Solomon announces tentative contract with Warwick Fire Department

Contract to be cost-neutral, create city's first OPEB trust

Posted

A tentative deal has been struck between the City of Warwick and the Warwick Fire Department, which had been without a renewed collective bargaining agreement since its last contract expired on July 1, 2018.

Mayor Joseph Solomon's office released some details of the new deal, which will have to be approved by the Warwick City Council, in a press release on Thursday night.

The major highlights include: The establishment of the city's first ever OPEB (other post-employment benefits) trust fund, which is to be funded through a 2 percent contribution by employees hired after July 1, 2019; a 0-2-2 percent raise structure over the three-year deal; a reduction in sick, vacation and personal days for all firefighters; and a resolution to the Tier 1/Tier 2 pension issue.

According to the release, the raise structure will be mitigated by the reduction in days off, resulting in a cost-neutral contract throughout its lifetime.

The release in full is below:

"Mayor Joseph J. Solomon announced today that he has reached a tentative agreement with the Warwick Firefighters’ Union membership on a three-year, cost-neutral contract that will save the city over $450,000 in the first year while establishing the first-of-its-kind OPEB trust that reduces retiree health care costs for new hires by 27 percent. The contract also reduces time off, increases management rights, and resolves the former Tier II pension and sick time payout issues.

“I thank the union membership for working with me and my administration to come to an agreement that is fair to our firefighters and addresses a great number of taxpayers’ concerns,” the Mayor said. “With the first-of-its-kind OPEB trust, this contract creates a template to forge a new way forward in helping to manage retirement benefit costs in the future.”

The contract, which spans from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2022, includes no raise in this fiscal year and 2 percent raises in years two and three. The contract will save the city over $450,000 in the first year, and, over the full three years, cost reductions will completely offset the wage increases, resulting in a cost-neutral contract.

All employees hired after July 1, 2019 will contribute, in addition to current co-shares for health insurance, an additional 2 percent of their pay to an OPEB trust, which will be used to contribute to their healthcare costs in retirement. According to the city’s actuary, this additional contribution to the OPEB fund will reduce the city’s contribution toward retiree healthcare for new hires by 27 percent, Solomon said.

In addition, firefighters will have seven fewer days off per year pertaining to sick days, personal days and holidays, Solomon said.

The reduction of four sick days is expected to save the city over $170,000 per year, and the elimination of one holiday is expected to save the city over $80,000 annually. Elimination of two personal days is projected to save the city almost $200,000 per year. The contract also includes implementation of a 24-hour shift schedule, which should lead to decreased overtime costs.

Further, new hires will be on a lower pay scale for four years instead of two years before they achieve the top step.

Solomon also noted that several outstanding issues associated with prior contracts have been addressed in the new pact. This contract implements the Tier II pension reform that the previous contracts failed to include. He said this contract corrects the issue of unused sick time payout, which will now be paid annually instead of monthly, eliminating the practice that had been established under a so-called “side agreement,” whereby firefighters had been paid for a portion of their unused sick leave and allowed to carry over the remaining portion until the end of the year.

The tentative agreement will now be submitted to the City Council for ratification. Council ratification of contracts was a legislative initiative spearheaded by Mayor Solomon when he was Council President in order to increase transparency in government."

The Beacon will update with additional information in its print edition on Tuesday.

Comments

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Dozing for $$$$

Solomon the tape worm. Always looking for a new colon to crawl into.

Thursday, November 14
Feedingatthetrough

We do not give up something without getting something in return. The devil is in the details. Thankfully the sucker taxpayers don't get to see the details until after the deal is done.

Friday, November 15
Daydreambeliever

You want a say in city or state employees wages and benefits ?

Shall weevaluate your pay and skills to warrant your income and benefits.

Does this sound ok to you ?

Friday, November 15
Jimmy

If it doesn’t say they are working for free and get zero benefits then some will never be happy. They are a a minority in this city. Time to move on.

Friday, November 15
Please

Jimmy

You said you were never going to comment on this blog again. We all hoped you finally SHUT UP !

Jimmy....you have as much credibility as the WFD Illegal. Side deals anyone ?

Friday, November 15
Jimmy

Stacia you want to talk about credibility? Lol. You will forever be a joke in this city. All by your own doing.

Friday, November 15
Patient Man

Sounds like a fair deal. Hopefully we'll have more insight after the Council gets a look at the details. Hard to know what the healthcare cost increases are going to be. If the recent rate trends continue the actuarial should have been able to get in the ballpark..

Friday, November 15
Please

Jimmy

Good to see you have as much character and honest as the WFD. You said you would no longer blog but you continue to rant on the Beacon. Shut Up!

