Avedisian leaving, to head RIPTA

Solomon to become acting mayor, is candidate for job

Posted

Ending ongoing speculation he would not seek reelection to take a post in state government, Mayor Scott Avedisian told his department directors Wednesday morning that he planned to accept the job of RIPTA CEO if the board approved the appointment that afternoon.

That action came as expected, setting up a process where City Council President Joseph Solomon will become acting mayor and Ward 8 Councilman Joseph Gallucci will become president of the council.

The action also opened the floodgates on speculation on who would run for the city’s top elective post and whether both Democratic and Republican parties could face primaries.

Solomon unequivocally said, “Yes, I will be a candidate for mayor.” He said with his accounting, legal and legislative experience, “I think I can do a fine job as mayor…I would hope to be elected for a full two years.” He said “inclusiveness and cooperation” would be trademarks of his administration as acting mayor and if elected to the post.

Richard Corrente, who carried the party’s standard two years ago, has already announced his candidacy. He said yesterday he’s still in the race.

While it is still early, Charles (CJ) Donovan, who served 14 years on the City Council and is now working as a policy analyst for the House of Representatives, said he is interested in returning to public service and is considering a run. There are likely to be more, but already ruling themselves out of the running are Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey, House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi and Ward 4 Councilman Ed Ladouceur. Former Mayor, Governor and U.S. Senator – now a Democrat – Lincoln Chafee also said he wouldn’t be running for mayor.

Several names have emerged as possible Republican candidates.

In response to a phone call, attorney George Shuster responded in an email, “I would very much like to be Mayor someday, but I am not sure that now is the right time. I am thinking it through.”

Shuster was active in the Apponaug Improvement Association and play a key role in founding the Rocky Point Foundation that lobbied for the state bond issue that eventually enabled state purchase and preservation of more than 80 acres of the park. In a shaky voice with some department directors drying tears, Avedisian opened his remarks on Wednesday asking for the prayers and thoughts for the mother of one director who is ailing. He also preceded his comments with the announcement he has received a letter of retirement from Fire Chief James McLaughlin. McLaughlin will have served 30 years by May 29. He said he plans to stay on until June 10 in order to complete the upcoming budget cycle.

“Twenty-eight years ago, I walked into this building and sat in that seat as a 25-year-old newly minted member of the City Council. And it’s been a really exciting 28 years,” Avedisian began.

“Look at all the wonderful things this city has done, between City Centre, Rocky Point, the airport, Apponaug, you all have an awful lot to be proud of and to point to a wonderful legacy of great accomplishments. And that’s all because of you, all the work you have done, and the wonderful service you’ve given to the 83 to 84,000 people in the city,” he said. No special election

Avedisian said he has requested his start date with RIPTA be delayed until after May 11 – about a month, he said – so as to avoid the expense of a special election and to work on the city budget. Avedisian also said he would be talking to Solomon about the budget and asked for the cooperation of his directors in making the transition.

A RIPTA release issued yesterday afternoon did not specify when Avedisian who start in his new job.

“Scott’s long, successful experience with RIPTA means he has an in-depth understanding of the Agency that enables him to immediately provide leadership in continuing our progress towards making RIPTA a success,” said Kezirian. “It’s a perfect fit for where RIPTA is today, and where we want to be in the future,” said RIPTA board chair Wayne Kezirian in a statement.

“He is an excellent choice to lead RIPTA. I look forward to working with him to keep Rhode Island moving and provide Rhode Islanders with high quality access to public transportation,” said Gov. Gina Raimondo in the release.

In recent years rumors have surfaced on more than one occasion that once Avedisian had reached the combination of age and years in office for retirement that he would take a job in private industry or government. Asked of his plans last month, Avedisian told the Beacon he usually makes his political announcements in May and that this year would be no different.

What prompted him to accelerate a decision?

Avedisian didn’t offer a clue, but the ongoing rift between him and the council that has torpedoed initiatives such as the sale of the former Aldrich Junior High School and shelved bids to purchase fire apparatus and a sanitation truck has been wearing. Clearly there has not been open communication. Solomon said he has been included on developments such as contract negotiations and Avedisian has said Solomon doesn’t return calls.

Solomon said yesterday that Avedisian “has had a long career with the City of Warwick.” While he acknowledged they have had their difference, “We have had things that we’ve worked on together; we have built a lot of good things together.” Solomon said that both he and Avedisian “put the people of Warwick first.”

In his comments to directors, Avedisian said, “By Monday, if you could all give me an update to your departments as to pressing issues right away. I’m assuming we’ll have about a month to work on all these things. I expect everyone to give him [Solomon] the same support and encouragement you’ve always given me,” he said.

Avedisian didn’t speak as to what promoted his decision at this time, when evidently other opportunities came up within recent years.

Nonetheless, even one of his closest friends, Mark Russell, sensed the mayor was ready to open a new chapter in this life. Russell, who has worked on Avedisian’s campaigns from 1988 and his first bid for the Ward 1 Council seat said he was “glad” for Avedisian.

“I had the funny feeling he wasn’t going to run,” he said. “Nobody can do the same thing forever.”

Russell noted that no fundraisers had been planned, which reinforced his belief that the time had come.

GoLocal Providence first broke the news on Tuesday afternoon that the RIPTA board would be voting in closed and public sessions on appointing a new CEO during their Wednesday afternoon meeting, and that Avedisian was a candidate for the position.

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung declined to comment on the development at this time through a spokesman.

Brandon Bell, chairman of the state GOP, said that if Avedisian were to take the job, his presence would be missed by state Republicans.

"He's done some great things and brought a great perspective to the party and he's done some really great things. He'd be missed, but I'd also wish him well if he were to do it," Bell said shortly after the story broke on Tuesday. "He's one of the best retail politicians that I've known. He's learned a lot from on-the-job training but he's also a natural. I think he gives a great name to our brand and the Republican party and the Rhode Island Republican party specifically. I would hate to lose him."

Former Mayor of Warwick, Governor and US Senator Lincoln Chafee pointed out hat as governor he appointed Avedisian to the board of RIPTA in 2011, a post he held for five years until resigning in 2016. Chafee said Avedisian is “well respected” at RIPTA and played a key role in turning the agency around.

Chafee said Avedisian said he confided in him that he was “looking at different options” to seeking another term in office.

