Ordinance opens debate on affordablity of city benefits

By JOHN HOWELL
Posted 12/5/19

Ward 5 Councilman Ed Ladouceur said he wanted to open the debate on an issue that has been ignored for too long – the city’s mounting liability for health care and post-employment benefits for …

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Ordinance opens debate on affordablity of city benefits

Posted

Ward 5 Councilman Ed Ladouceur said he wanted to open the debate on an issue that has been ignored for too long – the city’s mounting liability for health care and post-employment benefits for city workers – when he introduced an ordinance to establish minimum co-pays and deductibles for active and retired workers.

It was more like he dropped a bomb than opened a door.

Instantly, there were claims that the seriousness of the situation is exaggerated and admonitions if he is truly looking for answers, then the first step should be to call all the parties together to mutually set a course of action.

But there’s no arguing Ladouceur had everyone’s attention.

Council Chambers were packed with active and retired city employees Monday night as two ordinances relating to employee benefits were on the docket. Both the Finance and Ordinance committees tabled action, after which the chambers cleared.

However, when the council convened, Ladouceur revealed he had made a mistake in drafting the ordinance.

“I’m not looking to take away health care from current employees,” he said, adding that the legislation would be amended. He said he was aware of the mistake prior to the council meeting and met with representatives of the fire, police and municipal employee unions to explain his intentions.

Nonetheless, there was a palatable uneasiness to the meeting. Unlike prior meetings where union contracts have been come before the council – and union members sit together in a block wearing similar T-shirts and, in some cases, carrying placards expressing their point of view – the audience was a mix of city workers. They were peaceable, applauding at times and eliminating their chatter when, during the Finance Committee meeting, Councilman Tim Howe forcibly told people to take their discussions outside the chambers, as he could not hear testimony.

City Solicitor Timothy Bliss said Tuesday he was pleased to hear that Ladouceur wasn’t looking to change the benefits of current retirees.

“If that ordinance were to be passed, it would be a major mistake,” he said. He predicted such an ordinance would embroil the city in long-term litigation with “no chance of succeeding.”
Ladouceur was buoyed by the respectful attention given the discussion.

“That says to me that most people realize this is a conversation that must take place,” he said.

Ladouceur said he met Tuesday morning with Walter Hartley, president of Local 1651 AFSCME RI Council 94, which represents about 230 city employees. He reported that Hartley wants to be a part of the discussion, adding that he wants him there.

“This isn’t about me,” Ladouceur said. “It’s about the people who elected me in the first place.”

He asks how AFSCME Council 94, which was represented at the meeting by lobbyist and senior staff representative Jim Cenerini, could question an ordinance that would alter health care benefits for future employees when state employees, also represented by Council 94, don’t get lifetime health care.

“Why is it OK for them and not right for Warwick?” he said.
In his comments before the Ordinance Committee, Cenerini observed that during the economic crisis of 2008, municipal employees made concessions that helped the city get through that tough time.

“We are willing to work with you and we are willing to talk to you. It should be done on our bargaining table, and not on someone else’s back. With that I look forward to seeing future discussion,” he said.

Ward 7 Councilman Steve McAllister, chair of the Ordinance Committee, said he and other members had not been contacted as to their opinions on the proposed legislation.

“Healthcare is critical to every individual and family. There are people on this council and in the public who have experience on healthcare issues and they should have been consulted. I also believe there should have been a meeting or an attempt to reach out to the employees and retirees that this has a direct effect on,” he said.

Ladouceur and City Council President Steve Merolla believe the legislation could save the city $5 million annually. In addition, they see it as stemming ever-increasing retiree health care costs that would have to be borne by the taxpayer and at the expense of funding needed to address the city’s aging infrastructure.

As it was noted that council would require a fiscal note to vote on the ordinance, no action was taken. The ordinance is expected to be on the Jan. 6 council docket.

As for the second piece of Ladouceur’s legislation simply labeled as an ordinance on “employee benefits,” the Finance Committee chaired by Ladouceur tabled discussion until January.

Asked about that bill, Ladouceur said the legislation has not been fully drafted and he prefers not to talk about his concept at this time.

“I haven’t started working on it. I’ve got enough of a firestorm started,” he said.

