Where Rhode Island’s Tax Dollars Go

Cranstonite John Sauro was a year and some older than I am when he retired from the Providence fire department with a disability pension in 2000. Now 48, collecting a tax-free disability pension of $45,600 per year (on top of $1,800 that the city pays for his health care each month), Sauro spends his time on light hobbies like lifting 205 pounds on the incline bench at the local gym:

Target 12: Feel the Burn: wpri.com

I’m not sure why their shouldn’t be criminal charges for what appears to be blatant fraud. Instead, according to WPRI reporter Tim White, Sauro walked right through a 2008 ordinance that required him to recertify his injury. If the system is that easy to skirt, then it might as well be considered part of the scheme.

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BobN
BobN
11 years ago

How will Michael excuse this one?
Now that we have clear evidence of an egregious case, let’s get an independent study of all firefighters and cops out on disability pensions. It would be useful to know:
1. whether such abuse is rampant and an accepted form of “working the system” among union members.
2. how much of taxpayer money is being stolen in this manner.
These results would enable the voters to make informed judgments about the people they are electing to “represent” them and become a campaign issue for 2012.

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

I’m sure PFD commenters Michael and Tom Kenney have no knowledge whatsoever of this individual or the blatant disability pension fraud he is committing in open view. They’ve already assured us that this type of firefighter disability fraud cannot occur anymore due to an “independent doctor review panel.”
Chances are essentially zero that either of them will have any substantive comment or accept any responsibility for the wilful ignorance or deliberate facilitation (take your pick) of this fraud by their union and professional organization.

Justin Katz
Justin Katz
11 years ago

The following, from the WPRI article, is relevant:

Paul Doughty, president of the Providence firefighters union, said it was too soon to say what action, if any, should be taken in this case.
“Sauro still remains a question mark, because we don’t know what’s going to happen with him at the end of the day,” Doughty said, adding that he was “not aware of any fraudulent disabilities” among retired firefighters.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
11 years ago

Forget about what the pigs say. The real problem is the majority of our neighbors who choose to keep backing the party that feeds the pigs.

Andrew
Editor
11 years ago

Tim White mentions at the top of the story that the tip he received came from another firefighter.

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

If more fire fighters took personal responsibility for their union and department the way that individual did, then there would actually be a chance of turning things around. Unfortunately what we have are apologists, enablers, and those simply waiting for their turn who keep the cycle of abuse going.
Why does the state of RI even pay fraud investigators when it’s abundantly clear that they are doing nothing to stop the abuse? This investigation wasn’t Watergate, it was the lowest-hanging fruit imaginable. This guy sticks out like a sore thumb, even on paper. A 12-year-old with access to municipal records and a cell phone camera could have rooted out this fraud and documented it, and yet it persists.

michael
11 years ago

What’s to explain? Never could stand the guy, hope he gets arrested. That is my pension fund money he is stealing. And for the record, three doctors insisted I stop working a few years ago and put in for the disability pension. I beat the odds and returned to work, and limp through most days. And I’m far from the only one.

Justin Katz
Justin Katz
11 years ago

Hear, hear. I’m another limper-through-the-workday, and on Wednesday I moved a 400-pound steel beam from the street and installed it in an existing first-floor ceiling system by myself, just to see if I could. (No doubt, such self-tests have contributed to my limping…)
We do well to remember that unionization does not create a line between those with work ethic and those without. That does not mean, though, that it doesn’t increase the chances of systemic abuse (especially in the public sector).

Patrick
11 years ago

Interesting that michael knew of this guy yet Tom Kenney is not aware of any abuse anywhere in the system. Seems like someone who’s been around as long as Mr. Kenney, he must have his head in the sand, or he’s lying.

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

Michael – Just so we’re all clear, what was the extent of your knowledge about this individual and the circumstances surrounding his long-standing disability pension from your department, and what steps did you take to bring any concerns you might have had about him to light?

Patrick
Patrick
11 years ago

“I’m not sure why their shouldn’t be criminal charges for what appears to be blatant fraud.”
And the doctors who approved the claim should also be decertified from the process.

michael
11 years ago

That’s pretty funny, Dan, I’m being cross examined on Anchor Rising. You’ve got to be kidding.

