue collar mechanic!! Professional is not a word I’d associate with your name.. sorry hack comes to mind..you still stole it sorry..what ever you gotta tell yourself so you can sleep at night...

Saturday, November 3
Thecaptain

Whatever you say douche bag. Go clean the grease from your hands.

Saturday, November 3
Mechanicman22

I did thank you.. enjoying a weekend off!!

Saturday, November 3
Thecaptain

Hey grease monkey,

Riddle me this. How does one "stole" something from the bottom of the ocean? Let's see how dumb you really are.

Sunday, November 4
Mechanicman22

That comment is bothering you! Must have hit a nerve with some truth..

How’s it feel to be Stacia’s puppet!

Monday, November 5