Council 'hoses' fire truck deal

Posted

It was a deal that the Warwick Fire Department said was too good to pass up and, factoring in their aging fire trucks, would have been “irresponsible” to not bring forward and ask about.

But in the end, the fire department’s request to purchase a $350,000 Spartan Triple Combination Pumper fire truck will have to wait until next year, as the Finance Committee voted unanimously Monday night to hold the request until the first City Council meeting of March, 2018.

“We are not denying the fire department to purchase a vehicle,” said finance chair Ed Ladouceur. “We’re saying we need to exercise our due diligence financially to ensure the department can afford it and the taxpayers can afford it.”

Fire Chief James McLaughlin and Assistant Chief James Kenney brought forward the request because they say the department is in great need of replacing two of its aging trucks – Engines 5 and 8, the former of which has been in use since 1999 and the latter since 2000 – that have both logged around 170,000 miles each and are suffering from corrosion problems.

“If we don’t adhere to the plan [of replacing aging trucks], which we haven’t been, it’s a deck of cards and it’s starting to fall down,” Kenney said, adding that Engines 5 and 8 have been put “on the back burner” due to insufficient funding available to replace them and that reserve Engines 13 and 19 were “on their last leg.”

“If those [reserve] trucks go down, we’re repairing it for a lot of money to keep an old truck on the road,” Kenney continued. “And in the meantime, if we’re calling in another city’s truck – which we will be doing if we don’t get this [new truck] eventually, and we’re doing it now – we’ll be paying for their repairs as well.”

A nearly identical truck to the one requested for purchase, currently located at C&S Specialty in North Smithfield with 2,387 miles clocked, had been available through a bid in February for a higher price of $430,000. In addition to the $80,000 in savings, the truck also included an additional $10,000 in optional equipment at no extra cost.

Kenney said that the request, besides being a great deal, is also a matter of improving safety for firefighters.

“We wouldn’t be presenting this if we didn’t feel it was worthwhile,” he said. “We’re not going to get another price like this. We need trucks, badly. It’s becoming a safety concern when fuel tanks are falling out of the back of trucks and we have crossmembers rotting off of trucks.”

Ladouceur did not budge in his stance, however.

“Having vehicles myself I understand there’s times when you’d certainly like to purchase something new but, then again, there’s times when you certainly can’t afford it and you have to make do with what you have and make those repairs that are necessary to do so,” he said, adding that other cities and towns had likely weighed the option to purchase this truck but passed it up because they couldn’t afford it.

Ward 7 Councilor and finance committee member Stephen McAllister said the issue was not that the fire department doesn’t need, or deserve, a new truck, but that it was a tough time to ask for such a large sum of money in the young fiscal year.

“My concern tonight is just on the timing of the purchase. The fiscal year started July 1, and we’re only into September, so $350,000 is a lot of money to take out of the general fund so early,” he said. “There are always unexpected expenses that come up, not just in the fire department but for all departments across the city.”

City treasurer Brian Silvia clarified to the committee that the funds for this purchase would not come out of the FY18 general fund, but rather it would be purchased via the city’s lease fund. This means that the city would essentially pay for the truck now with credit and pay it back, with interest, through allocations in future budgets over an agreed-upon number of years. In such a situation, the first payment would be due one year later to the date of the purchase.

The city’s lease fund cannot exceed $10 million at any given time, explained Silvia on Wednesday. He reported that Warwick has used about $5.8 million of those funds as of the current fiscal year.

However once again, Ladouceur did not find this a convincing enough reason to approve the request.

“You can color it in any language you want, ultimately the taxpayers have to pay for it,” he said Monday. “I am not going to approve a check when I do not know that there is enough money in the account.”

Citizen Rob Cote agreed with Ladouceur’s take.

“This money has to come from some place, and it comes from the taxpayers,” he said. “We haven’t seen any initiative on the part of the department to streamline their moneys to be able to have the cash flow to be able to purchase this piece of equipment.”

Ladouceur, too, said he couldn’t be certain the fire department will have sufficient funds in their budget to cover the payments down the road. He pointed to the fire department’s overtime expenses, a pending lawsuit and the department requesting budgeting for more firefighters than ultimately proved necessary as evidence to support his uncertainty.