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

If it were up to me, Michael, you and half your current union membership would be directly examined in a courtroom in the criminal trials of Sauro and no small portion of the other 59% out on disability pensions.
Don’t worry, the AG’s office is politically astute if nothing else and far too busy prosecuting potheads and lover’s quarrels to turn its attention to such matters. The Feds certainly don’t want to touch this local crap with a ten foot pole.

Andrew
Editor
11 years ago

Patrick,
I agree that an investigation into any “doctor’s notes” that were issued and that can’t be backed up by medical evidence should be conducted here. It seems to me that that is the weak point in the system that should be easiest to fix.
Dan,
Your question amounts to a crazy person seeing Tim White’s story on TV and running down to the nearest fire station and screaming WHAT DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS!?!?!. The only reason you are asking the question to Michael is because he is the first FF you have any kind of one-on-one access to, and is not appropriate.

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

That’s not accurate, Andrew. Michael stated here that he knows the individual in the video specifically and well enough to have formed opinions about him. This specific issue has been a long-running topic of discussion on this forum and Michael has made statements to the effect that fraud is not a problem in the department anymore. I have long advocated for honest firefighters accepting more responsibility for the abuses of their brethren, and this is in line with that advocacy. If you don’t understand how this fits into the bigger picture, then you haven’t been paying attention. This is a cumulative problem that is solved on the individual level. I don’t see what’s “crazy person” about that, and there is nothing random about it.

michael
11 years ago

I’ve become a good judge of character. I don’t like John Sauro. I have no idea what his health problems or injury status is. He looks fine to me. I hope the people who oversee these things do their job, I have little or no control over that. I’m more worried about the CPR Re certification than I am about him.

Andrew
Editor
11 years ago

Dan,
If you want to conduct your own personal investigation into this matter, there are venues that a government lawyer such as yourself can utilize that will bring you into contact with a proper sampling of Providence firefighters, but that doesn’t make asking first firefighter who happened to cross your field of vision into the same thing.
You are behaving in the manner of a crackpot, who adds a few stylistic trappings to a jumble of ideas that would be deemed unsuitable for consideration in the relevant professional forum — apparently, you’d like to subpeona everyone who says they ever knew Sauro to testify what they knew about his disability. I don’t really think that would fly in the legal system.
Oh, in the veranancular, a crackpot is known as a crazy person.

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
11 years ago

To Dan & Patrick: Go pound sand. You guys are a real joke. For the rest of the readers & contributors here: I know Michael very well. I would never, however, take the liberty to talk for him. I would never think that I knew “everything” about him. Many here think that because we’re Prov FF’s we were aware of this person’s pension particulars. Guess what? I didn’t. I do not know John Sauro very well. I knew him in passing during his time on the job. I don’t know anything about his original injury or pension application or doctors reports. I don’t know anything about his present medical condition (although it would certainly seem to the viewer of these videos that he’s in great “overall” shape) or the doctor’s recertification letter he provided the city. Neither do any of you. As far as I’m concerned I’d like to see this case (and any other suspected abuses) thoroughly investigated and let the chips fall where they may. This is MY pension system. Any abusers are jeopardizing my chance to collect my “fair” pension later on. For the record: I never said there are “no abuses” of our pension system. What I’ve posted many times on this forum and others is that there were widespread abuses in the system in the 80’s & early 90’s. Since that time there have been numerous ordinances and safeguards put in place to stop abusive disability pensions from beginning or to stop them at a later time if fraud is found. As for the stopping of pensions at a later time – that requires an investigation – the investigation require $$$ – those with the power to begin the investigations are not willing to spend the $$$$ unless they are sure there is an abuse.… Read more »

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

Andrew – For the second time, Michael didn’t “happen to cross my field of vision.” This specific problem has been a long-running topic between us and on this blog. Michael stated that he personally knows the individual in the article, and has denied the pervasiveness of disability fraud in the department before. My questions are directly relevant and he opened the door to them with his own statements.
I’m sorry that you have some sort of personal problem with me that leads you to attack me in half the threads I post in because you consider me an “elitist” for whatever reason, but I have no interest in your inferiority complex and your specific accusations here are not accurate. That you seem to think this is some sort of administrative issue that can be solved through traditional venues indicates to me that you are hopelessly naive and just one small part of Rhode Island’s perpetual stagnation.
You know what? I’ll go on the record and state that in the scenario you ridicule, somebody in Rhode Island actually getting angry enough to go down to the fire station and give them a piece of their mind would be a good first spark in returning accountability. That specific department and the entire state need a complete culture overhaul if Rhode Island is ever going to overcome the crushing apathy and cyclical financial problems that have plagued it for decades. I’m all for constructive problem solving, but if the taxpayers can’t “get mad” over these abuses first, then you might as well give up now.

