Warwick Taxpayers on Alert

Following up on Justin’s post “Avedesian Locks in…Savings?“, only a government official would consider “savings” to be a reduction in the “normal” INCREASE that the public sector has come to expect as essentially a birthright.
Despite what Mayor Avedesian says, this isn’t a “savings” of $10 million, it is a reduction in what the “normal” spending increases would be if business-as-usual is followed. The Mayor is touting the willingness of the Warwick municipal, fire and police unions to work together with the city. OK, fair enough…but it’s up to “management” to keep the best interest of the taxpayers in mind. In these tough financial times, that means holding the line at the very least. And the unions have a strategic interest in making these limited concessions now, before things get worse. (A similar thing occurred last October when the Warwick teacher’s contract was renegotiated and extended).
Reducing “normal” increases ain’t reduction! Real cuts mean spending less…or at least not spending more!
But while the pay increases in these troubled times are enough to tick taxpayers off, there are some other–some might think bigger–issues. No layoffs, guaranteed? That’s another management right surrendered. Pay increases if funding resumes at “normal” levels? Following that logic, shouldn’t these actually be pay cuts since funding has been reduced?
And then there are the health care provisions.
Former Warwick City Council member Robert Cushman has analyzed the contract with respect to the potential passage in the General Assembly of a 25% co-pay of health care insurance. If Warwick waits for the GA :

The total three year saving with all police, fire and municipal employees paying a 25% health care co-pay over the current $11 per week co-pay is $6,270,552
The total three year saving with all police, fire and municipal employees paying a $14 per week for individuals and $28 per week for family is $1,644,304
If this contract is signed and the General Assembly passes the 25% health care co-pay it will cost Warwick Taxpayer $4,626,248

Yes, how often does “waiting for the GA” actually work out? But the thing is that it’s still better than rushing this deal through.
Cushman’s complete analysis after the “jump”.

If the General assembly passes the 25% co-pay of health care insurance here is the amount of money that will be lost if Warwick passes these contracts based on individual health care costing $7,500 and family plan costing $15,000 compared with the $14 per week co-pay for individual and $28 per week for family negotiated by the mayor. Assuming 25% passes by March 1 2009.
$7,500/52 = $36 per week – current $11 per week co-pay being paid = $25 more saving per week.
$15,000/52 = $72 per week – current $11 per week co-pay being paid = $61 more saving per week.
Assume no change in health care cost for 2011 & 2012.
Additional savings = number of employees * additional weekly co-pay dols* num weeks
Police Department
Police FY 2009 individual = 33*$25*16 = $13,200
Family = 140*$61*16 = $136,640
Total FY2009 savings = $149,840
Police FY 2010 ind 30*$25*52 = $39,000
Family = 133*$61*52 = $421,876
Total FY2010 = $460,876
Total FY2011 = $460,876
Total FY2012 = $460,876
Total three year difference in savings with 25% co-pay over mayor’s fix rate co-pay for the three years is $1,532,468
Fire Department
FY2009 individual = 22*$25*16 = $8,800
Family = 184*$61*16 = $179,584
Total FY2009 savings = $188,384
FY2010 savings = 22*$25*52 = $28,600
Family = 184*$61*52 = $583,648
Total FY2010 savings = $612,248
Total FY2011 savings = $612,248
Total FY2012 savings = $612,248
Total three year difference in savings with 25% co-pay over mayor’s fix rate co-pay for the three years is $2,025,128
Municipal savings
FY2009 individual = 99*$25*16 = $39,600
Family = 218*61*16 = $212,768
Total FY2009 savings = $252,368
FY2010 Individual = 99*$25*52 = $128,700
Family = 218*$61*52 = $691,496
Total FY2010 savings = $820,196
Total FY2011 savings = $820,196
Total FY2012 savings = $820,196
Total three year difference in savings with 25% co-pay over mayor’s fix rate co-pay for the three years is $2,712,956
The total three year saving with all police, fire and municipal employees paying a 25% health care co-pay over the current $11 per week co-pay is $6,270,552
The total three year saving with all police, fire and municipal employees paying a $14 per week for individuals and $28 per week for family is $1,644,304
If this contract is signed and the General Assembly passes the 25% health care co-pay it will cost Warwick Taxpayer $4,626,248

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Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

>>No layoffs, guaranteed? That’s another management right surrendered.
There’s the crux of it right there. This prevents any meaningful reductions in Warwick’s expenditures.
When one can’t predict the future, eliminating this flexibility (and binding management’s hands) is the height of irresponsibility.
Avedesian just gave away the store.
This guy should never be a serious candidate for any higher office, unless you like your taxes to be permanently affixed to an “up” escalator.

Rasputin
Rasputin
12 years ago

Another contract. Another giveaway to the unions. Yawn.
How many people in the private sector would love to have a “no layoff” guarantee and 6 percent raises throughout the next three years? Most I bet.
Anyhow, Rhode Islanders just LOVE paying taxes. It’s what they do.

Oscar Shelton
Oscar Shelton
12 years ago

Perhaps a explanation of the facts is in order. First of all, there is no clause in the Tentative Agreements that prohibits layoffs. There was some initial confusion over what documents were to be executed, but all three unions agree that there would not be a prohibition against layoffs. Furthermore, these agreements do not preclude the city from instituting the governor’s 25% health insurance co-share if and when it passes. The danger in waiting to see if the legislation passes is that the longer we wait, the less money we can save by instituting the co-shares, wage reductions, deferrals of holiday and clothing allowance agreed to by the unions between now and June 30th. Furthermore, the agreement with the unions allows the city to reduce its work force by about 45 positions before June 30th through retirement and other attrition without union opposition. In all, these savings to the City exceed $1.9 million prior to June 30th.
Oscar K. Shelton
Personnel Director
City of Warwick

angry taxpayer
angry taxpayer
12 years ago

Rasputin – you are correct. I am not getting a raise this year. I pay 30% co-pay for health ins and my job is not gauranteed.
Also in the contract, since when is deferred pay a cost savings?
I think I am going to defer my tax payment in April. Oh ya, it will cost more money in the future. No savings – higher cost.
Get the point?