Asked about department directors, who are in non-classified jobs, Avedisian said as acting mayor Solomon would have the authority to make changes. As the fire chief would not retire until June, Avedisian said that would become Solomon’s appointment.

Solomon said he has a great deal of respect for the professionalism and compassion Chief McLaughlin has demonstrated. He believes there are many qualified candidates from within the ranks to fill the job of chief.

Avedisian’s plans at RIPTA

In the release Avedisian said he is excited about the opportunity to lead RIPTA, which he described as being an essential component of a successful economy, and provided Rhode Islanders with 16.6 million trips last year.

“You can’t have a world-class economy without a world-class transit system,” Avedisian said. “I’m looking forward to working with the great team at RIPTA to build on what’s already been done to create that model transit system for our state,” he said.

Avedisian also noted the important role of public transit in reducing the number of cars on Rhode Island’s roads, easing traffic congestion and reducing emissions and environmental impacts.

Capitalizing on successful routes and creating a more flexible system will be two of Avedisian’s priorities, he said.

“Overall, we need to build a new RIPTA that meets the needs of existing customers – and future customers - where they are,” he said. “A system that is innovative enough to be flexible has tremendous potential for growth.”  Connecting RIPTA with Rhode Island’s colleges and universities will be another priority, Avedisian said. “These institutions are engines of Rhode Island’s future economy, and we need to do our part to make those connections efficiently and effectively.”

Comments

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Justanidiot

master taxpayers mayer, how could you leaves us after so longs. and to be a bus driver. da citi is goinng to crumble

Thursday, April 26
CrickeeRaven

According to the article, the make-believe mayor "said yesterday he’s still in the race."

Given his past campaign activities, we should expect the make-believe mayor to waste tens of thousands of dollars, repeat his already disproven statements, suggest impractical changes to city and school operations, humiliate himself in debates and media appearances, and be overwhelmingly defeated by honest, taxpaying voters at the first opportunity.

Most importantly, the make-believe mayor will find he can no longer get voters' attention through his antics; Council President Solomon's tenure as acting mayor will provide him a highly visible platform that he will then translate into an easy primary victory over the make-believe mayor, who will thus end his losing political career as an insignificant footnote in Warwick's political history.

Thursday, April 26
richardcorrente

I wish Mayor Avedisian well as he leaves Warwick to head up RIPTA.

Here is a recap of his last few years.

For 17 years in a row Mayor Avedisian raised taxes EVERY SINGLE YEAR and no one stopped him. No one!

THEN,, I came along and campaigned to "Cut Taxes - Cut Spending" for 700 days in a row and spent $40,000 of my own money doing it.

THEN,, the 80,000 taxpayers who are paying the tab responded LOUDLY! They gave me 13,278 votes, more than ANY previous Avedisian opponent. I greatly appreciated their support and look forward to earning even more of it this year!

THEN,, those 80,000 taxpayers LOUDLY delivered my "Cut Taxes - Cut Spending" message to the City Council.

THEN,, (in the 2017 budget) Avedisian tried to raise taxes 29 times! He got shot down every time by the City Council that LOUDLY heard my message from the 80,000 taxpayers that are paying the tab!

THEN,, Avedisian decided to leave and take the job at RIPTA.

I believe I had something to do with that. I believe my "Cut Taxes - Cut Spending" campaign had a LOT to do with it My critics will probably disagree. The readers can decide for themselves.

Side note:

While Scott Avedisian was Chairman of the Board of Directors at RIPTA, a second job he took while he was also Mayor of Warwick (2011-2016), RIPTA, by their own financial statements, had their assets plummet by $14,703,460, their liabilities skyrocket by $79,579,486, and their income crash by $2,554,279 PER YEAR!!! That's $6,998 PER DAY!!!

I won't judge that performance, but the readers should.

I wish him well at RIPTA. I hope readers can see why I opposed him so much when he was splitting his time between the two jobs. The responsibilities of Mayor require 60 to 70 hours a week in my opinion. And in 2017, Scott Avedisian went on vacation 14 times. That's more than one vacation a month!

I will give my full effort to the enormous task of being Mayor of Warwick.

I will do everything possible to "Cut Taxes - Cut Spending".

I consider myself a servant of those "80,000 taxpayers that are paying the tab".

My first responsibility has always and will always, be to them.

Happy Spring everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Thursday, April 26
Justanidiot

the bored of erections is still waiting for an accounting of the 700 daze

Thursday, April 26
CrickeeRaven

Well, Justanidiot, we know the make-believe "mayor" didn't spend any of that time actually correcting his many false statements, like these:

"THEN, (in the 2017 budget) Avedisian tried to raise taxes 29 times! He got shot down every time by the City Council that LOUDLY heard my message from the 80,000 taxpayers that are paying the tab!"

This statement is false, and the make-believe "mayor" only keeps repeating it in a pathetic attempt to keep getting some kind of attention for his soon-to-fail campaign.

Here's the truth of the matter:

"Corrente is misreporting how the budget was passed in Warwick. For this year’s budget, the council proposed 29 amendments that reduced proposed city spending by about $750,000 and held back $3 million in school funding while the teachers contract was negotiated... So, Avedisian did not “try to pass” those 29 amendments; none of the amendments were aimed at increasing taxes; and not all of the council votes on the amendments were unanimous."

- "I believe I had something to do with that. I believe my "Cut Taxes - Cut Spending" campaign had a LOT to do with it..."

False. "Corrente is taking credit for the city council passing a tax cut when the tax rate is staying the same, whereas he criticized Avedisian for raising taxes last year, when the tax rate went down, and also claiming tax and spending cuts when both are actually increasing."

- "My first responsibility has always and will always, be to them."

False. "According to Corrente’s own formulation, he will “represent” the people who donate to his campaign. So, since he provided 90.25 percent of the funding for his 2016 run while contributions comprised 9.25 percent, Corrente apparently represents himself and a few local Democratic politicians."

Full article is here: https://warwickpost.com/digit-spinner-richard-corrente-fudges-numbers/

- "For 17 years in a row Mayor Avedisian raised taxes EVERY SINGLE YEAR and no one stopped him. No one!"

False. The city council reduced proposed tax increases many times over the last 17 years.

- "And in 2017, Scott Avedisian went on vacation 14 times."

False. These were business development trips and attendance at national mayor's conferences, not "vacations."