Andrew
Editor
11 years ago

Dan,
At some point in the future when you are a little calmer, I hope you are able to take some time to reflect on how telling someone they shouldn’t be talking back to you in the comments section (of their own blog!) might project the image of having an inflated view of one’s own status.
And the traditional venues for dealing with financing state and local governments are just fine. We don’t yet need to declare some sort of state-of-emergency to fix the pension and disability systems, we just need to get everyone to take a steely-eyed look at the fiscal and governance issues involved.

Patrick
11 years ago

Hey Tom, I guess I got my answer. You said you weren’t aware of any abuses anymore. Here’s one that was caught fairly easily. I didn’t say you knew about it. I said you either had your head in the sand or you’re a liar. I guess it was the former.

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

Good luck, Andrew. Let us know when you’ve resolved Rhode Island’s cyclical financial problems and corruption. Just a matter of getting the administrative policies of various government offices in order. No need to hold individuals accountable or try to effect a real culture change within the agencies. That’s crackpot stuff.

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
11 years ago

Hey Patrick,
You’re still not making any sense – as usual.
“Here’s one that was caught fairly easily.”
Yeah, I had my head in the sand on that one allright. I haven’t seen this guy or heard anything about this guy since he left the job. I didn’t realize that it was my rsponsibility to keep track of him.
There’s about 500 active Prov firefighters and at least that many retired. If one of them is guilty of anything at all, you’re saying that if I didn’t acknowledge that fact that I’m either covering it up or burying my head in the sand to avoid seeing.
Do you know everything about every previous co-worker?
I’m absolutely sure that you do. Otherwise you wouldn’t ignorantly accuse me of anything here. You’re just too righteous a character!! lol

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

“Do you know everything about every previous co-worker?”
Simply sitting at my desk and walking the halls at my job, I hear A LOT of stuff at my job about current and former employees, and I’m sure with the presence of “the brotherhood,” the PFD is a lot chummier than my office is. You can’t tell me that when somebody in the department goes out on disability at age 35 that nobody knows anything about it. Even if the original circumstances weren’t suspicious (highly unlikely), somebody must have seen this guy socially in all the time he was collecting and known something wasn’t right. Something like this would be gossip city for months anywhere I’ve ever worked. Although, to be fair to you, with 59% of your department going out on disability, it simply might not be that extraordinary any more, which is a very sad statement in itself. And you also can’t tell me that that 59% sounds completely legitimate to you – that doesn’t even pass the laugh test.
Tom – The painfully obvious reality is that your department needs a culture change. Vigilance and responsibility are severely lacking. If you care so deeply about the department’s image, you can start your efforts there. 10-20 more stories about firefigthers turning in their brothers defrauding the system will be a good first step in getting back the credibility that your department has lost through so many years of neglect, abuse, and apathy.

sierra1
sierra1
11 years ago

Dan and Patrick
So as a union member I’m supposed to work 40+ hours a week, spend time with wife and kids, take them to hockey, baseball, soccer, birthday parties, etc. Perform the usual household chores everyone’s got, take a little time for my self to work out and then with the remaining few hours of the night I’m supposed to surveil a former co-worker who was given a pension a decade ago (this after having been medically reviewed by a panel of three doctors, his, the city’s, and a nuetral)?
What your proposing sounds good-we should all be on top of the pension abuses that go on but how about a little common sense and Dan you say you hear alot about former co-workers…remind me who turned this guy in to Tim White again?

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

Like I said, Sierra, this is a good start. A dozen or so more stories like this and the department will have gone a long way toward turning around the abuse and deterring new recruits from engaging in the same wretched behavior. Nobody is asking you to surveil anyone. Just don’t turn a blind eye anymore and if something you hear sounds suspicious, let somebody know.

