I'm sure you were surprised last night at the level of disdain shown to you by Local799 & the Providence FOP.
There are two factors for this and it's not because of the COLAs. The first factor is that we feel that you're attempting to solve the City's financial problems on our backs. Not only are you asking for the rescinding of COLAs indefinately but at the same time you are also looking to institute (outside of a CBA) a 20% healthcare co-share. And this is on top of attempting to move retirees into the Medicare system when none of these retired members have paid into the system at all.
Then there is the fact that you negotiated a CBA with Local799 on 28June11 which consisted pretty much entirely on union concessions to assist the City's financial burden and then (less than a year later) insist on sweeping pension changes without the benefit of negotiations which could have possibly saved the City money while minimizing the detrimental effects on individual members. That's why we consider you a liar and not a man of his word. The fact that we had dealt with a mayor who was a liar for the previous 8 years before you took office makes this even more insulting to us. We had high hopes that you were issuing in an administration with integrity and honesty.
We all understand that you have a daunting task in righting the City, and our pension system, but your proposed changes are going beyond what is needed. The system took about 30 years, since Cianci screwed with it, to get to this point of unfunded liability. It doesn't have to be fixed overnight. Changes already put in place have begun to change the direction of the system and additional smaller changes mutually agreed upon could continue that trend forward without decimating the individual retirees and future retirees.
None of these previous, pending or future negotiated changes will even come close to solving the long term pension system woes, however, if the City does not contribute its required anual payments in a timely fashion. As I've read the proposals and proposed budget, there is no intent on your part to meet these payments for the FY 2012-2013. This is only setting the stage for another financial catastrophe in the system a few years down the line despite your proposed changes. What happens then? More cuts to the benfits being paid to retirees!
Providence Fire Department