“Those are very significant concerns to me and I am not going to be supporting of this pumper, at least at this point, because of the significant financial concerns and financial impact I see potentially happening to the taxpayers,” said Ladouceur.

McLaughlin responded to these points, saying it was “unfair” to hold the fact that the department had already used 52 percent of its overtime budget for the current fiscal year against them, because the fire department’s overtime budget had been cut in half from last fiscal year. He said that overtime costs for last year were exceptionally high because they had to train 19 new recruits, and that of a requested $950,000 overtime budget, the fire department only received $600,000 from the city.

Ladouceur responded that, regardless of other circumstances, the finance committee has a responsibility to the taxpayers to expect every city department to live within their budgets.

“I make decisions based upon what this year’s budget is,” he said. “Not last year’s budget.”

McLaughlin reiterated the warning that pushing off replacing equipment will only create bigger problems later.

“If you do not keep a consistent handle on replacing fire trucks, the can is being kicked down the road and it’s going to mean a big problem in the future,” McLaughlin said, adding that $600,000 was not a sufficient overtime budget for a 220-man firefighting department.

“I guess we choose to differ,” said Ladouceur.

“We do,” McLaughlin responded.

With all three members of the finance committee agreeing that they couldn’t support the purchase at this time, it was held until the first City Council meeting to be held in March of 2018.

McLaughlin followed up in an interview on Wednesday that the city’s firefighters were not in any danger by operating the current vehicles.

“The trucks are safe as we run them,” he said, adding that the fire department hasn’t received any new equipment since November of 2015. “They’re just old and do need to be replaced.”

On the back-and-forth between the finance committee, McLaughlin said he had nothing but respect for their decision, and that he had a responsibility to bring forward the request due to the exceptional nature of the deal.

“I never take anything personally. We present what we think is the right thing to do,” he said. “It’s never easy for any chief to request a new fire truck – they’re expensive pieces of equipment. It is what it is and we’ll just move on.”

Comments

26 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment
davebarry109

Cutting the fire department overtime budget is a joke. They have 'minimum manning' and no fire chief can control those guys. They will spend whatever they want and the city will pay it.

Thursday, September 21
PaulHuff

If the city followed the firefighters contract there would be no lawsuit.

Short of cutting minimum manning there is going to be OT costs. No use whining about it.

I think it's reasonable to replace 18 year old trucks that are rotting. Good on the fire admins in locating a good deal and proposing it.

Unfortunately Councilman Ladoucer wishes to gamble with public safety. Does someone need to die because an almost 20 year old fire truck breaks down? The cities apparatus shouldn't go from an active line truck straight to the Greenwiod fire museum because they are so old.

Thursday, September 21
Warwickcitizen

It appears this council is afraid of a guy who has never put his name on a ballot, but follows all our hard working city employees ,mostly the fire fighters . I’m a taxpayer and you should remember you work for all the taxpayers not just that malcontent Cote. It was short sighted not to approve the new pumper the City needs it and it was a deal. I also understand the finance chair and president of the council want to be mayor but remember your one election from being in power to sitting with Rob Cote following employees around.

Taxpayers are watching

Thursday, September 21
Thecaptain

Well, here we go. More statements from Warwcikcitizen who knows nothing about the contract, the finances, or the operations of the department. Warwick has more than enough engines and in fact needs rescues. The city is not burning down.

Fact - The department incurs enormous wear and tear on vehicles that are constantly driving around the city not on emergency runs. Fuel is consumed during the "shopping and sight seeing" runs and the fuel budget has been overdrawn for several years.

Fact - The past 4 chiefs have testified that with an increase in manpower, overtime will be eliminated. Has not happened. Even with a 3.1 million dollar federal grant for new hires, the department blew thru that money and more.

Fact - In 2 1/2 months the department has consumed 52% of its overtime budget.

Fact - The department is self controlled with no fiscal oversight from city hall. No other eyes are on the budget, the manpower, or the overtime or the staffing or the payroll. The department has never had a fiscal audit performed.