As long as the make-believe "mayor" continues to repeat these false statements, this information will be posted to inform readers of the facts.

He should enjoy the last few chances he gets to run against actual Mayor Scott Avedisian, because once Council President Solomon formally joins the race, the make-believe "mayor" will become even more of an afterthought than he already is in Warwick.

I eagerly await the day that honest, taxpaying voters end the make-believe "mayor's" political aspirations with yet another overwhelming defeat.

Thursday, April 26
patientman

2012 Mayor Avedisian, in his role as RIPTA Chairman, hired Ray Studley to be RIPTA's CEO.

2017 In May Ray Studley anounced his resignation as CEO of RIPTA.

2017 In November Mayor Avedisian announces Ray Studley as his Chief of Staff.

2018 Mayor Avedisian resigns his job to become CEO of RIPTA.

I wonder what Studley has been promised and who else might be involved.

Thursday, April 26
Scal1024

Oh yes Rick. The mayor saw a pathetic deadbeat candidate, who he literally beat with 2x the amount of votes, who also has a trail of tax delinquency, litigation losses and lies as far as the eye can see. I'm sure he was shaking every day since the last election where he embarrassed you. In a year for outsider candidates...you got less than 13,000 votes...respectfully shut your mouth you fraud you are embarrassing yourself.

I am actually disgusted by the amount of lies Rick Corrente tells. He doesn't understand taxes, he certainly doesn't ever pay them on time, he doesn't understand the schools and the way the budget works. He doesn't understand line items as he's never named a single one he would cut in order to "cut spending". He is an empty suit which is why he was embarrassed in his debate last year (anyone is free to watch it).

The erratic behavior knows no limits. Yesterday Rick wished the mayor well and said he found him warm and genuine. I pointed to an article where a young boy drowned where Corrente stated the mayor should resign and called him a "disgusting coward". Does that sound warm and genuine? Fast forward to today where Corrente says the mayor is leaving office because of him..................I'm sorry I literally could not stop laughing. You have as much to do with the mayor leaving office as I had to do with the moon landing.

Once again your campaign will be full of propaganda (your message worked, the mayor left because of you, the city council cut taxes, you aren't a tax delinquent) because you have no answers as to what taxes you'll reduce or what spending you'll cut.

You have always said you will cut taxes by attracting new voters. New voters aren't arriving on day 1.

How will you cut taxes immediately?

How will you cut spending? And what specifically will you be cutting?

Thursday, April 26
RISchadenfreude

"City director of buildings and grounds, Joe Blake, joined other municipal directors in thanking Mayor Scott Avedisian yesterday morning after he told them he would be leaving the job to become CEO of RIPTA."...let us all follow Joe's lead and thank the mayor for leaving!

Gotta love the Beacon's copy editors / proofreaders (If they have any) for that gem of a caption!

...and let's settle the "Taxpayers' Mayor" (See- it's possessive plural!) business at the next election.

Friday, April 27
CrickeeRaven

Scal, the one thing we've learned consistently from the make-believe "mayor" is that he will always find a way to humiliate himself even further than he already has. As you correctly point out, no logical, reasonable person would think that he had anything to do with Mayor Avedisian's decision to take the RIPTA job.

What we are seeing are the last desperate attempts by the make-believe "mayor" to attract attention to himself; as he has consistently shown, the only attention he gets for his delusional statements is more honest, taxpaying voters learning the truth about him and making the logical decision to reject his hopeless candidacy.

We can certainly expect, after Council President Solomon thoroughly defeats him in the expected Democratic primary, that the make-believe "mayor" will somehow again claim victory. Fortunately, that will mark the last time anyone will have to see or hear him before he rightly becomes an insignificant footnote in Warwick election history,

Friday, April 27
Kammy

There aren't 80,000 taxpayers in the city of Warwick. At the very least you should have basic facts down before speaking. You keep saying your campaign is why 80,000 taxpayers said no to taxes. DUDE, everyone says no to new taxes. You are nothing but a vain (useless) peacock strutting around with puffed chest over absolutely nothing.

Friday, April 27
Thecaptain

Something to speculate on pertaining to Avedisians departure.

Presently the city has $900 million in unfunded liabilities between pensions, healthcare, and bonds. For example, every employee leaves with free lifetime healthcare. A healthcare account functions much like a pension fund. The participants pay into it, the monies are invested at a return, and the fund is self perpetuating. Can anyone guess how much money is in the Warwick healthcare fund? $0. Thats right, zero dollars, not a penny, yet there is a $310 million dollar liability for the current retirees. That debt will only continue to grow. Fire 1,has a $314 million dollar unfunded liability. The list goes on.

Schools and roads are in deplorable conditions. The city assets are declining and our liabilities are increasing. These are facts which are easily substantiated. The unions will now say that they had a great year and 3 of the 4 pensions are funded at or above 75%, however, the historical rate of return is about 5.8%, yet we are calculating our debt ratio based upon a return of 7.5%.

The city Lease purchase program is maxed out, yet the fire department wants to buy 3 pieces of apparatus and somehow write it off to next years budget while the expenditure is actually on this years balance sheets.

The previous finance director Ernie Zymlinski put forth a fiscal note on PCR-74-15 which indicated that the 3 year increase to fire fighter unused sick pay bonus under the new contract was $182,800. The actual 1 year impact was $649,421 - a slight miscalculation.

But there's more:

The Warwick Fire Dept. was recently caught destroying financial related documents that by state law are required to be retained for 3 years. This resulted in 2 state agency investigations. The SOS and the AG both. It culminated in a team of people coming to the WFD and bringing in the chief, his executive staff, and the mayors staff to "TEACH" them how they are supposed to retain documents. As of last week, criminal proceedings have not been ruled out.

The fact is that just because your garbage is picked up on time and water comes out of your faucet, does not mean that the city is running as lean and efficient as possible. Several cases of theft have been brought to litigation, waste and abuse is evident, no GPS in any vehicle, and taxes continue to rise.

Virtually every line item in the budget pertaining to senior services has been cut. Senior center has been closed, the side street winter sanding program eliminated, lifeguard staff reduced, summer work jobs program, all positions given to current employees kids, no postings in the paper. Pension spiking has been evident in a number of cases.

These are issues that you must pay attention to. Unfortunately, the city council chambers is empty at meetings. The general public needs to fill the chambers. But we hear every excuse in the book as to why people don't come to meetings and as to why they don't care.

