To the Editor:
The City Council will be taking up the question of ratifying the new firefighter contract that has been tentatively agreed upon by the mayor and the Firefighter Union leadership. The vote will likely come sooner than later as our city leaders rush to codify an agreement that boasts no raises and the resolution of grievances that have lingered for a while. These are points that civic leaders celebrate as a victory for the taxpayer. While that may appear to be so and despite my respect for the WFD I have a responsibility to speak up and insist on three points to be considered before any vote to ratify is cast:
1. Any tentative contract that the council receives for ratification should be complete and absolute. The entire contract should be available for study. Otherwise, there should be no vote to ratify.
2. A formal fiscal note should accompany the contract. It should clearly indicate any cost savings or any cost increases in the changes from the agreement currently in place. All council members should stipulate, on the record, that they have read all the documents and understand them thoroughly before a vote is taken to ratify.
3. And finally, the Warwick City Council should also hold the vote to ratify until the FBI completes and reports to the council the findings of their ongoing investigation. This is an important, common sense measure that will insure that any contract signed is strong and sustainable for the firefighters and the taxpayers they serve.
As the Warwick GOP Chair it is important for me to help inform the citizens of Warwick and take up the pen to stimulate discussion on these very important issues. I ask that the City Council act responsibly. Take your time. Read the agreement. Understand the agreement. Know the cost of the changes. It is your fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers of Warwick.
The citizens of Warwick deserve advocacy from their elected officials and in its absence they will advocate for themselves and elect public servants that will stand up for them against the political and social pressures that have brought us to this tipping point as a community.
When the meeting date for this ratification vote is set it is important that taxpayers make an effort to be in attendance. Your councilperson needs to see you. They need to know you are watching and that their votes matter to you. The City Council members need to be made aware of the fact that it is you they serve and, if necessary, you will turn to new leaders that are listening and ready to be true advocates for their constituents.
Warwick GOP Chair