As for the measure that would set health care deduction and co-share minimums, Ladouceur is hopeful of having a meaningful dialogue, but he’s not backing away.

“We’re going to bring this to a vote and I would like to bring it to a vote where everybody is aboard,” he said.

Comments

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Roger

How Merolla actually practices law is beyond me.

Thursday, December 5, 2019
incredible

Joe Solomon is an big disappointment. So many people have told me the City Councilor Solomon is not the same Mayor Solomon.

Mayor Solomon has sold his soul to the unions.

Solomon's new fire contract makes Bernie Madoff proud. It's all back loaded.

Thursday, December 5, 2019
Do tell

How do you know the fire contract is back loaded? It hasn’t been released to the public in fact I don’t think the fire fighters have even seen the whole thing yet. I don’t believe it is legal for the public to see until after the council. But one more legal issue concerning this council would not be surprising .

Thursday, December 5, 2019
incredible

Flip Flop Joe said in his announcement that the WFD's contract would be good for taxpayers. What a lie.

It's back loaded when you analyze the healthcare costs for retired firemen.

DO TELL.....why doesn't the WFD publish in the Beacon how many millions the fire contract will cost the taxpayers ?

Be sure to include the TOTAL COST. That will let the taxpayers' judge if Joe is lying or not .

Thursday, December 5, 2019
Warwick_Resident1998

For Merolla and Ladouceur to have even brought this blatantly illegal ordinance forward shows either how incompetent or how irresponsible they are. They really are two stooges who cannot get out of their own way.

Thursday, December 5, 2019
Do tell

They retired with those benefits that were bargained for in good faith .The issue is the ridiculous cost for the administration of the healthcare.

Thursday, December 5, 2019
Dick Tracy

Submit a freedom of information request and you will get to see the summary and full contract.

You guys really are a bunch of dopes. This is classified top secret stuff.

Thursday, December 5, 2019
Thecaptain

Do tell,

Isn't it funny how I have the fire contract before the council does? By the way, lots of bogus language in this piece of garbage that the tax payer will eat. Here it is.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1s4Gxv6Ac0RJxeTQ-Q-Naqwa2fdEbw_Mu

Thursday, December 5, 2019
Do tell

Not worth commenting

Thursday, December 5, 2019
Do tell

Not worth commenting

Thursday, December 5, 2019
Roger

Captain,

You have the contract because you and The council Pres are creating lies together. Doesn’t surprise me at all.

Friday, December 6, 2019
Foundation

With regard to the unilateral changing of an ordinance in the thought that it will supersede a collective bargaining agreement is in fact an action that does not carry validity. This fact has been reinforced in a number of legal proceedings regarding differing issues that all relate to the same principal which is that benefits must be negotiated. Not distributed on a whim.

It should be noted that Mr. Merolla is not a labor attorney and while he is an attorney, the practice of law requires specialization of fields much like a doctor. You would not go see a cardiologist if you broke your leg. You would go see an orthopedic. Mr. Bliss, recently appointed as City Solicitor who specifically deals in labor relations and is employed at a decades established labor focused law firm has stated on the record that an action of this nature would ultimately be invalidated and would in fact cause great financial demands in the city and its taxpayers if this were to play out in the legal system.

Additionally, the firefighters contract has sweeping change, understanding that healthcare is not an issue localized to Warwick or the state, but nationally. That is the reason that firefighters negotiated responsibly to implement a new, innovative method towards aiding in the funding of healthcare that can be utilized as a blueprint for other bargaining units moving forward. The city and its residents will see a tremendous and substantive reduction in healthcare costs for decades to come. Those savings will most definitely compound.

The Captain (everyone knows who it is) is in fact a biased individual unfortunately, and no matter how fair a deal struck may be, I suspect that his satisfaction will not be met until workers represented by labor unions have been cut deeply beyond what is fiscally responsible. It is not about the good of the common man. It is about narcissism, ego, and destruction of an institution that he does not agree with. Unfortunately, the city and labor unions operate in a fair and equitable system, which unfortunately does not sit well with “The Captain” in my personal opinion.

Friday, December 6, 2019
Honestinfo

Robbie,Robbie,Robbie as I stated previously, you and Stevie work well together.