The bottom line is that you get the government that you deserve. We should all vigorously challenge our elected officials and ask questions. Union members will try to belittle you if you ask questions and bring up valid points. Too bad, my money pays their benefits.

Here's one question for everyone. Guess how many holidays the city pays for and can you name them?

Friday, April 27
Warwick Man

Captain... maybe the state didn’t feel the need to respond to you but the WFD was found to have done nothing wrong ZERO.... or maybe they did and your too afraid to admit defeat AGAIN. How that state police investigation into your impersonating a Warwick Firefighter and bid tampering? Loser... It will come out when necessary...

Friday, April 27
Thecaptain

Warwick Man (boy) or shall I say Bill Lloyd

1. The WFD was found to be in violation of the records retention act Title 38. If you stop hiding and give me your email address I will forward you all of the communication from the SOS.

2. No one impersonated a Warwick fire fighter, there is no state police investigation on bid tampering either. I called the vendor , as I have the right to do so as a tax payer, and requested the specifications on the machine as they were not specified in the bid. Having 30 years experience building, operating, and maintaining high pressure systems., I am very well versed on the subject. Coincidentally, after obtaining the specs I found the identical machine from another vendor several thousand dollars less, and also found that the WFD did not present the fact that there was a $1650 charge to deliver the machine. So please get your facts right and don't skew the truth.

3. Your chief has been known to publicly lie and mis represent facts.

Example - He told councilman Ladouceur that there were a total of 1203 sick days in 2016. Fact was that there were 1915 sick days.

Example - He told councilman Merolla that 100% of the vacation days were covered at straight time by the floaters. Fact is that in the first fiscal quarter, 1105 out of 1105 vacation days were covered at the overtime rate.

Example - He told the council that in no way could a firefighter use Change of Shift to work at another job. Fact is that documents were presented from the State of RI Division of purchasing showing a Warwick Firefighter engaged in a prevailing wage job at Green Hall at URI. The clerk of the works sent me the contract, the bid award, the emails from the Warwick fire fighter to the project manager, the change orders, the bill from the Warwick firefighter, and copies of the payments. All of this information was cross referenced with the accountability sheets showing that man utilized change of shift no less than 7 times on days he worked at URI.

Example- He told the council that change of shift has no impact on the budget. Fact is it preserves vacation days and sick days to me monetized at a later date at a higher rate. 1391 vacation days totaling in excess of $523,00 should have come off the books last year alone. On the weekend of August 18-20, 41 change of shifts were performed so men could go to Maine to play baseball.

Example - Change of shift is a regular occurrence so men that play softball on the team "Smoke Showin" can go play games which start at 6:15pm.

So stop with your nonsense and attempts to discredit someone who actually reads the documents, procures the documents, and has the ability to perform simple math.

Oh yeah, one other fact. The WFD has been in violation of city statutes by masking their sick time and including the numbers in the line item for salary. Every department breaks down that line item. It is line item 100 in every budget. WFD line item is 35-100. Now, because I discovered the abuse and misrepresentation, the WFD is forced to identify all sick time on a separate line item for the purpose fiscal disclosure.

Continue to attempt to disparage the messenger, it will only work with the ill informed.

Friday, April 27
richardcorrente

Dear Kammy,

There are approximately 80,000 people still living in Warwick; a number that decreases every year according to the U.S. Census. I consider them all taxpayers either directly of indirectly. You are certainly free to calculate a different number.

And you're wrong when you said that no one says "No" to new taxes.

Avedisian, for 17 years in a row, never said "No'.

The City Council, for 17 years in a row didn't say "No".

In fact, no one in Warwick politics said "No" until I rallied the 80,000 (or whatever your number is) taxpayers that are paying the tab. Those 80,000 voices delivered my message LOUDLY to the City Council.

That message was never delivered before! Not in 17 years! Not by you. Not by anyone.

Then,, the City Council finally said "No". But they never did before Kammy. Not in 17 years!

Kammy. Your welcome.

P.S. I like that you called me "Dude". And you're right about my "chest being puffed' but it isn't over nothing. I campaigned actively for several hours a day for 700 days in a row and spent over $40,000 of my own money Kammy. That's a strong commitment to the taxpayers. It's certainly not nothing. No one has ever done that before, not even close! I'm very proud of that campaign. You put me down for not getting my "hands dirty". 700 days Kammy. $40,000 of my own money. Wow, you're hard to please.

Happy Spring Kammy.

Happy Spring everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Friday, April 27
CrickeeRaven

Hello again Kammy:

Don't let the make-believe "mayor's" bluster get to you. He's just maintaining his habit of desperately seeking attention. Spending time and money on a losing campaign is not "a commitment to the taxpayers," and as you and I have seen all too often, the make-believe "mayor" is running for office only to achieve some kind of visibility in the city -- which also failed, proven by the fact that he is the only person who thinks he had any kind of influence on city operations.

The city council did not say "no" to higher taxes and spending. The FY18 budget increases both, and the make-believe "mayor's" mindless repetition of his false statements will not change that.

We can be sure that he will maintain his lack of restraint in humiliating himself, right up until his candidacy is overwhelmingly rejected by honest, taxpaying voters at the first opportunity.

Friday, April 27
Thecaptain

This guy (Mayor Dumbness) is clearly delusional. I point to the fact that at the mayoral debate he was unable to point to 1 single line item in the budget were he could make cuts. Here's an idea, see if it makes sense to anyone. Naturally I will start with the fire department.

In Leominster MA, Mayor Dean Mazzerella noticed that fire chiefs would rotate out of their positions and retire 2 years after being appointed. Salary was $120,000. This was a huge impact to pension and healthcare liabilities. His solution was that the chief had to sign an agreement indicating he would stay on the department until age 65. That ended the rotation of fire chiefs (just like we have in Warwick) Most fire fighters are retiring in their early 50's, numerous retired in their 40's.

Here's a couple of more cuts that should be made:

SECTION 3. PAID HOLIDAYS

The following holidays should be removed from the WFD schedule of paid holidays for all members of the Fire Department.