BTW... what is your fascination with Stacia...you talk about her all the time...remember she had the guts to run for office and speak at council meetings while you remain nameless on this blog. Get some guts Jimmy and let us know who you are.

Will you be speaking at the council meeting when the vote is taken to ratify this contract? Probably not because you don't have the guts.

Friday, November 15
Daydreambeliever

Stacia is a nobody always has been always will. So she ran for public office and has spoken at council meetings.

She failed at being elected, she failed in her marriage. See the common denominator?

Whoever this person who keeps praising her calls out Jimmy but also hides behind a fake name.

She can’t speak at the council vote as she no longer is a taxpayer here.

She can attend but she can’t speak.

I don’t know most of you here and you don’t know me either but I’ll probably watch it live stream because Ladoucer and Merolla will talk and talk and talk dragging it out for hours. I’d rather stay home thank you.

Friday, November 15
Apollo

Awesome !!!!!

The Mayor is doing a great job !!!!!

This is really good news !

How can any one complain about this.

Vote Joe

Friday, November 15
Apollo

Goes to show it doesn't matter what Cushman, Stacia says..... it's all up to the Mayor and the powerful Unions. By the way, the Mayor can ratify it without council approval, he has that power. So, it's nice to let them look at it all lets hope they do the right thing and sign off on it with their blessings.

Friday, November 15
Warwick Freemason

Daydreambeliever:

This question is rhetorical, but were exactly does the money come from? Don't you think the folks who provide the majority of the funds to maintain an entire department should have a say or at least know where and how their money is being utilized? I mean, every person who works for a city or a town; in essence, aren't they technically employed by the taxpayers, aren't they in the service of the people?

Lets look at it another way... A personal owns stock in a company, every year there is an annual Shareholder's Meeting, the purpose of this meeting is for the leadership (President, Executives and Members of the Board) to address the "Owners" of the company a detailed financial picture and a current status of "Their Company." They are told how well or how bad the current leadership is doing running "Their Company." Looking at it this way, don't you think taxpayers are a lot like shareholders of a company?

Here is another example... Your son or daughter calls you one morning and says "Mom / Dad, I need or maybe can I have $1,000?" What is the first thing we would say "What do you need the money for?" Instinctively, the reason why we ask this is not because we don't want to help them, but because its our money which we've worked hard for and we want to know exactly how and why this money needed is going to be spent, right? The same goes for taxpayers... We don't mind paying the tax, because we do benefit from it, but we want to know how the money is being spent... And if we feel our money is not being used appropriately, or the money is being used in excess to provide unimaginable salaries and benefits for which we ourselves could only dream about receiving from our employer, we should have every right to say whether we approve or do not approve how our hard earned money is being spent be the people we place our trust in to run "Our Company" or "Our City."

Personally, I am opposed unions, I feel they are more of a burden rather than a benefit to a company or a municipality. I think at one time there was need, but now they are unnecessary. They put a lot of financial stress on companies and municipalities. If you compare states with and without unions you will find states with unions tend to have not only higher taxes but also various forms of "additional" taxes. Ironically, this is why folks who worked for unions for years, move to states with less taxes when they retire. They refuse to live in a state where their income for which they have worked hard for is over taxed... My last sentence is almost laughable, don't you think? Almost like a "Do as I say but not as I do" mentality?

I'm sure there will be some snide comments left for me and I am totally ok with that. I just thought your comment Daydreambeliever about wanting to evaluate my pay and benefits based on my skills was a little childish. However, in my case, you actually may have every right. because you more than likely have an ownership interest in my company not only as a shareholder but also a taxpayer.

Warwick Freemason

The "Taxpayer's Freemason"

Veritas Junxit Mors Non Separabit

Friday, November 15
wwkvoter

I disagree that we dont need unions. In fact we may need them more today, as labor trends shift and powerful executives have more opportunities than ever to drive down the standard of living for employees.

As to municipal unions, they are needed for the simple reason to prevent patronage decisions. Dont like your ignorant, low class, nasty council member? If he/she is like that? Imagine if they had the power to hire and fire without due process! Imagine his/her petty criminal brother in law getting hired into the police while a worthy officer is let go to make the space. These are hypothetical examples but totally exist in history which is why municipal unions convened to provide some level of protection in the form of due process. We have police and fire exams and competition, and things like seniority rights that add respect to that workforce. All because of collective bargaining.