Fact - Fire departments around the country and in RI have been found to spike overtime and in fact, criminal proceedings have been brought. See several links below.

Fact - The chief told the council that 100% of the vacation days are covered by the "extra floaters" at straight time. The truth was that 100% of the vacation days where covered at overtime. The documents confirm this.

Fact - The chief told the council that there were 1200 sick days. Wrong again, the city documents and letter from the chief to me indicated 1915 sick days.

Fact - The chief says that "substitution" saves money for the city. Wrong again, substitution allows men the ability not to come to work for any reason, get paid and preserve their sick days and vacation days to be monetized later. Last year there were close to 2000 substitution days. All of those 2000 days should have been used as vacation days.

Fact - The chief says there was an enormous amount of men out sick, yet the unused sick pay documents indicate that virtually every man got paid the maximum unused sick pay. How can that be possible? That cost to the city last year was $1,092,421. That will only continue to increase.

Fact - Currently the WFD has 22,510 sick days in the bank (as of Feb15th) that has a monetary value of approximately $12 million dollars. That number is not carried on any balance sheet in the city.

Fact - The fire department is the only department in the city that does not break out the sick time from the line item of salaries. Every other department does it. The fire department only identifies sick time from the dispatchers and office personnel and not from uniformed men. Why? The department was ordered in April by ordinance to break out the sick time in a separate line item. They failed to do so and have not done so as of this date. Why??

Fact - The chief said that men cannot use "substitution" to take time off to work at another job. He was wrong and purposely skewed the truth as documents from the state exist that prove exactly that.

Fact - The city can no longer afford any more increases from this out of control department. This department will never stop wanting more and more. If you are one of those people that cant separate the emotional aspect of the fire service from the financial implications, than sell your house and give them all of the proceeds.

Please see and READ THIS TIME (and educate yourself) as to the organized schemes that departments around the country have been involved in. I would also encourage you to actually read the contract, ,understand the overly generous benefits that we the taxpayer supply these EMPLOYEES. Do some math, the fact of the matter is that the department is overpaid.

Links

http://www.toledoblade.com/Police-Fire/2011/09/18/Paid-sick-time-abuse-leads-to-crackdown.html

https://lris.com/2016/05/12/sick-leave-abuse-or-low-staffing-whats-at-the-root-of-fds-overtime-costs/

https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/firefighters-e-mails-indicate-abuse-of-sick-leave-overtime/

https://lasvegassun.com/news/2011/feb/01/county-says-firefighter-sick-leave-abuse-more-wide/

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/data-watch/sdut-firefigter-ot-2016jan09-htmlstory.html

http://www.startribune.com/4-alarm-anger-over-minneapolis-firefighters-sick-time/134799278/

http://www.nj.com/essex/index.ssf/2015/07/newark_fire_directors_office_raided_by_corruption.html

http://www.rstreet.org/op-ed/cal-fires-corruption-of-public-service/

Thursday, September 21
Warwickcitizen

Captain

Fact. You are total wrong when you state I know nothing about contracts /. Finances of fire department .

I forgot more than you will ever know in regards to theses issues my friend

You are just loud mouth ,and attack hard working people out of jealousy?.?

It’s unfortunate that this spineless council listens to you instead of putting the safety of the people they represent and the firefighters first .

It’s also a shame that you are allowed to question the integrity of the Chief of department

But it appears that the whole council is spineless

The other question I have is why haven’t you put your name on a ballot ever?

Could it be you are a coward or afraid to find out no one except the spineless council cares about anything you have to say

Friday, September 22
Thecaptain

WarwickCitizen,

I do find it amusing that you (who remains anonymous) calls me a coward. I find it more interesting that you (anonymous) has never taken the microphone and made a statement in a public forum. So why dont you release your name, as clearly you are a firefighter, and I can release your entire schedule of sick time, COS, vacation, etc...

Since you speculate that you have forgotten more than I will ever know about contracts you must be a superb businessman. Just keep patting yourself on the back. If you had any formal business training you would know how to read a balance sheet. By the way, I did not question the integrity of the chief. I merely asked him questions that he stumbled over and gave completely false information. He jeopardized his own integrity.