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
11 years ago

“…if something you hear sounds suspicious, let somebody know.”
Great sentiment. If I turned you in for something I heard about you that “sounded” suspicious you’d either beat me to a pulp or sue me for defamation of character.
Dan, how many people have you heard about that “might” be collecting Workman’s Comp or TDI or SSI unjustly? How many people have you heard about that “may have” cheated on their taxes? How many people have you heard about who “might have” been guilty of stealing something?
Dan, how many of these people have you turned in to the proper authorities?
Get off your high horse.
“If” he is guilty I hope he pays dearly for it. “If” he is not I hope he gets cleared publicly. “If” there is someone else out there (and I’m sure that there probably is) scamming a disability pension I hope he gets caught and punished also.
I would only ask that “no one” is stripped of anything merely because something looks suspicious. I would only ask that “all” members of that profession not be held accountable for the actions of a few.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
11 years ago

you also can’t tell me that that 59% sounds completely legitimate to you
Posted by Dan at April 30, 2011 5:24 PM
Once again we should all be very very very very very proud of mayor Gayvid and his “cleaning up the city”.
Those phony disability checks? Not to worry-Igliozzi, Taveres and Kerbel will get right to work on them.
LOL

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

Here’s what you aren’t getting, Tom – this isn’t about some random guy you hear about in an isolated event. Your department has a major, systemic problem. It has a public image problem and it has a very real problem with widespread disability fraud in fact. Perhaps it isn’t “fair” to you, but because of this you personally have to be *extra* vigilant; you have to be *extra* proactive in addressing these issues. You have to be these things because of many, many firefighters in your department, past and present, who let the taxpayers down. Most of all, you personally need to stop taking to the internet like the caped crusader and defending the brotherhood like there isn’t a problem, because that just hurts the credibility of the department further and makes you the object of ridicule. Be up front with people that 59% retiring on disability pensions is outrageous and shameful and it’s something that you personally are doing your part to correct. Everyone here would have so much respect for you and what you do if you could just be up front with us instead of spreading unionist newsletter propaganda and wallpapering over the problem all the time. Be part of the solution, Tom. With your department’s troubled history and stories like this emerging all the time, it’s not enough to just not be part of the problem.

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
11 years ago

“You have to be these things because of many, many firefighters in your department, past and present, who let the taxpayers down.”
This is “your” opinion of Providence firefighters.

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

No, not opinion. 59% of your department retiring early on disability is a fact, and that statistic is outrageous. You can’t possibly defend that as legitimate, it’s not even remotely plausible. Half that percentage would raise eyebrows. It’s time to get real about the disability fraud problems occurring in your department, Tom, and take responsibility for fixing them, even if you aren’t the cause. It’s time to put aside all the angry union class warfare rhetoric and get real about turning this all around. If you truly love the department then you owe it a responsibility for leaving it a more honest and respectable place than you found it. That means turning in all the fraudsters that make you look bad every day of their pathetic lives and unfairly tarnish the firefighting profession as a whole. It’s not enough to simply ostracize them and grumble within the brotherhood ranks anymore. Prosecutions need to happen and we both know the AG’s office isn’t going to do squat unless you serve these individuals up on a platter.

Patrick
11 years ago

Sierra, you’re not the “working class hero” who claimed this sort of thing doesn’t happen anymore and vouches that Paul Doughty is a great upstanding guy. Then this kind of story comes out. It’s just funny to watch Kenney dance now.
I think in these discussions, michael is at least intellectually honest about them, at least that’s the way I read his comments. Tom, not so much. In previous months, it was posted that this kind of crap was going on and he denied it. He’s been with the PFD for many years and claims to know of no wrong-doing. Mmm-hmm.

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
11 years ago

Hopefully I’ll wise up and not return your jabs after this, Dan. but… You are an intentional liar. Perhaps that’s why you say you’re so good at lawyering. I’m getting tired of listening to you badmouth firefighters by purposely posting misinformation. I’m getting tired of you attempting to publicly call me a liar. Perhaps I should just let it go, but I like to think that some other readers can at least read the truth…God knows they’ll never get it from you. Please go read Marc’s post from February 15, 2011 – Comparison: Firefighter Disability Pension Rates You were an active contributer to the debate which followed his post. It was mentioned at least 3 times in that post and the follwing debate that the 59% disability percentage for Prov FF’s was a total percentage that included every disability pension from the 80’s & 90’s (which both Michael & myself have acknowledged were years when the system was abused). The percentage of disability pensions from those years was between 90% & 97% depending oon the individual year. ONLY WHEN THOSE ABUSIVE PERCENTAGES (from probably around 5 times the number who have received pensions over the last ten years) ARE INCLUDED IN CALCULATING TOTAL DISABILITY PERCENTAGES DOES THIS EQUAL 59%!! You’re supposed to be a smart guy. What part of that don’t you understand? It was stated in that posting that the present disability percentages over the last few years were closer to around 15%. I don’t know what the year to year percentages have been over the last few years but 15% – 20% seems about right. Can I defend the percentage of disability pensions given to Prov FF’s over the last 10 years? You’re damn right I can. As a matter of fact I know more than a few… Read more »

