Cranston City Council Rejects Police Contract
The full Cranston City Council has rejected a modified version of the tentative agreement reached between the administration of Mayor Allan Fung and the city’s police officers union. Several amendments were made to the original agreement and the Mayor and members of his administration discussed the changes with the Council in an executive session that lasted for about an hour last evening, but the Council still rejected the contract by a vote of 6-3.
According to Mayor Fung (audio), his administration must now proceed with layoffs in order to rectify Cranston’s financial situation.
When asked if the Council views layoffs as the next step, Council President John Lanni (audio) left the door open for further negotiations. Asked if the healthcare issue was the primary “structural” issue that the Council was concerned about, President Lanni cited longevity pay as an example of another area that could be considered for modification.
Several council members also expressed concerns about proposed changes involving departmental operations during the meeting.
Randal Edgar has a good summary of the various issues involved in today’s Projo. One issue that is still not clear to me is the claim that most of the savings in this contract comes from not filling vacancies, when the union has (had?) agreed to an 18-month pay freeze with no retroactive make-up down the line. That sounds like a real concession to me, despite Council member Michelle Bergin-Andrews characterization of the deal with the union as involving something less, what she called “what they like to call concessions”.
Councilman Terrence Livingston explained his vote, in part, by saying that that was “the first contract that came up during this bad time”, neglecting the laborer’s contract ratified in December (after the crash of the financial world that brought about the bad times) where a 12 month pay-freeze was deemed adequate for passage.
And in explaining his version of what “structural change” might involve, Councilman Emilio Navarro mentioned 20% co-shares for new hires only, an apparent change from his previous position of 20% across-the-board, though it is not clear that 20% for new hires would save more money than the across-the-board co-share the union agreed to.
Ultimately, the citizens of Cranston have to decide if this all makes sense.
Seven Council members explained their votes to the public before casting them. Speaking in favor of the contract were…