Friday, September 22
Warwick Man

Captain, you stated (as fact) "virtually every man got paid the minimum sick pay". FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE... why don't you be honest..

Fact it takes almost 8 years (sick free) to accrue enough time to get a minimum payment. Currently almost half the department doesn't have 8 years.

Fact, out of the remaining half maybe half of them get a payment for being healthy. So at most 1/4 of the department gets a basic healthy payment. We are onto your garbage of lies.

Friday, September 22
Warwickcitizen

I don’t need to take a microphone in a public forum to question the integrity of public official,

People see what they want to to distort the fact like yourself , and question people integrity like you do

Seeing you have all the answers I will wait to see your name on the ballot ,but I’m sure you will never do that you will continue to grandstand.

At least the other malcontents had the courage to run for office

Friday, September 22
Thecaptain

Warwick Man,

Every Feb. 15th the WFD produces a Unused Sick Pay bonus document. I am referring the 114 men out of the 220 on the department on that list that receive the bonus. It takes 7 years to make the list as you begin receiving the bonus once you accrue 140 sick days in the bank (20 sick days per year x 7 years = 140 days).

Sick days are dished out at 1 2/3 days per month (1.66 days, which frankly is ridiculous) as nobody in the private sector gets 20 sick days per year.

There are very few members of the department that have been on for 7 years that ARE NOT receiving that benefit. (would you like me to list them as I am more than happy to do so) The contributing factor is the COS. Change of Shift. COS is used at any time when someone simply doesnt want to work or has something else to do. COS originally, years ago, was given to the department and used, when for example, a non family member passed and the employee was allowed to swap a shift to pay his respects. Unfortunately, that benefit which no one had issue with, has now been prostituted for any and all purposes, for example, if you have a softball game, instead of taking a vacation day, you do a COS, you preserve your vacation day to be monetized later. No where in the private sector is that allowed.

20 sick days per year is obnoxious and the fact is that since Title 45 allows unlimited sick time for job related illness or injury, the historical sick time data shows that the days are monetized. Who in the world needs 20 sick days? Furthermore, where are the checks and balances to determine what illness was contracted on the job? There are numerous examples of men out on vacation for 12 or more days (one guy was out for 28 days) and then the first day back on rotation they call in sick and the day is not reduced from their bank. Numerous examples.

This is the typical union thought process, attack the messenger and dont speak to the facts. You may want to listen to the chief on the budget hearing tapes so you can hear for yourself the inaccuracies in his statements.

Friday, September 22
Thecaptain

My error, I cited 114 men got paid the unused sick pay bonus. That was year ending 2015. Year ending 2016, 139 men were paid the bonus. The max bonus pay is 15 days. The average payment of the 139 men was 14.28 days. Would you like me to list the names and the amounts of the pay? Well , here are a couple examples so that you know I have the data:

Brian Anderson - 15 days - $4672.50

Richard Bellavance - 14.54 days - $6198.50

Michael Cabral - 15 days - $4672.49

Vincent Campagna - 15 days - $4672.49

Robert Danella - 15 days - $4762.49

Jason Erban - 15 days - $5203.56

Jonathan Faucher - 15 days - $5615.64

Steven Guercia - 15 days - $4672.49

Thomas Jessop - 15 days - $6396.24

James Jordan - 15 days - $5615.64

Steven Kapalka - 15 days - $5203.56

Thomas Maymon - 14.64 days - $6730.04

Now here is a few examples of members who did not get paid and the amount of sick days they have in the bank: (per the Feb 15th report)

Agajanian - 66.26 days

Bedard - 67.92 days

Carreiro - 122.92 days

D'antonio - 47.92 days

Eccles - 95.26 days

Fontenault, K - 73.92 days

Grassi - 55.26 days

Hall - 40.59 days

Iamarone - 125.26 days

Johnson - 80,92 days

Zaino - 23.26 days

Shall I go on?

Friday, September 22
Warwick Man

Yes I would like to see all 139 and their Averages...

