Tiverton Would Rather Fire Employees than Keep Their Compensation in Check

In an article that doesn’t appear to be online, Tom Killin Dalglish of the Sakonnet Times perpetuates the analytical error that I’ve been describing:

Councilors were told that the contract will cost $117,000 less than the contract it replaces, and ultimately it was this feature that motivated the council members to end the debate and vote to approve the deal.

According to my analysis, the contract will cost only $5,233* less than three additional years of the final year of the last contract. Since that year was undoubtedly the most expensive of the three that it covered, the number is probably an overall increase in cost.
More interesting, in Tom’s article, is another consideration that several council members apparently found persuasive:

But the ensuing discussion molified [Jay Lambert’s] concerns. “There’s no promise in this contract that guarantees a level of employment,” said Council President Donald Bollin.
“It’s not a no-layoff contract,” said Town Solicitor Andrew Teitz.
“As long as we have Mr. Teitz’s confirmation that there may be layoffs and fuloughs,” Mr. Lambert said, he was satisfied, and he subsequently withdrew his motion to postpone council consideration of the contract.

Well that’s just great. The town council bought a too-expensive contract in the midst of an unpredictable economic downturn at the state and national levels on the grounds that they can always increase unemployment and decrease town services in the future. As I’ve said, if this sort of thinking dominates the three larger contracts that the town must negotiate in the coming months, we’re in a great deal of trouble.
* * My initial number resulted from a data entry error as explained here.

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12 years ago

Don’t fret Justin. They won’t lay-off anybody either.

12 years ago

Why is it you guys are so into people getting layed off? why is it when you work for a town or city you don’t deserve a pay check or the benefits that come with it? You guys do know that Tivertons employees are some of the lowest paid in the state right?

12 years ago

1.) No one is obsessed with lay-offs. We’re obsessed with a commodity that is ultra-rare in RI: affordable taxes.
2.) “You guys do know that Tivertons employees are some of the lowest paid in the state right?”
We don’t know that. Got some comparisons? Trot them out.
3.) Aside from/in addition to #2, why should the public sector be exempt from fiscal realities such as the concept of: there’s only so much revenue that can be collected and spent on a particular operation, whether it’s a household, a business or a municipality?
4.) How will public sector employees get paid as more and more tax payers are driven out of your town by too high taxes?

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