Ward 5 Councilman Ed Ladouceur has been tight lipped ever since he and other members of the council received copies of the tentative agreement (TA) reached between the Warwick Firefighters and the …
Ward 5 Councilman Ed Ladouceur has been tight lipped ever since he and other members of the council received copies of the tentative agreement (TA) reached between the Warwick Firefighters and the administration. The TA was accompanied by a fiscal note detailing the cost of the agreement.
Ladouceur would have released the agreement immediately if he hadn’t been told it was a “working document” implying there could be revisions before it comes before the council for a vote.
Release of the TA could come following Monday’s council meeting, but it may not.
City Council President Steve McAllister said this week the TA will be on the Monday agenda but that it won’t be discussed in an open session. He said the council would meet in executive session in the basement conference room with members of the administration who negotiated the agreement. The purpose of the session is to review the document step-by-step and outline how the parties reached an agreement. No vote would be taken, he said.
McAllister anticipates the executive session would take no more than an hour at which point the meeting would resume in council chambers upstairs.
Two issues headline Ladouceur’s list of concerns.
Before the parties reached a TA, Ladouceur was hopeful provisions of an ordinance he introduced, but failed to gain council approval, would be incorporated into the agreement. Ladouceur is looking for future retires to share in the cost of health insurance. Also on his list is for the council to have a full 14 days, as set in an ordinance Ladouceur sponsored, before voting on the agreement. As the TC was classified as a “working document,” he doesn’t consider it completed and therefore the 14-day count shouldn’t start until the point it is made public, Ladouceur reasons.
Ladouceur points out that the firefighters’ contract is one of several that the council could be voting on in the course of the next couple of years. He lists a teacher contract and agreements with Warwick police and municipal employees. What happens with the firefighters could impact negotiations with the other unions.
“I’m going to have plenty to say,” Ladouceur said.
He didn’t wait, however.
“Health care is totally out of control,” he said. He added that unless municipal contracts address retiree health care co-payments and other benefits, escalating costs won’t be sustainable to the taxpayers. He pointed out that had the council implemented a retiree co-payment clause, the basis of an ordinance he introduced but shot down by the council, according to actuary studies the city would have saved $5 million annually.
Without revealing any provisions of the TA, Ladouceur concluded it is highly unlikely he would vote for it.
“Unless they’re negotiating contracts sustainable to the taxpayers, I won’t be voting for them,” he said.