Friday, September 22
RISchadenfreude

"Sweetheart" public-sector union contract deals... remove the exclusive perks that aren't available in any sensible labor agreement and the WFD could replace apparatus when needed AND have cash left over for new Rescues and equipment. Don't expect any Chief to buck the system and end the sick time, substitution and other compensation abuses- it's a popularity contest and none of them want to removed by a "No Confidence Vote", a tool of threatened union members.

Friday, September 22
PaulHuff

What's the big deal about shift swaps? If fireman A switches with fireman B the city doesn't care who gets paid for covering the shift, A or B since the same amount is paid. Fireman B doesn't get paid overtime for the shift as he is working for free to cover fireman A's shift. Fireman A gets paid his regular amount and Fireman B isn't getting paid at all.

As long as the shift gets covered and doesn't cause overtime who cares? It's pretty common amongst shift workers.

Friday, September 22
Thecaptain

Paul,

You dont understand the issue. The change of shift allows the man to preserve his vacation day or sick day to be monetized at a later date for more money. In any other department, if you want a day off, you use your vacation day. Thats why every man retires with the maximum amount of unused vacation and unused sick days. It is costing millions of dollars. There were 2000 changes of shift last fiscal year, not including June.

Friday, September 22
Thecaptain

By Scott Wyland LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

Some Clark County firefighters appeared to have worked with their supervising officers to improperly use sick leave, according to e-mails obtained by the Review-Journal.

And no firefighter or department manager has been fired or punished for misusing the sick leave system, county and union leaders said.

The e-mails show that some firefighters worked with supervisors to arrange sick calls, sometimes months in advance, for vacation rather than for medical problems.

The wording at times is nonchalant, as if those involved believe what they’re doing is OK.

But the head of the local firefighters union said it is not all right.

The contract is clear that sick leave is to be used only when the employee or an immediate family member is ill and not as a substitute for vacation, said Ryan Beaman, president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 1908.

"The county should have shared information on misuse of sick leave when they discovered it," Beaman said.

County officials say they suspected abuse but were hamstrung by a contractual rule requiring a firefighter to miss four shifts in a row before a supervisor could take action.

Both the county and the union approved changing the rule to let a supervisor request a doctor’s note if five shifts are missed in a year.

County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani has dismissed the argument as an excuse and contended that county management could have taken some measures to fix the problem.

Written in 2009, the e-mails will be part of a report on allegations of sick leave abuse presented to county commissioners today .

The names on the messages were blacked out to comply with employee confidentiality laws.

County Commissioner Steve Sisolak requested the report. Two weeks ago, he called for an audit and criminal investigation after arbitrator Norman Brand noted firefighters’ possible sick leave abuse in his decision.

Sick leave and overtime helped push some firefighters’ pay above $200,000 a year. County firefighters average $180,000 yearly in wages and benefits, compared with $80,000 for members of the county’s largest union, the Service Employees International Union.

Brand chose the county’s contract offer over the firefighters’, a deal that could save taxpayers as much as $7.4 million a year. Commissioners are set to ratify the contract today.

Many of the e-mails indicate firefighters and their bosses were using sick leave and vacation days interchangeably.

One firefighter in April arranged sick days and overtime days for July.

"I will need July 17, 19 and 21 off (sick of course) and my last day of work will be the 23rd," the firefighter wrote. "I would like to work overtime on July 1, July 5. Thanks for being so nice about this and working with me. I really, really appreciate it!"

In one message, a supervisor wrote:

"There were a couple of vacation slots open on the 21st, but I couldn’t put you in them because your request came less than 24 hours in advance. You’ve been entered as Sick on that day."

In another message, a firefighter said he would "rather take vacation than call off sick."

"You got it," the battalion chief replied.

"Thnx chief!! a Bunch!!!" the firefighter wrote.

In a strongly worded message, one battalion chief expressed concern about firefighters calling in sick at the last minute so that a co-worker can receive callback pay for filling in. The bonus pay is given to firefighters who return to work less than 12 hours after they finish their shifts, and it counts toward pensions.

"If we could at least make the appearance of holding the contract in some regard, I would be appreciative," the chief wrote. "It goes without saying that the contract allows a lot of latitude to those who manipulate the system for their own financial gain."

District Attorney David Roger said that if any crime were committed, it would be theft. He said his staff is investigating the matter.