VJ Day (2nd Monday in August)

Lincoln’s Birthday Labor Day

Easter Sunday (1st Sunday in April)

Firemen’s Memorial Sunday (2nd Sunday in June)

This renders the department with the 10 standard Federal Holidays. Cost savings to the taxpayer of the 3 year contract based upon the 2016 average day rate of a Warwick Fire Department member : 880 days cut x 3 years = 2640 days x $376/day = $992,640 SAVINGS

ARTICLE VIII SECTION 6. PAYMENT FOR UNUSED SICK LEAVE AFTER MAXIMUM ACCUMULATION

In any case where an employee has accumulated his or her or her maximum sick leave entitlement under Section 1 hereof, he or she shall, at the end of each year, be entitled to be paid for three-fourths (3/4) of his or her unused, yearly sick leave entitlement, prorated on a monthly basis, not to exceed fifteen (15) days. Such payment is to be made on the basis of said employee’s daily rate of pay and shall be paid to the employee by the last day of each month.

The above benefit was changes from ½ (10days) to ¾ (15days) in 2015. The net result was showed an increase in over $600,000 annually. This benefit needs to be reduced to 25% or 5 days. The net overall result is that in the PAST 6 year period the members still receive an average of 50% which amounts to a 6% annual bonus over and above the 1 ½ % semi annual pay raise and longevity raise. Data is as follows:

2016 pay out to 139 men = $1,092,0421

Reduction to 25% results in the following cost savings

$819,316/year x 3 years = $2,457,948 SAVINGS * based upon 2016 salary schedule

10 year savings based on 2016 wages without factoring pay increases and step increases =

$ 8,193,160.00

ARTICLE IV SECTION 2. SUBSTITUTIONS

The right to substitute at any time shall be permitted, provided, however, that permission in writing to substitute must be obtained from the Battalion Chief on duty. A substitution shall be defined as a mutual exchange of time. No other form of compensation shall be allowed.

The above provision must be removed from the contract. Average substitution days based upon 2014-2017 documents =1400 days per year.

1400 days x 3 years = 4200 days

4200 days x $376/day = $1,579,200 SAVINGS

This savings would be realized by eliminating the substitution clause. All substitution days should be utilized as vacation days covered at straight time by the floaters. No addition overtime costs are incurred by the city.

ARTICLE VII SECTION 1.

CLOTHING ALLOWANCE a.

Effective on July 1, 2013, the clothing allowance shall be ONE THOUSAND ($1,000) DOLLARS per year.

All uniforms provided by the City shall be “Nomex” or equal to “Nomex”. The City agrees to replace all clothing and protective gear, eyeglasses and dentures of an employee of the Fire Department which may be damaged or destroyed in the line of said employee’s duty while on duty or while said employee may be responding to or returning from a call to duty.

b. Protective equipment for new probationary fire fighters shall be ordered prior to the fire fighters being sworn in and reporting for full-time duty. Such equipment shall include minimally: 1. Helmet with eyeshield, strap and frontpiece. 2. Bunker Coat. 3. Bunker Pants. 4. Suspenders. 5. Fire Boots. 6. Hood. 7. Gloves. 8. Gear Storage bag.

c. New recruits shall be paid the clothing allowance when they are hired full time by the fire department after successful completion of the training school. This payment shall be in lieu of the clothing allowance paid on March 1, so that the employee will receive only one clothing allowance payment per fiscal year.

SECTION 2. ADDITIONAL UNIFORMS Any employee, upon being promoted to any rank requiring a new class of uniform, shall have one set of the same issued to him or her by the City at its cost and expense. If the City requires a change in the Class “B” uniforms the City will provide the initial four (4) sets of uniforms over and above the regular clothing allowance.

Clothing allowance section of the contract needs to be completely eliminated since in every situation from new recruits to advancement to damaged clothing, the city is responsible to pay for new uniforms. No monitoring of this expenditure has ever been performed. Savings from the elimination of this clause as follows:

220 men x $1450 = $319,000 x 3 years = $957,000 SAVINGS

Total 3 year savings $5,986,788 without touching salaries or amending other issues such as below.

SECTION 3. FIRE HYDRANTS

Off-duty personnel called back for shoveling snow from hydrants shall be compensated at the overtime rate of pay hereinafter set forth.

If men can take the apparatus to perform grocery shopping on the job, then as they are in transit they should clean the hydrants while on the clock. This is common sense.

ARTICLE IX SECTION 5. LIGHT DUTY

Basically no parameters. Men can get injured off the job and be put on light duty while having another man cover his shift. End result, off duty injuries are covered in many cases as salary plus an additional man.

SECTION 2. STEP PAYMENTS

Needs to be revsied

ARTICLE XIV SECTION 1. PENSION PAYMENTS

Pension benefit based on the last three years of service. Effective January 1, 2005, pension benefits will be based upon the last year of service, which benefits shall be calculated by using daily pro-ration.

This needs to be revised as it clearly has caused pension spiking.

SECTION 1. SICK LEAVE

Sick leave shall be granted at the rate of twenty (20) working days per year accumulative to one hundred forty (140) working days; provided, however, that additional sick leave may be granted at the discretion of the Chief of the Department. During the month of February in each year, the City of Warwick shall cause to be calculated and information made available upon request, each member’s present entitlement under this clause. A member’s entitlement to accumulated sick leave shall be determined from the date of his or her first appointment to the Department.

The above clause needs to be stricken from the contract as it has no boundaries and is not defined in any fashion. The number of annual sick days should be dramatically reduced as the historical data shows that less than 1 sick day per man is currently being used. Considering that under state law firefighters are allowed unlimited paid sick time for job related illness or injury, the current sick leave schedule is unreasonable to the taxpayer and is a tool that can be manipulated in a variety of methods. Bear in mind that 20 sick days is 5 weeks. The historical data shows that in almost every retirement case, the maximum amount of unused sick days is paid out and that annually the maximum unused sick pay is paid out. This benefit is not only unsustainable, but it is unnecessary.

Presently as of the Feb 1 2017 report the WFD has 22,510 sick days banked with an estimated current value of $12.4 million dollars. This liability is not being carried on any balance sheet. The amount of sick leave needs to be dramatically reduced. I suggest 5 sick days per year to accumulate to 10. After 10 you use them or lose them.

Now, Mayor Dumbness - these are good fiscally sound ideas in which the numbers can be substantiated. Unlike your "ideas", these are real cost saving measures that can be quantified. I look forward to your comments and the comments of Warwick manboy.