Everything you two do blows up in your face, caught again. Go Away!

Friday, December 6, 2019
Do tell

Bravo ! Foundation .

Friday, December 6, 2019
bill123

Based on the preliminary agreement on google drive (referenced by a commenter) :

The section on “Management Rights” (Art. I, Section 3) is meaningless. It begins by stating “Except to the extent there is contained in this Agreement or a duly established past practice . . .” This means anyone reading this agreement will have no idea what “management rights” actually are. It will take a team of attorneys and a historian to figure it out. On any question, past records would need to be researched. The city’s practice of using law firms as headquarters for the city solicitor and assistant solicitors means city records are scattered around at different law firms, if such records exist at all. Maybe some records are on google drive, like the one I just quoted from. Who knows where all the records are. The generalized “Except” clause needs to be removed. Every exception, if any, needs to be explicitly stated. There is no reason not to do so for such an important topic, except possibly (and ironically) they do not know all the exceptions.

Friday, December 6, 2019
davebarry

They want to go to drastic, illegal ordinances before doing simple things. Like:

Requriining future retirees to take a new employers health care or the spouses health care if available. That would put perhaps half of all retirees OFF of the city health care. The city could pay a bonus for not taking city plans. Many retirees are receiving bonuses from new employers for not taking THEIR plan!

Hey Morolla? Do you read these comments?

Friday, December 6, 2019
wwkvoter

The clock is counting down on the next maximum Warwick property tax hike in July... (will be announced even sooner). So it makes sense the council are debating this.

Friday, December 6, 2019
Apollo

davebarry

yes a one time option to take $50,000 instead for employee and if married spouse buy out $25,000 so single gets $50k and married $75k options. Not mandatory but a choice.

Sounds like a lot but it isn't. It would save millions for low amount of severence pay for non-health care waiver.

Friday, December 6, 2019
Apollo

This is what the private industry does. Opitional buy outs. It's a fair way of doing business.

Friday, December 6, 2019
Jimmy

The problem is, even it the department were all volunteer “The Captain” would complain that he wanted the firefighters to pay for drinking water. You will never ever please someone that doesn’t want to be pleased. He has every right to speak his mind. The good thing is no one listens.

Friday, December 6, 2019
Thecaptain

Yes, I am very biased against thieves, corruption, inept elected and appointed officials, and criminals like Bill Lloyd and Ed Armstrong along with Scotty, who manipulated contract language to steal from the taxpayers. That is fact and it is documented. Yet the dopes on the council, the Mayor who touts he is both a lawyer and a CPA, and Harrington, all missed the manipulations. So don't blame me for the arbitration, blame the people who signed on board for this garbage contract that could be ripped apart by a 3rd grader. Naturally, not a Warwick 3rd grader due to our substandard school system, but a third grader from, say, The Bronx. Dont disparage the messenger just because its your defense mechanism.

Solomon, signs a resolution to hire YKSM to investigate the fire department on Feb 19th. Goes on the Dan Yorke show on April 20 and says " I have no knowledge of any 3rd party CPA firm working for the council". LIAR.

The lawyer CPA, who is the legal adviser for the RI Automobile dealers association has 6 dealer plates. Supposed to sell 100 cars annually per 3 plates. Sells no cars, yet keeps dealer plates on his own vehicles beating the registration fees and the car tax, goes before the board of review, the state police says he is violation, and the dope says "I DID NOTHING WRONG". LIAR !!! IDIOT!!

If any other dealer did that he would have his dealership license revoked.

Jimmy and all the other fake fire fu*&ers on this page slammed him as incompetent when he released details of a tentative contract that wasnt ratified. Jimmy Jimmy called him every incompetent name in the book. Now he is the best thing ever, because he is allowing the theft to go unchecked.

Anyone how disagrees with the fake names that are fire f*&kers are just biased. RIGHT

Yet I get the contract before any member of the council. Explain that Jimmy?? And it did not come from Merolla, it came because I formally requested it under APRA rules. I sent it to the council. That in itself speaks volumes.