"I can’t say whether there’s a prosecutable case," he said.

Contrary to earlier statements, it’s not necessary for two people to conspire to break the law in this case, Roger said. If one person steals money from the county, that would be a crime, he added.

Sisolak said the e-mails are clear-cut proof of malfeasance.

"How can it not be a crime?" he asked. "It is fraud. The general public is so upset over the issue, even I am surprised."

Contact reporter Scott Wyland at swyland@ reviewjournal.com or 702-455-4519.

Friday, September 22
Warwickcitizen

Captain

You have no idea what our talking about, that’s great you put peoples name in the paper. They earned there time. Your just a loud mouth who has no understanding of a contract.

I just want to know if your the guy that poured gas down the septic system and caused a fire. Is that why you hate the fire department???

Just asking

Friday, September 22
Thecaptain

WarwickCitizen ( I mean Bill Lloyd)

Very good grammar. Try to stick to the subject and not attack the messenger. Can you do that? is it possible that you can address fiscal soundness? Aren't you also the guy who threatened a CVS boycott? Aren't you the guy who attempted to harass a Warwick resident at his place of employment? Lets just stick to the financial aspects and not make this a personal attack.

Friday, September 22
Warwickcitizen

Captain

Your a card carrying coward. Why don’t to go and swear and yell at women like your famous for . I wail ask once again to be a man and put your name on the ballot and

run for mayor and see how you make out .

Oh that’s right you don’t have the intestinal fortitude to do it

Friday, September 22
Thecaptain

Warwick citizen, I mean Bill Lloyd,

Let me see if I understand your mindset. So in your world, because I exercise my right as a taxpayer and perform public records access, analyze documents, and then question my government when I see inaccuracies in official documents, that means I am a coward? That is your position? And because I don't run for office because you dictate that I should, I am a coward? Is that your mentality Mr. Lloyd?

So all of these personal attacks from someone who remains anonymous, never stands alone in front of his adversaries and poses a question, I am the coward?

Tell ya what, at the next council meeting, approach me and tell me your thoughts face to face. At that juncture we will determine who the coward is.

Like I said, in the absence of a substantive argument about documents and facts, resort to attacking the messenger. Now that's the coward move. So, can we now move on to those members who took multiple days off for vacation and then called in sick on the first day of rotation and had the sick day written off to title 45? Must you force me to list those members as well? I'm tired and I need a good night sleep so I am in the right mental frame of mind tomorrow to fly aircraft. So have a good night Billy boy.

Friday, September 22
Reality

It must say it has become amusing reading this blog. I'm amazed that the new criteria for commenting on the latest fire contract is run for office. There are many things I disagree with that Pres. Trump does but I guess I can't have an opinion because I don't run for the Presidency. Get my point.... the 1st amendment allows freedom of speech. Something Mr. Llloyd of the WFD forgot when he urged CVS to fire an employee because that citizen had the nerve on his own time to make a presentation to the City Council regarding the sustainability of Warwick's pension plans.The WFD will always attack the messenger but they never refute the message.

Take the case of Mr. Cote. He presents his facts with copious documentation but the facts are never answered by the WFD but the personal attacks are numerous. I sure Mr. Cote doesn't do this investigation for personal gain but rather like us alll he's tried of the continual Avedisian tax increases.

I can understand why the WFD is frustrated....they are use to their rubber stamp aka vella-wilkinson as finance chair. There wasn't anything she won't do to buy their vote.

Considering the WFD rep keeps talking about elections....might I suggest going forward let's put their labor contracts on the ballot completed vetted so the taxpayers can see their true cost. I think they would be amazed

Saturday, September 23
Kammy

I am by no means as informed as the rest commenting on this article. For that I apologize and will do my best to get up to date on the issues presented above. My thoughts come from a lay persons viewpoint and an analogy of purchasing a family car.

My family needs to replace the family car. It is 12 years old and things are starting to show wear and tear. My repair bills are getting a bit more frequent. The car still drives but clearly it will need to be replaced. A look at our upcoming expenses showed that we would not have enough of a financial cushion if we purchased it this year. There wouldn't be enough in savings account to provide funds in the event of an emergency. Sure, I could get a great deal by turning in my car to the same dealership I bought it and have repairs done because they have offered me another incentive on top of the ones already offered....BUT...it would be better to put it off until we are near the end of the year before committing. By then we would know just how much we have left in our rainy day fund.