Friday, April 27
Daydreambeliever

As usual we all have to see the cut and paste techniques of Mr. Cote.

He has very valid points howeve I never see the WPDs contract as to what cuts can be possibly made there.

Honestly I don’t recall one thing put to paper saying what cuts can be made to there contracts.

I have no idea what the municipal employees contract entails but every damn week or so I’m reminded what the WFD contract is.

Please be fair and enlighten all to other contacts that can be used for cost savings.

Thank You

Friday, April 27
Thecaptain

Daydream believer,

The contracts are readily available on line. If you have been paying attention , or if you have ever attended a budget hearing, you would already know that the police department every year gives concessions while the fire department gains more and more.

If you have been paying attention (which obviously you have not) you would realize that the police department continues to get personnel cuts while the fire department grows. If you had been paying attention (which obviously you have not) you would realize that the police department continues to come on budget even though cuts have been made every year. If you have been paying attention (which obviously you have not) you would realize that the police department continues to do more with less under the supervision of Col. McCartney every year.

I would suggest to you that before you comment , that you actually have some knowledge of the contracts, actually have read the last 10 years budget reports, and actually understand where the cuts have been made. I also wonder on a personal note, when was the last time you attended a council meeting, finance meeting or budget hearing?

Friday, April 27
WwkVoter

Captain Rob Cote knows what he is talking about. You can debate the importance you want to put of what he wants to change, but you really can't debate the facts. He is generally highly accurate.

It sure would be great if some of his opponents in this community forum section would be truthful and debate Cote's using facts like he does. He should not be given the abuse of false and bogus accusations that always turn out false. Please stop that nonsense and you know who you are.

Lets debate facts and policy, it's all of our town after all.

Saturday, April 28
Scal1024

Rick, why did the landlord of your current campaign headquarters pay the back taxes (WHICH WERE TAXES YOU OWED ON A HOME YOU OWNED) on a property you owned and were living in?

Could this be the same reason there is no record of you paying rent through your campaign finance account?

Why do you refuse to answer any questions on this back room deal? What are you hiding?

Lastly, for 2 years everyone asked you how you would cut spending...you couldn't answer ONE LINE ITEM. You were asked how to cut taxes and again YOU COULDN'T ANSWER!!!!! Now you claim that the mayor and council listened to you? When? What a pathetic excuse for a man you delusional deadbeat. You've never moved the needle on a single issue in your entire life except maybe being evicted and sued in court a plethora of times.

The good news about Solomon running? Now we only have to wait until September to watch Corrente get embarassed. Keep it coming Rick, my stomach hurts from laughing.

By the way when you're at Stop and Shop this year...I might be ready to answer a few questions if I were you because I will get no bigger thrill than embarrassing you for the lying, pathetic, deadbeat tax delinquent you really are.

Saturday, April 28
Warwick Man

WwkVoter,

Truthful and Rob Cote don’t go together. There is a reason no one listed to that wind bag. All his “facts” are false. He’s pretty good at manipulating lines in a contract to make you think there is something wrong even though he can’t prove one ounce of it. One more of the more amusing “facts” is Chage of Shifts costing the city 1.5 million... he’s off a few bucks, mainly 1.5 million. That’s right they cost the city ZERO. Of course he will come back at me with some distorted Rob Cote “fact”. If your a smart person go ask the city. Or a rock, they are both smarter.

Sunday, April 29
WwkVoter

as to cote, true that I never "fact checked" his facts, but he did make it to the press on many occasions where his issues were corroborated such as the car tax, (he got the city to increase the exemption), pension liability, and the need for gps on city vehicles for accountability (which protects the city workers as well as the taxpayers), he was also correct about some of the apponaug project issues and the DOT themselves agreed and came into better compliance. I dont always agree on all issues for example the FFs going to the grocery with a truck, I am ok with that and dont mind paying for a little diesel to have the FF and the truck stay together. As to the FF contract issues, he is entitled to his opinion as a citizen. no one is always right and he does have a not very pleasant communications style. many watchdogs in history have that quality. But where would we be as Americans without government watchdogs to raise questions? sure it's no fun, but it's needed, (even for the issues that turn out not to be a problem after all).

Sunday, April 29
Warwick Man

WwkVoter....

I couldn’t agree more. Nothing wrong with watchdogs. If your doing something wrong by all means bring it to the proper authority to be investigated. That being said. When you make up stuff just out of vendetta then you have an issue. There are too many occasions where he has been proven 100 false. All I’m saying is becaful what you read from him. It’s grossly misconstrued.

Sunday, April 29
Thecaptain

I have all of the official city documents to prove everything I have stated. If anyone would like to see them, or would like a copy of the emails sent from the secretary of state office on the destruction of documents, just give me your email address and I will be more than happy to send. You can also contact me at cartaxrevolt@aol.com. I don't check that email often but just comment here and I will send.

Sunday, April 29
Warwick Man

Don’t contact the Mr Cote. Go see for yourself, ask the city city. His numbers are 100% false. There is a reason no one takes him seriously.... see for yourself.

Sunday, April 29
WwkVoter

Is he "wrong" about corrente's delinquencies, lawsuits, etc he has mentioned too?

Sunday, April 29
Warwick Man

WwkVoter

I have no knowledge of who’s right or wrong in that instance..

Sunday, April 29
WwkVoter

OK, as to Corrente's delinquency and lawsuit issues, numerous times Cote has posted the data from the tax record as well as links to the official data and to the court records, some of which I did look at. Fortunately, since Corrente is such a bad disaster I didn't need to scour the record for every last detail. It sounds like Solomon is a good bet for taking on our Mayor's office. I hope Corrente and anyone else like him goes away after we get this change completed.

Sunday, April 29
Thecaptain

So here is a perfect example. Warwick Man, (aka Bill Lloyd Warwick fire fighter) tells every one not to contact me. why????

I have just offered to send anyone that requests, the official city documents and emails from the city and the secretary of state, and Warwick man, says, DONT CONTACT COTE. Why?? these are not my numbers, these are numbers taken directly from official city documents obtained thru the access to public records requests.

So look who really has something to hide - Mr. Bill Lloyd WFD former union president.