Friday, December 6, 2019
Samuel

Hey Captain how does it feel to be the town clown? The one everyone calls a laughing stock? The one who has not accomplished a thing ever? The one that gets an idiot councilman to illegally get free public request documents because you can't afford them? The one that brags about killing hundreds of animals and then cries that he didn't really mean it when he got caught? How are the FBI investigations going? All this because you couldn't make money off the fire department and the city not letting you use the pool anymore. You must be such an unhappy ignorant little fat man.

Friday, December 6, 2019
Jimmy

Captain,

How come every administration, council, solicitor, lawyer, etc. (didn’t you claim Ragusta was a great honest guy, He signed off on this) past and present looked at all Of this and so ok let’s work together. Yet you call them all imbeciles and idiots. Maybe you have things backwards. Why are you the only person who claims wrong doing.

Friday, December 6, 2019
Apollo

The Captain has lost. His character has been exposed for all to see.

Why do you call yourself the Captain? You're not a leader but a troubled, weak man. You're no nobleman.

I'm not a firefighter but I think most can agree you're a real jerk.

Saturday, December 7, 2019
Jimmy

The captain, just so everyone knows, calls the firefighters theives, corrupt criminals, etc... but when we call him a liar he runs to the chief and cries about the online harassment. Really. We call you a liar, which is true and you run to the chief. He drives around parking lots filming us but when spotted drives away like a frightened child. Do you really think any of us would waste our time on you? Trust me we’re not that concerned with you, I just like to see your erroneous comments here.

Saturday, December 7, 2019
Happy

I only have one question,

How the hell do municipal employees get so much better benefits than the folks that foot them through the taxes they pay?

I would kill for those benefits and I'm paying for them.

What's wrong with this picture folks?

Saturday, December 7, 2019
Roger

Happy,

Easy, grab an application....

Saturday, December 7, 2019
Thecaptain

Hey Jimmy, (Bill Lloyd the criminal)

FYI, Ragusta did not sign off on the contract. In fact, he pushed the city to appeal the arbitration finding. You would know that if in fact you had a copy of the final dissenting argument. He called "the actions of the Warwick Fire Department and Bill Lloyd as chicanery and manipulative". I know you dont have a copy of the final argument, but I do.

Here is another quote from page 46: "Bluntly stated, the unions tactic of waiting in the weeds has been purely disingenuous. In my opinion, the panel should have so concluded as well, and denied the unions grievance as non-arbitrable and untimely, but the majority opted to become willfully blind to the unions chicanery."

And his last statement on page 52: "The panels arbitral ruination of the pension fund amendments simply fuels the avarice of the union and unwinds the city's efforts to maintain an affordable and sustainable pension for its firefighters. And so, to the union, it must be said, be careful what you wish for."

Saturday, December 7, 2019
Jimmy

I can’t wait till the 16th. We get to see little Bobby blow his lid, like a child that can’t get a toy in the checkout isle. Gonna be a treat to watch. As far as the other stuff. Ragusta went line by line of new contract proposal and signed off. And I’m not going to try to explain Grievance Law to you. You can’t file a grievance until you are harmed. It took two years for that fake ordinance to harm anyone. Simple stuff Bobby. Simple stuff you can’t grasp. Again, you are the ONLY one that complains. No one listens to you.

Saturday, December 7, 2019
Daydreambeliever

Captain has Bill Lloyd ever been arrested for you to call him a criminal? I do know him and he has not ever been arrested however you have.

You sir are not a saint and maybe haven't been convicted yourself but you have been before the court of law unlike Bill Lloyd, Ed Armstrong, Jim McLaughlin , Marcel Fontenault and many others you've call thieves.

When one is arrested for the crimes you say they committed I'll be here to say I agree with you until then stop the name calling.

Furthermore this isn't harassment so stop running to the previous administration as well as this one as you do to tell us to stop because your feelings are hurt.

We will all be there the 16th as emp!oyees, taxpayers along with yourself for the council ratification.

You will get your turn to speak but some of us will also. Most importantly try and remember that you don't get a vote. I know this is difficult for you to process but it's the 9 council members elected by the taxpayers of Warwick who vote.

Merolla and Ladocuer are already a no vote we won't be surprised at all.