You see, your $350,000 is my $35,000. Could we swing it? Probably, but why take the chance? Could the car die? Possibly but we keep up on the repairs so it is unlikely. Is safety an issue? Not really but it could be.

It makes financial sense to me as an individual as well as a citizen that we can take our time to make sound financial decisions for purchases that are made with tax payer money. Politics aside, don't you think most people would agree?

Monday, September 25
Thecaptain

Kammy,

Your comments exemplify common sense and fiscal soundness.

Thank you.

Tuesday, September 26
Kammy

I was able to take some time and read the comments on this thread in their entirety and one thing really stood out to me.

Warwickcitizen never actually addressed the facts presented by Thecaptain. There are 13 facts listed. Not a single fact was refuted with more facts. I think if you state that you forgot more than he knows about the facts, wouldn't you want to list said facts? I am not trying to be a wiseguy, just wondering where/how you stand and on what grounds? You know the old saying that the one that yells first loses the fight? It is also true about calling someone names like coward and loud mouth. You don't have to agree with Thecaptain but name calling really brings your argument down. If you want to make your point then do it by refuting his facts with facts of your own.

I respect and admire the men and women that serve on our fire and police departments. They have done an exceptional job of keeping the citizens of Warwick safe.I don't believe anyone is trying to take anything away from them by shedding light on some issues. As Thecaptain illustrated, these issues are not just confined to Warwick, RI. They are issues communities are grappling with across the country. Sometimes you need a watchdog that is willing to do the digging and research (on their own time and dime) to bring things out into the open so we can fix what is wrong or what isn't working. Becoming aggressive or defensive isn't going to help either party.

Tuesday, September 26
Thecaptain

Kammy,

More facts will come out. For example, the abusive change of shift. Fire fighters on average work 15 shifts per month. There were 2000 changes of shift in FY2016-17. The department does not keep documentation on these (COS days) . The average man that has been on the job is taking 16 - 18 days off. That's over a month off with pay, with no reduction in vacation time, personal time, sick time etc..

There are numerous men taking 20+ days off and in fact one man took off 27 days by abusing this COS policy. That's 2 months of work (with pay) taken off with no reduction in sick time, vacation time or personal time.

Since it is not monitored and since by the chiefs own admission under questioning at the budget that they do not keep the paper work associated with the COS, then how is it monitored? It isn't, and it is costing the residents millions of dollars as it is all part of a bigger scam.

Another example - if you are injured outside of work, per the contract, you are not eligible for light duty, as light duty also incurs another man coming for you while you peel potatoes or "assist the training officer" etc..

Presently there is documentation of men that were off on vacation for up to 28 straight days and the first day back to work they call in sick and it is somehow job related. They have been on "light duty" for months and we the taxpayer incur the overtime costs. It needs to end.

Thursday, September 28
Warwick Man

Captain - you FALSLY stated "Another example - if you are injured outside of work, per the contract, you are not eligible for light duty, as light duty also incurs another man coming for you while you peel potatoes or "assist the training officer" etc..". This is complete false garbage again. Where in the contract does it say that? Kammy please research a little and you will find how wrong and blatant Cote's lies are...

Thursday, September 28
Thecaptain

Here is the contract stipulation on light duty. If you are injured non work related, you do not have the benefit of being paid on light duty while another man is taking your place. Interpret the last line of Section 4.

4. Employee’s Eligibility For Light Duty: An employee who is injured and subsequently unable to perform his or her normal duties due to either a service or non-service injury or illness, may, not less than thirty (30) days from the date of injury, be assigned to light duty upon examination and report by a doctor, selected by the City, or, the employee’s own physician, subject to the approval of the City that the person is capable of performing light duty, provided the City will not use light duty as a permanent situation, but for those situations where there is an expectation that the employee will at some future date return to full duty. Employees suffering from a non-service injury or illness shall not be required to work light duty.

Friday, September 29