[some unionist-JK]
[some unionist-JK]
12 years ago

Typical comments from a few anti-union maggots. Cushman better hope his house never catches on fire or someone in his family has a heart attack-it’s going to be pretty tough for him to put out the fire at his house with a garden hose, and even tougher for him to perform CPR on a family member while simultaneously driving to the hospital. You anti-union scumbags make me sick.

Telling the Truth-So Should you
Telling the Truth-So Should you
12 years ago

Once again Mr. Cushman needs to get his facts straight (what a suprise). None of the unions have a “no layoff” clause also, the health insurance co-pay of $28 per week is exactly what Mr. Cushman paid for his health insurance when he was a member of the part-time city council.
The tentative agreements with the unions are better then the one Bob Cushman negotiated with Warwick Teachers when he was chairman of the Warwick School Committee and running for city council. In that contract Mr. Cushman negotiated an $11 per week health insurance co-pay, allowed teachers to retain a clause that allows them to use up to 90 paid sick days per year (not a typo), kept a provision that limits the number of teachers that can be laid off to 20 per year and retained a clause that required teachers to have only Blue Cross as their insurance provider.(State law passed since then no longer allows such provisions) Oh, and did I mention Mr. Cushman gave the teachers 7 million dollars in pay raises over 3 years which is what caused the financial problems in Warwick? No other municipal union has ever received this type of contract.
When Mr. Cushman negotiated that contract and cast the deciding vote to approve it, he should have been more concerned about the taxpayers and less concerned about his campaign for city council. Get real, Bob. The voters of Ward 1 in Warwick kicked you out after only one term, you’re not going to ever be elected mayor. Move on, you’ve caused enough damage for the taxpayers in Warwick.

Bob Cushman
Bob Cushman
12 years ago

Telling the truth-So should you, “Once again Mr. Cushman needs to get his facts straight (what a suprise). None of the unions have a “no layoff” clause also, the health insurance co-pay of $28 per week is exactly what Mr. Cushman paid for his health insurance when he was a member of the part-time city council.” When I was on the City Council I did not pay a co-pay because I did not take the city provided health care plan, saving the city over $15,000 in two years and paying thousands of dollars out of my pocket for health care. I chose to except the plan provided by my employer even though the city health care plan was far superior then the plan I have. Unlike so many others, I believe we all need to make scarifice. Contary to what you believe there is a no lay off clause in the orginal police and firefighter tentative agreements. The mayor has gone on record indicating that it was a mistake and yesterday quickly had the two unions sign a document to removing that language. WHat other mistakes exist? The problem with this deal is that it is being rushed through without the proper due deligence to verify its contents. The $1.8 million in deferred pay for holiday and uniform pay is not a cost savings as presented by the administration. It will be paid in the future at an increased cost. The cuts in pay are for 16 weeks only. As such they really are not the annual percentage equalvant of the numbers references in the agreements. For example a 5% cut in pay for 16 weeks is equal to a 1.5% annual reduction. When you consider that for 3/4 of the year a 3.75 percent raise was given, the employees… Read more »

Rasputin
Rasputin
12 years ago

I can’t believe Justin Katz is allowing that threatening comment where some loser firefighter said the fire department won’t service Mr. Cushman’s house.

Justin Katz
12 years ago

Rasputin,
The same clown issued the same proclamation against me in another thread.
1. It’s not really a direct threat.
2. But it does illustrate that fears about public-sector unions are at least not wholly unjustified.
3. But I trust that firefighters and rescue personnel will still do their jobs.

Telling the Truth-So Should you
Telling the Truth-So Should you
12 years ago

“Bob Cushman”, At no time did I ever make any comments about you or your family, so please don’t refer to me as the “other coward”. I’m simply trying to have a spirited yet civil debate, so please let’s keep it that way. Fact: Bob, you did negotiate a contract with the teachers that provided 7 million dollars in pay raises over 3 years. 4 million of which had to be included in the current year school budget. You also allowed the teachers to retain a clause that allows them to take up to 90 paid sick days per year. You allowed them to also retain a clause that restricts the number of teacher layoffs to 20 per year. This is all fact and is public record, but I noticed you did not mention any of this in your rebuttal. Your negotiating of that contract is the prime cause of Warwick’s financial problems and you know that. All I’m asking is that you accept responsibility for this outragous contract. You were more concerned with getting elected to the city council then you were about the taxpayers, period. By giving the teachers this over the top contract you knew you would solidify the teachers support in your campaign for city council. But where are the teachers now, Bob? None of them are coming forward to defend you are they? In regards to the alleged “no lay-off” clause in the police and fire contracts, as the mayor mentioned, it was part of one of the 14 proposals that the city and union were first reviewing months ago. When the error was discovered shortly after members of the city council received their first packets Friday afternoon, the corrected packets were delivered to the council. Did Councilman Merolla also email you the revised copy… Read more »

Bob Cushman
Bob Cushman
12 years ago

Hey telling the truth
Why don’t you disclose who you are and provide me with a way to contract you and we can set up a public debate somewhere in Warwick and invite the press, city workers, tax payers and anyone else who wants to come and we can discuss all these points and more out in the open?

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