Sunday, December 8, 2019
Tom Hobson

As a private sector employee i pay 5000.00 dollars a year just for my part of my health insurance and its sure to keep going up.on top of that are co payments for doctor visits and prescriptions.my taxes increased 400 dollars a year while other properties saw no increases.that being said i can see the point of the unions because the ordinance is changing something that was expected to be there.no one seems to understand the gravity of the cities financial issues.so taxpayers dont want to pay more and unions dont want to pay more.so both sides are wrong in my opinion.at the end of the day we all pay it just comes down to who pays what.there needs to be fairness in the tax system and fiscal responsibility on the spending side because the well will rin dry at some point.

Sunday, December 8, 2019
Thecaptain

Bill Lloyd and Ed Armstrong knowingly and willfully manipulated contract language which resulted in over payments of sick time and vacation time. That is undisputed fact. The city chose not to take any action which in itself shows the ineptness of Mayors office. However, what is interesting, is that now the unused vacation has reverted back to 1/5th as it was historically before Bill Lloyd and Ed Armstrong changed the language after the 2015 contract was ratified. These changes resulted in payments made by electronic wire transfer which is a crime. Contract manipulation is a crime. Ed Armstrong even went so far as to produce an instruction sheet for the book keeper so the scheme could continue. I'm sure all the hero's will be in attendance but you will see that not one of them will get up and give their name and speak. Especially the comment jokers on this page.

Sunday, December 8, 2019
Captain Criminal

Isn't "the captain" the same guy who has been arrested numerous times for making crank calls, assaulting a DPW worker, and almost blowing up an entire neighborhood by pouring gasoline down a storm drain? Not to mention, he was removed from a local funeral home by the police for disrupting a funeral service. How does he have any credibility, and more importantly, how does he have any dignity?

Sunday, December 8, 2019
Apollo

Tom Hobson,

That's close to what city workers pay for health care. I know it sucks. RI sucks. My mortgage went up $100 a month due to escrow. (I dont live in Warwick), wish I did.

Electric prices thru the roof. Heating. Food.

I can't wait to move to a warmer climate. Less people, better roads and a lower cost of living than New England.

Sunday, December 8, 2019
Daydreambeliever

No arrests for the supposed wire transfers so not a crime.

No arrests for the supposed contract manipulation so not a crime.

No arrest for a so called instruction sheet so not a crime.

What else you got Bobby?

Sunday, December 8, 2019
Jimmy

The fraud captain keeps claiming fire department members changed language in the contract.... what this fraud fails to mention is the ONLY copy of the contract the can be edited is locked in the mayors office... nice try Bobby...

Sunday, December 8, 2019
Thecaptain

Hey Jimmy,

I exposed the fact that the unused sick time was being manipulated by paying out an annual benefit on a monthly basis instead of annually and the remainder was carried over. A direct violation of the contract terms. Guess what, that is now removed from the contract now on the table.

I exposed the fact that the verbiage of unused vacation time was changed from 1/5th weeks pay to 1/4th weeks pay. That fraction was changed by Lloyd and Armstrong resulting in $100,000 of excess payments. That language has now been corrected in the contract now on the table.

So why are the issues that I exposed being changed back to the appropriate language preventing you boys from continuing to steal from the taxpayers? You and Apollo are right, I'm irrelevant. Oh, I forgot. "It was an accounting error" (Michael Corriero).

AHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAH

Monday, December 9, 2019
Daydreambeliever

See you next Monday Bobby for the voting and passing of the contract.

HAHAHA HAHAHA which will be good until 6/2022.

Next up teachers in 2020 and police and municipal in 2021 I'm looking forward to you spouting off then also about thieves , fraud and corruption.

Oh but Bobby would never spout off on PD with there generous healthcare and free lifetime healthcare that mimic the firefighters.

Of course we will have to listen to Merolla and Ladocuer have diarrhea of the mouth and ramble on needlessly.

Monday, December 9, 2019
Jimmy

Lol, the city wanted to pay us monthly for sick time. We agreed to help out the city. Why don’t you ask Scotty A. The union had ZERO to do with that. We prefer it be paid annually. Thanks I guess. Lol,.

Monday, December 9, 2019
Daydreambeliever

Does anyone recall a certain someone (meaning Bobby) bitching and bitching and bitching every March when the city would pay out in a lump sum for unused sick ?

