Mayor Avedesian w/WPRO’s Jim Hummel
Warwick Mayor Scott Avedesian was on WPRO with Jim Hummel (filling in for Dan Yorke) to explain the recent tentative agreement between the City of Warwick and the municipal, fire and police unions. (What follows is a raw, running liveblog)
Mayor Avedesian stated that the negotiations started before Christmas based on how it looked economically. Then a lull until a couple weeks ago. Mayor told the unions he could either lay off people or we can negotiate. Situation similar to No. Providence (ie; potential, protracted legal action). In the end, salary reductions equaling 5% for fire, 3.5% for police, 3% for municipal.
Hummel mentioned the potential 25% co-pay requirement currently sitting in the Legislature. Did it factor. Avedesian said, yes, should the legislature enact the 25%, it will supersede this contract agreement.
Hummel noted difference between public/private. Latter would say this isn’t going far enough.
Avedesian said this is more than Health Care, also pay, holiday pay, uniforms, pension costs going up.
$1.9 million savings for rest of FY09.
$9.7 million for entire thru 2012
Expect more retirements from jobs that won’t be filled (about 45 people). Consolidations in various departments will occur.
Hummel, mentioned that some people would think that, if you can absorb that now, maybe we shouldn’t have had those positions anyway. Avedesian, stated the difference is that usually the union will push us to fill it. Now the unions don’t have as much hand.
Hummel asked about the fact that this looks like a rush job to some people, to which Avedesian replied that it was time critical. Additionally, the Council could move to suspend rules to have public hearing (sounds like they probably will). Avedesian says the normal process would have been too slow.
Avedesian pessimistic about Obama bucks and bemoaned the lack of control with regard to the schools.
Finally, prompted by a caller’s question, Hummel clarified that he was told by the Mayor’s staff that lay-offs HAVE NOT been negotiated away.