Sunday, April 29
CrickeeRaven

Hello Warwick Man and WwkVoter:

This link is to an article that details the make-believe "mayor's" tax delinquency, including a screen shot of the property tax website that shows who else paid the taxes on his residence from 2014-17: https://warwickpost.com/gop-chair-files-election-board-complaint-against-corrente-for-failing-to-report-ad-hq-spending/

If you would like to look up the information directly, go to this link: https://www.citizenselfservice.com/MSSProd/citizens/RealEstate/Default.aspx?mode=new

Enter 177 for "house number" and Grand View for "street name" to see the tax payment history.

[This is not to take any credit away from Thecaptain; it's simply to provide a report on the matter, as well as the original source of information.]

Monday, April 30
Warwick Man

WwVoter... ok, just to appease Everones favorite captain. Get the info from him AND GO TO CITY HALL. You will find out what you need there. You may also find out the only police investigation has to do with him..,

Monday, April 30
Thecaptain

Oh please Warwickman. Get a grip. We know you are compromised because you are a Warwick firefighter.

Monday, April 30
Warwick Man

Captain, and your not compromised? I guess I forgot you were the moral compass of the city....

Monday, April 30
Thecaptain

Let me guess, more fake stories, like I dumped gas at my shop right?

Monday, April 30
Thecaptain

See guys, Warwick man is WFD former union president Bill Lloyd. If you remember, when former Councilman Cushman gave a presentation to the city council on the impact to residents tax base due to the unfunded pension liabilities, Lloyd organized firefighters to come to the city council and mock, whistle, jeer, and disrupt the presentation like adolescents.

Then Warwick Fire Fighter and Union president Bill Lloyd contacted Mr. Cushman's place of employment and threatened a nation wide fire fighter boycott if they did not fire Mr. Cushman. When the incident was covered on air by WPRO, Mr. Lloyd promised the Matt Allen show that he would go on air and explain his reasoning for threatening Mr. Cushman and his place of employment. Guess what, he never did, and in the interim, changed his phone number so that WPRO could not reach him. And he calls others cowards. What a piece of work.

See folks, this is the mentality that you have with many municipal workers. They think that "we" owe "them". If you voice your opinion with sound fact, documents, and numbers, they make personal attacks against you, and they do it anonymously or under fake names. Then they send hate mail to your house, sign you up for bogus magazine subscriptions, etc.. etc..

These are the "hero's" that constantly show this dysfunctional behavior. They bash anyone who has statistics and facts that have been generated by official documents, yet they offer no documents to substantiate their position other than personal attacks. Then they call everyone a liar and a coward. Who are the real liars and cowards?

The fire chief has been caught openly lying to the city council on a number of occasions. The department continually overspends its budget. The last 4 chiefs have come to the council and stated "if we increase the manpower we will eliminate overtime. It simply never happens, EVER. This is not to besmirch their life saving skills, but in no way should the last 3 chiefs have been in that position. The chief is an administrator. Administrators should have some fiscal experience, clearly the last few have had none as the department has grown out of control.

When 2 state agencies have to intervene into the workings of a municipal department to teach them how to keep records in accordance with the law, you have a problem. Its time to realize the problem and fix it.

Monday, April 30
Warwick Man

Fake news.... interesting .. Not Bill Lloyd BTW. http://www.dem.ri.gov/news/1998/pr/0605981.htm

Monday, April 30
Warwick Man

I can cut and paste too...

DEM ARRESTS WARWICK MAN FOR ILLEGAL DISPOSAL OF GASOLINE IN SEPTIC SYSTEM

PROVIDENCE: A Warwick man was arrested today for allegedly disposing of gasoline by pouring it down the drain at his business. Robert Cote, 39, of 12 Social Drive in Warwick, was arrested by DEM Officers at his place of business and arraigned before Judge Walter Gorman in 6th Division District Court in Warwick. He was charged with a single count of unlawfully disposing of hazardous waste. Cote entered no plea, as typically occurs in felony cases. He was released on $5,000 personal recognizance and faces an arraignment in Superior Court on August 14. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. The RI Attorney General's Office will be prosecuting the case.

According to Sr. Agent Giusto Iannelli, of DEM's Office of Criminal Investigation, the Warwick Fire Department was called to Cote's business, the Pro Divers Shop at 2442 West Shore Road, on April 30 after a neighbor in an adjacent strip mall heard an explosion and observed smoke coming from the dive shop. The fire department responded and extinguished the fire, but an officer at the scene noticed a heavy smell of gasoline coming from the facility. Cote admitted to placing a container with less than a gallon of gasoline in a sink to see if the gasoline was contaminated. Cote claimed that the fumes from the gasoline were ignited by a spark from a hot water heater.

The fire officer at the scene called DEM to determine if there was a remaining hazard. John Leo, a Sanitary Engineer with DEM's Emergency Response Unit, responded and found that a considerable amount of gasoline was present in the septic system. Leo determined that the situation constituted a threat to public safety and the environment, and he immediately called CYN Environmental to come to pump out the septic system.

Subsequent lab tests indicated that there was at least 20 and perhaps as much as 30 gallons of gasoline in the septic system, enough to pose a significant danger of a major explosion. Leo noted that if the fumes had backed up overnight in the pipes and vents associated with the septic system, the result could have been disastrous.

In addition to today's arrest, DEM officers, assisted by officers from the Warwick Police Department, executed a search warrant and removed evidence from the scene

Monday, April 30
Thecaptain

You conveniently don't post this do you? Bill Lloyd.

WARWICK BEACON, Thursday, December 17, 1998 Pg. 13

Cote cleared in gas-dumping charge

Robert Cote, the owner of Pro-divers, Inc. on 2442 West Shore Rd., has been cleared of charges that he dumped 30 gallons of gasoline into his septic tank.

A statewide grand jury ruled that there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Cote for the alleged crime. On April 30 this year, a fire started in a sink at the shop. Cote said he was outside tying to get a small boat to start and he suspected that there was water in the gasoline. Cote said he took a small container of the fuel into his shop to investigate, and upon walking in saw that he had a customer. He placed the container in a sink near a hot water tank.

Cote said the tank has a pilot light, and that must have been what ignited the fuel in the sink. Cote said he and two customers were able to put the fire out.

“We put the fire out. It took about 30 seconds”, Cote stated.

Then the fire department arrived. An inspector said he smelled gasoline, and the Department of Environmental Management was called in.