So what did the city and firefighters do? They went to a monthly payout 10-12 year ago to appease him through contract negotiations.

Now the same buffoon Bobby wants to take credit to going back to the annual lump payment he bitched about years ago. Which Bobby they prefer tyvm.

This jackass is never happy but wants to stroke himself repeatedly.

Can anyone say egotistical narcissist ??? Anyone ?

Monday, December 9, 2019
Thecaptain

hey Jimmy,

You and your other buddies were invited tonight to go on the Dan Yorke show and debate your position. But we all know that you wont do that because

A. You are unable to speak cognitively in public.

B. You are an anonymous entity.

C. You will get beat like a red headed step child on the facts and the manipulation.

D. You are simply afraid to stand up for what you know is wrong.

So , I ask, where are your balls??

Monday, December 9, 2019
Daydreambeliever

Does anyone else notice that only Bobby's posts mention balls. Bobby has an infatuation with them apparently thats why he goes on Dan York to stroke his balls under the desk.

Monday, December 9, 2019
Jimmy

Captain,

Last I checked you and Dan Yorke have ZERO impact in contract ratification. We wouldn’t waste 20 seconds debating you. We didn’t even know or care you were on his show. Keep on keeping on....

Monday, December 9, 2019
Joe k

Unfortunately for Dan York’e his credibility is diminishing more and more when he has 2 time loser Ken Block and the village idiot on his show. Clearly don’t know all the facts before spouting off ,cherry picking as usual.

Monday, December 9, 2019
Cookie

I have worked for a company that has been in Warwick since 1982. Here is what happens. Our deductibles and medical are sky high . They stopped the pension. We have to put into a 401k. So the bottom line to me bringing this up is we the people have to do it why the hell can't the fire and police along with city workers and teachers. what we need in Warwick is someone that can stand up and say enough is enough. Well the real warwick goverment please stand up.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Robert M

So when a person contributes to a pension for 25 years or so without a say in the amount or how and where the money is invested , how could that possibly be converted to a 401k? Just curious

Tuesday, December 10, 2019
GRIFTERS

What a sad collection of keyboard warriors DOING NOTHING TO FIX the problem of unsustainable pension costs for the taxpayers. Just today, the Warwick Beacon writes it will cost more than 19 thousand dollars to educate one student for nationally bottom of the barrel test results? Ask yourself why Warwick is NEVER EVER RECOMMENDED on City-Data.com as a desirable city to relocate to??? I think you know the answer.

Now I know why other media outlets turn off comments. You all are grifters. The truth is some of you here are benefiting from the generous giveaways to the fire department and will retire very wealthy. If I was in that situation - I wouldn't want to rock the boat either, but your attacks are so obviously bias and not rooted in facts. Rob Cote can be called many things but at least HE IS TRYING TO DO SOMETHING. What are you all doing besides calling him names?? It's not a wonder why the same 5 people only comment on this website, they all have a lucrative pension to protect. Do you all even live here? My guess is no. By the looks of most of the crew during the last CC meeting, some of you are still living with your parents. I saw very little in the way of "retirees". Why is that? Oh... Because they don't even live in Rhode Island any longer and who can blame them??

Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Libra

Cookie - This is a two part problem. First, NOBODY cares. Not even when the residents taxes went up by upwards of $1,000 - nobody showed up at city hall. Secondly, n o b o d y c a r e s. If they did, they'd hold their city council people accountable. Even our MAYOR is giving the CC a big F-U!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019
TJO

How many screen names does Stacia use? Doesnt she realize we can tell right away its her? Didnt she move from warwick recently? Why does she even still care. Oh thats right...she is still obsessing and bitter over the elections she lost. She is obsessive at best and also mentally unstable. I'm sure all of her ex-husbands would agree that she is a crazy nutjob.

As far as Cote is concerned...he is still bitter about losing a government contract. Another obsessed lunatic. Kills innocent animals, harrasses people at funerals, dumps gasoline down the drains...yeah he is a real pillar of the community. His obsession is purely retaliatory because he got his feelings hurt years ago. He has some more skeletons in his closet though...and they will come out!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019
spider rico

old stacia hubbard, went to the cupboard to get poor cushman a bone, when she bent over, cote took over and gave her a bone of her own ohhhhh!!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019