As to the main complaint that "the unions" in a city drive up costs with unreasonable wage and benefit packages, even with unions, if the public REALLY was pissed off about that, they would elect a mayor and council of fiscal conservatives to renegotiate contracts at renewal time, and they be able to do it, with enough of the public behind them. So what we have for costs is the public's responsibility rather than the unions, who are doing what they are supposed to, advocating for themselves.

Anyone who thinks "the unions" are controlling the voters is delusional. I could post examples where the residents rolled back wages and benefits when needed and the unions had no choice. That's drastic but it does happen, whether the union members like it or not. But at least the proper hiring/firing and job integrity is still in place to maintain a stable and professional workforce. Fortunately, Warwick is not there yet, hopefully not ever but we'll see. But we do need the unions especially in government workforces.

Friday, November 15
Apollo

Warwick Freemason

That was almost poetic.

CEO's make tens of millions of dollars, mean while every one else are peasants and you don't think there is a need for unions?

People leave RI for a variety of reasons the climate being one of them. Quite simply the weather sucks here.

The problem I have with your opinion is what you value police and firefighters and the rest of city workers for that matter. A Worcester firefighter just lost his life. How do you put a price on a human life? 1 in 5 firefighters get cancer.

The new contract proves city unions are working with the Mayor to balance the budget in good faith. But it won't be enough for some haters.

Friday, November 15
Warwick Freemason

Apollo-

I never understood why people hate millionaires and CEO's? They are the ones who create and make jobs for people. I respect all first responders; but to your point, don't they know the dangers of the job when they apply? I would argue they are willing to take accept the dangers because the lifetime benefits and retirement packages are fantastic! I cannot debate your claim about the 1 in 5 getting cancer; I do not know how factual that is, but if it is true then why are they willing to take that chance? Again, they do it in order to reap the benefits.

Public schools are failing, building are falling apart and many of the kids within those schools have little if any respect for their teachers and administrators, right? On the other hand; private, charter and Catholic schools are almost the complete opposite. My question then is why the ultimate goal of folks who graduate with a teaching degree try so hard to work in the public school system? I would think its almost a "no brainer" that teaching in either a private, charter or parochial school would be easier? But that is not the case, is it? Oh wait... Public schools have unions... Ok, now I understand. So when teachers say they do what they do because they want to "provide children with the necessary tools they need academically to succeed in life," or "they love that they have the potential to make a difference in a child's life" they mean it as long as they can realize the benefits associated with being in a Teacher's Union where they are guaranteed a huge payday!

Apollo, I guess we should just agree to disagree, I hope you have a great weekend.

Warwick Freemason

The Taxpayer's Freemason

So Mote it Be

Friday, November 15
Apollo

Warwick Freemason,

I don't hate millionares. I don't believe CEO's are worth millions however. They usually are just the figure head of a company and not creating jobs.

I don't know what the wages and benefits are working for a charter school, private school or Catholic school compared to public.

Yes, people who are police and fire know the risks going into the job. It takes a special type of person to be able to unselfishly risk it all for others.

Have a great weekend. You're actually intelligent to speak with unlike most others that post negative things.

Friday, November 15
Warwick_Resident1998

This seems like a fair deal for both sides. I like the implementation of the OPEB fund.

Saturday, November 16
Roger

Bravo, good deal for both. I applaud ever for working together to move the city forward.

Saturday, November 16
WFD Hopeful

Does this mean the department will finally hire off the list that was established in 2018? Myself and many others have been waiting and there is a solid list established currently that is valid until the end of January 2020. Would be unfair to the over 200 candidates that took all the proper steps in the highly competitive hiring process if the current list was ignored. Not to mention the time and cost it takes to establish a new list.

Sunday, November 17
Fed up

WFD hopeful,

According to both former chiefs McGlaughlin and acting chief Fontenault, they have an extremely difficult time finding candidates for the fire school. At least that was the testimony that they gave to the city council on several occasions.

Sunday, November 17
Jimmy

WFD Hopeful,

The truth is they have watered down the job. 23 years ago when I got on there were 762 applicants for 29 jobs. Cranston has 35 last week for 10 openings. The city will see what happens when you offer less than a laborer for a general contractor. These people are supposed to take classes on their own learn life saving skills, be the best of the best. Yet the city is cool

With hiring the bottom feeders because the striped the basic benefits. It’s only gonna get worse. Hi Stacia.

Sunday, November 17
Apollo

Jimmy

You are 110% right.

Because Stacia and the others have no idea how much work, training, and education is involved they just assume.

How many jobs require weekly training their entire careers?

Few jobs work such crazy hours.

Few jobs work in the elements.

Few jobs are as dangerous.

Few jobs are as stessful.