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

But Tom, all those (now acknowledged) 80’s and 90’s fraudsters from your department are still collecting their disability pensions THIS YEAR. So I’m not a liar, and what I posted is entirely accurate. The 59% figure is an increase from 2008, by the way, not the decrease that would logically follow if what you were saying was accurate.
Say, you were at the department during all of those “bad years” too, weren’t you? Cat had your tongue back then? Or only now do you see the cyclical abuse for what it was (and still is)?
I’m proud of you though. As of three months ago, you were still stuck in Stage 1: Denial. You’ve moved well into Stage 2 now: Anger. Stage 3 is Bargaining, which is where we really need to be to start turning the corrupt, bankrupt city of Providence around. It can even be collective bargaining, if you prefer.

Monique
Editor
11 years ago

It bears repeating that this … “gentleman” was turned in by a firefighter. Bravo and well they should for their OWN sake. Not only does it take all of us to fight this kind of fraud but, as Michael pointed out, it diminishes our ability to pay legitimate fire pensions.
Let’s not lose sight of who is most responsible for this looting of OUR money: our elected officials. When there’s a pot of gold sitting someplace, there are always going to be crooks prowling around trying to get their hands on it.
But we elect people to prevent that from happening and safeguard our gold. That clearly is not happening in Providence. Of course, this guy should be criminally charged (and don’t forget the perjury charge, General Kilmartin). More importantly, however, what are Providence’s elected officials doing to kick the other crooks out of the vault and stem the illegitimate flow of our gold?
At a minimum, every disability pension in Providence (not just the fire dept) needs to be actively revisited by the city itself, and not via this laughable, re-certify yourself ordinance that was passed in 2008.
One crook dipping into the pot is bad but a lack of vigilance in guarding the whole pot will be the end of us.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
11 years ago

Actually, the projo article states that the number of “disabled” retirees has gone UP from 56% in 07 to 59% now.

michael
11 years ago

This is a little late to the party, but I’ve been busy. Dan, I think you are the first person who comments here that I’ve ever seen get a “time out.” Andrew was trying to open your eyes and stop embarrassing yourself, but like any petulant little brat you simply forged ahead and continued to prove why I cannot take you seriously.
Sauro was in my academy (the Fire Department equivalent of boot camp)spent six months with him, I got to know every person there quite well. Once we graduated I lost track of him, may have seen him three times before he went off on a disability, and since that time haven’t seen or thought of him. Contrary to your beliefs, the job of firefighter is extremely busy, and you do well by paying attention to your own training and fitness, and doing everything you can to stay on top of things. I simply don’t have time to worry about the John Sauro’s of the world.
In case you haven’t noticed, you are leading a one man charge here, with very few exceptions, but even they fizzle out.
Hello Tom, see you at the big one! (that’s an old firefighter expression referring to a general alarm fire for those of you (Dan) who are firing up their keyboards with some smarta** response)

Max Diesel
Max Diesel
11 years ago

Tommy,
I understand you’re in the precarious position of defending your members but there has to be a change in culture that advocates holding your members accountable and less time attacking critics, ie. calling Depetro’s sponsors. But that requires leadership and maybe you’re just not the person for the job.

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
11 years ago

Max:
I never claimed to be the person for the job.
“…there has to be a change in culture that advocates holding your members accountable…”
There has been. What part of going from 97% disability per year to 15% disability per year don’t you recognize as change?

