Cumberland seeks Superior Court ruling on FOP contract vote

Cumberland seeks Superior Court ruling on FOP contract vote

CUMBERLAND - Joseph Rodio, the attorney representing Cumberland in its standoff with unionized police officers, says the whole disagreement comes down to this:

The spouses of seven married officers will be required to get health care insurance at their places of employment, rather than through Cumberland, thereby losing a "buy-back" benefit from their employers worth as much as $3,000 a year.

That's the real reason, claims Rodio, that members of Cumberland Lodge 14 took a second vote to unanimously reject the contract a week after they'd ratified on Nov. 29.

And it's that second vote that has propelled the town into Superior Court with a complaint last week.

Rodio is asking a Superior Court judge to declare the contract valid based on the Nov. 29 vote making the officers bound by the terms of the agreement that was also approved by the Town Council on Dec. 9.

Rhode Island labor laws make no allowance for retaking a ratification vote, says Rodio.

Moreover, the contract plan doesn't work without that disputed provision for coordinating benefits between spouses, says Rodio.

Town officials say elements of the three-year contract nest atop each other in a manner that makes it impossible to eliminate the coordination of benefits concession.

Under the new contract, spouses of retired officers must accept health care coverage at their place of employment and may not instead accept a bonus buyout or enjoy double coverage from two employers.

Worth $400,000 in savings to the town, the COB piece makes it possible, Rodio says, to preserve most pension and retirement benefits for current officers while cutting them for new officers.

To make up for it, says Rodio, officers would have to not only give up all raises and longevity payments but also take a 5 percent cut.

Union members, meanwhile, argued the night of the council contract vote, and have ever since, that the coordination of health care benefits provision hadn't been explained properly.

They contend they were voting on contract bullet-points contained in a two-page memo and misunderstood one item.

The second vote, based on a long memorandum of understanding is the real basis for the rejection, they're saying.

Sgt. Michael Ride, FOP vice president, said then that the police officers "had no idea what they just voted on."

Their attorney, Elizabeth Wiens, and Ride had tried to speak at the start of the Dec. 9 special Town Council meeting, before the council's vote of approval, but were shut off by President James Higgins who told them the time for negotiations was over.

Officer Robert Fay, president of Lodge 14 of the Fraternal Order of Police, declined comment to The Breeze after the town filed in court.

Rodio and McKee contend the COB provision was made clear in numerous negotiation sessions.

Comments

Never enough!

If you are an ERSRI retiree, and oppose the Settlement Agreement and, if you don't want give up your yearly COLA forever,email me at ersriretireesunited@aol.com.
On or around 4/7,you will be put in a Class emcompassing all retirees, and you will be on your way to loosing your vested retirement rights to your yrly.COLA forever.

I just can't believe that they voted on a contract that they didn'y know much about. Shame on you. You snooze, you lose

No position of the contract/suit.

BUT, BUT if Johnny feels the Mayor has a personal editor, wow...not sure which Mayor of Cumberland you are talking about....or which editor (of the VB, implied) either.

You obviously aren't from Cumberland or you never read the VB. Ms. Green is no one's personal editor.

Use the following link to see information about Celeberto and her Naples Florida retirement. Of course she doesn't want to lose her precious COLA. She wants the rest of us to pay for her days at the beach. Another blood sucking public pensioner... Sorry sweetie, it's coming to and end. http://ri-pensions.findthebest.com/l/13911/Catherine-M-Celeberto