Few jobs are as physical demanding.

The list goes on and on.....

Most people, 99% love the fire department. The 1% that complain are the 1% with mental illness and serious self esteem issues that they have to bash firefighters and everyone else for that matter.

Stacie, Cushman, Cote, Block...1%.

Monday, November 18
A p o l l o

Don't pay any attention to me. I am an angry person with border line mental issues who doesn't respect another person's different opinion.

Monday, November 18
OLLOPA

spelled backward Apollo means "Small Headed Man".

Monday, November 18
Apollo

Apollo means a Greek God. Manly beauty.

But think what you want. I'm sure there are many personalities in your head.

Monday, November 18
Poor firefighter

Few jobs can game the system as much

Few jobs allow 20 sick days

Few jobs allow substitution of one worker for another worker

Few jobs allow destruction of financial documents

Few jobs allow their employees to harass members of the public

Few jobs allow the worker to take company property to go shopping and pay cable bills on the clock

Few jobs pay for lifetime healthcare

Few jobs allow you to make more in retirement that when employed

Few jobs allow 24 vacation days

Few jobs pay for 14 holidays

Few jobs do not have time clocks to monitor when employees are actually at work

Few jobs allow employees to sleep on the clock

Few jobs allow people with no business education to manage a 22 million dollar budget

Few jobs allow you to call in sick in the morning and then come in in the afternoon for overtime

Few jobs pay for your work clothes

Few jobs allow you to have another full time job

Few jobs show as much sick time taken by its employees

Few jobs contain the most whinny complaining self centered anonymous egotistical thief's

Few jobs continually brag that they are gods gift to the world

Monday, November 18
Honestinfo

Robbie Robbie Robbie why the new screen name, you have serious issues.

Tuesday, November 19
Tom Shaw

WFD

Robbie doesn't have issues....he just points out the obvious....the WFD has fleeced the taxpayers for years and Joe said he would correct it but he has done NOTHING !!!!

Tuesday, November 19
Poor firefighter

Aww, poor guys.

http://warwickonline.com/stories/32-firefighters-in-100000-club,61375?

Wednesday, November 20
Thecaptain

Solomon is in direct violation of the city charter in a number of ways. He should not be rescinding the arbitration appeal as the tier 2 language is clearly in the 2015 contract and in the tentative agreement PCR 74-15, and also in the City Code of Ordinances Section 20 from 2012 and reads as follows:

For Tier I means (a) if the member's retirement, death or disability occurs prior to January 1, 2005, the annual rate of pay equal to the average of the salaries received by the member for the period of three years of creditable service ending at the member's retirement, termination, or death, or the average salary received over the member's entire career if the member had less than three years of creditable service at the time of death or disability; or (b) if the member's retirement, death or disability occurs on or after January 1, 2005, the annual rate of pay equal to the salary received by the member for the period of the last year of creditable service ending at the member's retirement, termination, or death, or the average salary received over the member's entire career if the member had less than one year of creditable service at the time of death or disability.

(b)For Tier II means the annual rate of pay equal to the average of the salaries received by the member for the period of three years of creditable service ending at the member's retirement, termination, or death, or the average salary received over the member's entire career if the member had less than three years of creditable service at the time of death or disability.

This decision by Solomon is going to cost the taxpayers upwards of 20 million dollars. Here is the breakdown

Back pay = 2.8 million

the 2.8 million will be amortized over 20 years at $250,000 per year interest = 4 million

the additional ARC payment increases for 16 years (minimum ) at approx $700,000 per year times 16 years = 14.7 mil

Total cost to the taxpayer for not having the balls to fight the appeal - 20.5 million and that's without OPEB cost.

OOOPs Im sorry, I forgot to factor in King Solomons $450,000 savings that he projected in the absence of a fiscal note.

And here is a link to yet another official document.

https://www.warwickri.gov/sites/warwickri/files/pages/fireii_va2018.pdf

Cant wait for the debate

Wednesday, November 20
Honestinfo

Robbie Robbie Robbie The Feds have a white collar crime unit. You should contact them. Oh wait, you already did.

Thursday, November 21
Honestinfo

Robbie Robbie Robbie The Feds have a white collar crime unit. You should contact them. Oh wait, you already did.

Thursday, November 21
FedEx Tony

Mr. Cote, you do realize that the city is not required to (not will it) pay the 2.8 million. They are only required to pay their ARC payment. The ruling was very clear on that. So your numbers are off quite a bit.

Thursday, November 21
mra

would you buy a used car from this guy?

Thursday, November 21
mra

would you buy a used car from this guy?

Thursday, November 21