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
11 years ago

Tommy Cranston,
I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt because, unlike Da, you’ve never boasted on here that you’re intelligent.
“Actually, the projo article states that the number of “disabled” retirees has gone UP from 56% in 07 to 59% now.”
That is a percentage of ALL retirees not yearly retirees. To raise from 56% to 59% over 4 years would merely take 1 extra disability pension per year as compared to the yearly numbers from 2000 – 2007.
That is returning to abuse?
Also Tommy,

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

Michael has also moved into Stage 2. This is a very promising departure from the “we’ve witnessed no fraud” thin red line that we were being stonewalled with before.
Tom, if the numbers you quote were actually legitimate and the percentage of disability pensions from your department didn’t rise over the past three years, you might have something resembling a point.
When we’re talking about a culture change, we aren’t only talking about new retirees, by the way. We are talking about the firefighter retirees from the “bad years” (during which you also worked in the department and presumably did nothing about the problem then) who continue to bankrupt the city year after year through disability fraud. Current firefighters need to take a role in correcting the problem if they want to regain any credibility with the taxpayers. It’s not enough to just say, “Ok… no more fraud starting… now!” Round up the fraudsters that are out there now, because the AG’s office sure isn’t going to do it.

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
11 years ago

Dan,
“But Tom, all those (now acknowledged) 80’s and 90’s fraudsters from your department are still collecting their disability pensions THIS YEAR.”
Boy, you certainly are master of the obvious. You must be as intelligent as you say!
As for the snide “now acknowledged” remark…I’ve always acknowledged the past problem. Do you expect me to go and strip those guys of their pensions?
“Say, you were at the department during all of those “bad years” too, weren’t you? Cat had your tongue back then?”
Because I didn’t turn someone in on a rumor?
Where’s your answer to the question I posted to you…
“Dan, how many people have you heard about that “might” be collecting Workman’s Comp or TDI or SSI unjustly? How many people have you heard about that “may have” cheated on their taxes? How many people have you heard about who “might have” been guilty of stealing something?
Dan, how many of these people have you turned in to the proper authorities?”
Cat got your tongue, Danny Boy?
And yes the question to you is relevant because you’re deriding the character of Michael and myself for not doing the same thing.

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

“To raise from 56% to 59% over 4 years would merely take 1 extra disability pension per year as compared to the yearly numbers from 2000 – 2007.”
Except that if what you are claiming is true, and the problem really does stem exclusively from rampant abuse decades ago, then at this point in time we should expect to see the fraudsters of the past dying off at a greater rate than new fraudsters enter the system. That isn’t happening statistically, and the disability rate is rising. It doesn’t mean that more fraud is taking place today than back then, granted, but it does mean that this neat little narrative you are feeding us has some holes in it.

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

Tom, nobody can correct all the evils of the world and it is useless or counterproductive to try. I don’t expect you to go around turning people in for concealing petty cash from babysitting income. We have to focus our attention and resources where the fraud is most prevalent and most expensive. I already explained that your extra responsibility here regarding this specific problem stems from the highly-publicized rampant abuse that plagued your department for decades, while under your watch I might add. The city of Providence is essentially bankrupt and the retirees from your department are a significant source of the problem, therefore the public attention is rightfully focused on you to help ferret out these individuals, since you are in the best position to know what’s going on. Disability fraud isn’t a recognized problem in my office. If it was then you can be damn sure I’d let somebody know about suspected abusers, because if I did nothing then I’d be enabling the problem and allowing those individuals to tarnish my reputation as well. Again, nobody expects you to go out and surveil anyone. We just want a culture change in your department in which everyone keeps their ears open and does their part to stop future and more importantly current abuse.

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
11 years ago

And finally – Patrick,
Personal public attacks on me are BS.
“Sierra, you’re not the “working class hero” who claimed this sort of thing doesn’t happen anymore…”
Again, Patrick, go pound sand you ignorant little twirp!
“It’s just funny to watch Kenney dance now.”
I’m not dancing, but you sure are proving that you’re simply attacking on old formed hard feelings as opposed to inteligently following the discourse.
Sorry, I may be wrong on the inteligent thing, you may have Dan’s type of inteligence.
“I think in these discussions, michael is at least intellectually honest about them, at least that’s the way I read his comments. Tom, not so much. In previous months, it was posted that this kind of crap was going on and he denied it. He’s been with the PFD for many years and claims to know of no wrong-doing. Mmm-hmm.”
I NEVER said it NEVER went on (just because you and Dan want to say that Michael & I have said that over the years doesn’t make it so)!!
I’ve said that the system is more than fair to the taxpayers now, holding recent and future retirees to a much tougher standard of proof – actually it is too tough and sometimes unfair to FF’s.
As for calling me dishonest, coming from your mouth that’s a real joke!
As I’ve stated before, I’m sick of having to put up with lies, insinuations & personal insults from the likes of you and Dan and Tommy.
If my last few posts seem to be personal attacks on the credibility of these individuals, they are. But, they are no more personal than what they’ve posted about me. The only difference is that mine are factual!

