We Can Only Do What We Can Do
In a comment to the previous post, WillP asks why we haven’t mentioned this:
Tiverton police officers are looking forward to their paychecks that will contain 14 months of retroactive salary increases.
Fourteen months’ worth of retroactive health-care co-share increases, however, will reduce that amount.
The 26 members of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, Local 406, last Thursday re-ratified a new three-year contract that gives them salary increases totaling 10 percent and increased health-insurance co-shares. The union vote did not include a side agreement that would have allowed more people to apply for the job of police chief. …
The contract calls for police who have either a family or single health-care plan to pay $800 per year, or double the $400 they have been paying. In year three of the contract, the cost for the employee will increase to $900 annually. Plan changes that increase the amount of co-payments for office visits, emergency visits and prescription drugs helped reduce overall costs to the town, Steckman said.
The town’s contribution for a family plan is $1,069 a month. The new plan will cost the town $1,056 a month. The cost to the town for a single plan is $422 a month. Under the new plan, it will be $417.
There are two reasons that I haven’t mentioned this story. The primary reason is that I just didn’t see it. I haven’t the time to add The Newport Daily News to my daily dead-tree skims, and having long ago found the periodical’s Web site next to useless, I lapsed from the practice of checking it regularly for news. It bears mentioning, here, that we’re just folks who keep this site up in our spare time, of which Rhode Island has been working hard to ensure that I have a decreasing supply.
The second reason is obviously made moot by the first, but it’s worth noting: I’ve only recently forced myself to take an interest in the local government, here in Tiverton, so even if I’d caught this story on the 12th, I wouldn’t have had much background for any statements. Part of what makes the teachers’ union’s negotiation so egregious is that it had the audacity to up its percentage demands in a context of extreme fiscal restraints, as well as the way in which the percentage increases compound with the step increases. I already knew some of the tricks hidden in the numbers.
I’ve less historical foundation for assessing police contracts, both for comparison with previous contracts and for understanding how the remuneration adds up. I certainly intend to remedy this gap in my knowledge, but until such time as Anchor Rising can dispel my need to work as a carpenter on Saturdays, that remedy will have to be pursued in due course.