“The only damage that occurred was when the DEM came in with a Sawzall,” Cote said. The DEM ripped out the pipes that they thought could be used as evidence against Cote to prove he had dumped up to 30 gallons of gasoline down his drain.

Cote noted that the boat he was working on could not carry 30 gallons of gasoline, and also that 30 gallons of gasoline would weigh about 260 pounds – more weight than he could easily carry back to his shop.

Monday, April 30
WwkVoter

IIRC that gasoline charge was ultimately dismissed, although I don't have time to find it now and I may be mistaken. Anyone can clarify? (I doubt Cote would have mentioned it if he were found guilty in any way.)

As to the Cushman incident, Warwickman did you in fact attempt (unsuccessfully) to interfere with a former councilman, Beacon columnist's employment? Was it you? Don't wait for the translation, yes or no...

Monday, April 30
Warwick Man

No,I did not.

Monday, April 30
WwkVoter

Ok thanks. We should really stick to the debate on mayor, and best policy. It's ok to discuss the best FF policy for the FF's as well as the community. Wish we could have a civil debate and work this out like the neighbors we all are. Just sayin.

Monday, April 30
Bob_Cushman

Lloyd stooping to this level, clearly demonstrated that he didn't have the intestinal fortitude or intelligence to articulate facts related to the pension issue.

Instead like many of his colleagues who work for the city, Lloyd resorts to this cowardly, bullisitic behavior since he had a crowd behind him or in this case can hide anonymously behind a key board, instead of debating the issues man to man and face to face.

Excerpts from article on the Lloyd issue.

[CVS Health has found no wrongdoing on the part of one of its employees, former Ward 1 councilman and former chairman of the Warwick School Committee Robert Cushman, in response to demands by the president of the Warwick Firefighters Union.

The union’s president, William Lloyd, threatened a statewide – followed by a national – boycott of the pharmacy chain because of Cushman, a full-time business analyst with the company.

In an interview yesterday, Lloyd said the letter that was addressed to DeAngelis never called for Cushman’s dismissal, but that because Cushman is an employee “we would not be using CVS anymore.”

“I never made a threat against his job,” Lloyd said. “I never said anything about getting Bob Cushman fired.”

Lloyd said a boycott was not a singular decision, and that the union unanimously voted for it.

“A vote taken by all members, it wasn’t me just spouting off,” he said. (In reality only 25 firefighter attended the meeting and 13 voted to send the letter)

Throughout his presentation, there were whistles from an audience comprised largely of firefighters and municipal employees. During his presentation, Lloyd stood only feet behind Cushman with his arms folded across this chest. Lloyd’s conduct was not questioned by City Council President Donna Travis, or by police who were on duty for the meeting.

http://warwickonline.com/stories/cvs-answers-firefighters-boycott-over-cushman,101865?

Monday, April 30
Thecaptain

Warwick voter,

For your information pertaining to the gas issue. The case was not dismissed as I was never charged. The Beacon article was inaccurate. The flash fire that took place was extinguished in less than 30 seconds. Then the WFD came in. Bear in mind this incident happened during the time that I was very public about the WFD loosing 3 kids in a pond because they were not properly equipped and also loosing another young woman at the YMCA for the same reason.

The WFD then contacted the department of health making an allegation that due to the flash fire which took place in a sink, that my breathing air system was contaminated. Obviously this was not the case and the air was immediately tested by RI Analytical and proven to be E quality breathing air. More WFD lies.

When I was brought to the court house by DEM the judge refused to charge or arraign me, or hear the complaint because the story was so bogus so he put it to the grand jury. Numerous people were questioned as well as Cyn environmental who pumped out my cesspool the day of the incident at the order of WFD who stated I dumped gas.

The report from Cyn environmental to the GJ indicated NO HYDROCARBONS PRESENT. That was the end of it , it never went to court, no charges were ever filed.

However, one small interesting fact that you wont hear is this. When the judge refused to arraign me and charge me, during the time that it was going to the GJ, (several weeks) the DEM contacted both me and my insurance company and stated that if we paid $15,000 as a fee for the incident and "clean up", that they would dismiss the case. With that I just waved at them. But I was waving with 1 finger only. Guess which one?

Monday, April 30
WwkVoter

Capt, thanks for clarifying. As horrific as it is, your situation looks like your watchful citizens critique of the FD resulted in a vendetta and bogus charges filed against you. Thankfully you were able to be exonerated. If what you say is true, and it cant be disputed that A: you were a Fire Dept critic and B: they at first opportunity instigated charges against you that turned out to be bogus.

I hope the situation is not as it looks because that's banana republic stuff, not America. Real American Patriots who fly the flag, don't use their government position to silence anyone's First Amendment rights, no matter how much they don't like the message. If this is true and the Cushman letter came from FD, then we're talking some real bad news here.

Tuesday, May 1
Thecaptain

Warwick voter,

It is true, and sad as well. The unions will take every measure possible maintain the strangle hold that they have on the taxpayers. This is why people like Warwick man never post documents or offer data to substantiate their claims.

Tuesday, May 1
ThatGuyInRI

This "cut taxes" mantra is so old, so boring, and so lazy.

Any idiot can say "cut taxes" it's a popular idea, who wouldn't want their taxes cut? But what would we give up by doing that? What exactly will be reduced to cut taxes?

As far as I'm concerned taxes are relatively low in Warwick and I'd gladly pay more if the city would just pave my street so it doesn't look like a minefield.

Do everyone a favor and vote for anyone other than Corrente.

Tuesday, May 1
Kammy

Just because there are 80,000 people living in the city doesn't mean there are 80,000 citizens paying taxes or eligible to vote. You keep stating that 80,000 LOUDLY agree with you. I can guarantee you the 10 year old down the street doesn't know or care. FACTS ARE IMPORTANT. Unless you personally checked with all 80,000 residents to verify that they not only heard your message but are standing behind you and rallied on your behalf, you are making up a story. Only 14,086 people voted for your in 2016. Going by your own numbers that means 65,914 warwick taxpayers rejected your campaign bid or 82% of the population did not vote for you. I would think you would prefer to have the "REAL" numbers instead because it would put you in a better position when making your point.

You can't support your statement with any real facts. You are taking one small piece of information and creating an entire universe of "alternative facts" to suit your purpose. We need someone to run this city that is capable of making decisions based on years of experience and comprehension of how the city should run. You are not that person.

Monday, May 7