michael
11 years ago

“Michael has also moved into Stage 2. This is a very promising departure from the “we’ve witnessed no fraud” thin red line that we were being stonewalled with before.”
Stage 2? What is stage 2? I haven’t moved a thing. That’s the beauty of being intellectually honest, you never have to worry about what you said or wrote in the past. When you get here Dan, you will understand.

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
11 years ago

Mike,
“That’s the beauty of being intellectually honest, you never have to worry about what you said or wrote in the past. When you get here Dan, you will understand.”
Absolutely perfect…but, unfortunately I don’t think he’ll ever reach that level.

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
11 years ago

Dan,
You state: “Except that if what you are claiming is true, and the problem really does stem exclusively from rampant abuse decades ago, then at this point in time we should expect to see the fraudsters of the past dying off at a greater rate than new fraudsters enter the system. That isn’t happening statistically, and the disability rate is rising. It doesn’t mean that more fraud is taking place today than back then, granted, but it does mean that this neat little narrative you are feeding us has some holes in it.”
I thought you said you were intelligent? You can’t understand what I stated about 1 extra disability pension (on average) over the last 4 years could have skewed the numbers? Also, some of those disability pensions are now being collected by widows who were, by and large, stay at home mothers who very routinely live to their upper 80’s and 90’s.
Dan, if you want to argue your point with real numbers get the percentage of disability pensions from the last 10 years or so. If not, you’re being intelectually dishonest to all those who read this blog.
FYI – we’re talking retirees (and surviving spouses) from the 80’s and 90’s. That dying off rate your speaking of has shown it’s ugly head regarding WWII survivors over the last decade or two…and those were from the 40’s.

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
11 years ago

Dan,
Let’s try to at least be honest with each other, and by this action be honest to the readers out there.
This is a direct quote from the Target 12 story in 2008:
“The stats for the Providence fire department are also affected by the early 1990’s, when nearly 8 out of 10 retiring firefighters were granted an accidental disability pension. Since 2000, that stat has cooled. We find about 1 out of 5 are out on disability.”
They (Target 12 investigators) found about 20% disability pensions in the years beginning in 2000.
Let’s agree on 20%. They state “about 1 out of 5”, so that’s an estimate – it could be a little lower or a little higher.
So…to raise it from 56% of the total to 59% of the total in a space of 4 years let’s say it rose to 25% disability (and I think I’m being too generous to your agruement with this percentage).
The rest of your arguement has to do with pensioners from the 80’s and 90’s. You want those disability pensions investigated. Great. So do I.
If you want to continue to blow a smokescreen of disingenuous “facts” out there to do a character assasination on Prov FF’s, Michael & myself, go right ahead. That only shows who is being intentionally misleading and dishonest in their characterizations.
BTW – Slandering Prov FF’s in public without any facts to back it up is in very poor taste and I resent it very much. That is why I don’t let up on you when you mislead people.

Andrew
Editor
11 years ago

Michael,
One of the things I thought of when I saw Tim White’s report was a story from Rescuing Providence where a veteran firefighter told you in no uncertain terms that a firefighter has to want fires. This came to mind because 1) I suspect that he, others like him and those he helped bring along would not be happy with an able bodied person, who obviously doesn’t want fires, taking money that’s intended for firefighters who do and 2) at least at one time, there were probably old-school ways of dealing with the Sauro situation that would be more direct (and effective) than either a typical HR process or a union procedure.
I think a bunch of the problems we face today come from the fact that we’ve made doing the obvious thing too difficult in our society with strange rules and processes and having to get too many sign-offs from too many people. It’s not just a public sector problem, I see it happening everywhere — though I also do think that Justin is right in his comment way above, that unionization can add a layer of rigidity that exacerbates this problem. But what we really need in this country a broad-based movement to cut through various form of bull when it gets in the way of fixing glaring problems.

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