Peace in the Valley: Inside the Firefighters New Contract

WPCNR QUILL & EYESHADE. By John F. Bailey. March 5, 2017:

WPCNR has learned some new details that are key components of the new Firefighter contract that the White Plains Common Council will consider ratification Monday evening. (See the earlier article on the settlement.)

According to City Chief of Staff and Corporation Counsel John Callahan in a written statement to WPCNR, ”Yes, starting pay is down for new hires. Under the old pay plan, as of July 1, 2016 new hires would have been paid $60, 835 per year.  Under the new pay plan, if the Council approves the agreement, new hires will be paid $50,000. ”

Asked if police who joined the Department of Public Safety prior to July 1, 1995 were receiving the full 100% health care benefit now, Callahan, in a statement confirmed they were:

“POLICE HIRED BEFORE JULY 1, 1995 AND WHO RETIRED ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 2015 ARE RECEIVING THE INCREASED HEALTH INSURANCE BENEFIT IN RETIREMENT. THE CURRENT POLICE CONTRACT WAS RATIFIED BY BOTH SIDES PRIOR TO JULY 1, 2015.

On drug testing provision which the fire fighters union agreed to, WPCNR asked whether alcohol use was one of the substances to be tested. Callahan said it was not.

Queried on whether in the drug testing program, if there was provision allowing for testing a person whom management thinks may be using drugs, but who has not come up for a random test, would that suspected drug user, be brought up on possible review by management and asked to submit to a drug test on the spot? Callahan confirmed this:

“IN ADDITION TO THE NEW RANDOM DRUG TESTING, EMPLOYEES MAY BE TESTED WHEN THERE IS REASONABLE SUSPICION THEY ARE USING DRUGS. “

 

 

 

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FIREFIGHTERS HAMMER OUT NEW CONTRACT WITH CITY. COUNCIL SET APPROVE PARITY WITH POLICE ON WAGES, RANDOM DRUG TESTING, 100% HEALTH CARE FOR THOSE HIRED BEFORE July 1, 1995

WPCNR QUILL & EYESHADE.By John F. Bailey  March 4, 2017 UPDATED  11:30 PM E.S.T. WITH STATEMENT FROM CITY HALL WITH DETAILS(IN BOLD ITALICS TYPE) UPDATED SUNDAY MARCH 4, 11:08 A.M.:

The White Plains Professional Firefighters Union # 274, without a contract for 1 year and 8 months, John Callahan, Corporation Counsel for the City of White Plains confirms to WPCNR, the firefighters union membership approved a new  contract Thursday evening.

The firefighters, if the Common Council ratifies the contract at the Monday evening will have won retroactive wage increases of 2% for 2015-16, 2-1/4% in 2016-17, and a 2-1/2% wage increase in 2017-2018 achieving parity with the police department.

According to the agreement, those hired on or after July 1, 2015 will receive in addition to their salary, longevity payments of 3% plus $350 after 10 years of service in the force, and 4% plus $350 after 15 years payment beginning July 1st each year following when the firefighter becomes eligble.

John Callahan, White Plains Chief of Staff and Corporation Counsel, furnished this written statement to WPCNR Saturday evening:

” I would like to offer some additions/clarifications/corrections to the
article currently posted on the WPCNR website regarding the collective
bargaining agreement between the City of White Plains and the
Professional Firefighters Association, Inc, Local 274, I.A.F.F.,
A.F.L.-C.I.O. (“PFFA”).

The city was notified by the PFFA’s attorney on Thursday evening that
the union had approved the proposed collective bargaining agreement.
The agreement will be voted on this Monday evening by the Common
Council.

If the Council approves the agreement, only those pre-1995 employees
who retire subsequent to the Council approving the agreement will
receive increased health insurance benefits in retirement. 

These increased benefits will be  made possible because of savings that will be realized by a new pay plan that will go into effect for all employees covered under the agreement who are hired after the Council approves the agreement. Each of our large bargaining units (PBA, Teamsters, CSEA and PFFA) have now agreed to new pay plans for newly hired employees.

Your article indicates that challenges to the ordinance requiring
certain retirees to contribute towards the cost of their health
insurance have been successful. That is not the case.  

In every forum where these challenges have been brought and where a final determination has been made, the requirement for a retiree contribution towards  health insurance coverage has been upheld.  A specific challenge you mention, initially brought by attorney Albert Pirro, is still pending in federal court.

That case has not yet been decided.

Thank you for the opportunity to expand and correct the record.

Mr. Callahan said the case is now in “Motion Practice,” Also, please be advised that Joseph Maria is representing  the plaintiffs in the current federal court proceeding.  He is not representing the city.  The city is being represented by the law firms Lamb and Barnowsky, and Wilson Elser. 

(WPCNR thanks Mr. Callahan for his contributing this clarification.)

Callahan, in addition said that 12 new firefighters will be hired under the terms of the new contract (to be up for Common Council ratification Monday evening) which creates a new wage scale for incoming firefighters.

In two other significant changes in the contract up for ratification–

The White Plains Firefighters  agreed to the new city policy of random drug testing for possible use of controlled substances (including marijuana) as defined by Section 220(5) of New York Penal Law, and marijuana, as it is defined in Section 220(6).

Not every firefighter will be tested, since selection of who is tested will be determined by computer. There is no indication in the material outlining the drug testing of whether management can test a firefighter on suspicion of drug use.

As the Police won back 100% Health Care benefits  for retired and retiring officers hired before July 1, 1995, the firefighters already retired will receive this benefit back in their new contract if the Common Council ratifies the contract. The police won this restoration of full benefits to pre 1995 retirees,  after suing the city over the city policy of requiring those retirees to pay 15% of their health care and had it written into their new contract through 2018(now in effect). Albert Pirro took that police case that is still pending, as Callahan explains.

However the city has proceeded as Callahan indicates to put the full 100% payment of health benefits for those joining the police force before July 1, 1995, into the new police contract running through June 30, 2018.

The new fire contract for Council consideration  is retroactive to July 1, 2015 and expires in 15 months. So all unions, WPCNR believes will be back in negotiations a year from now.

Union Officials have been contacted for comment.

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THIS WEEK ON PEOPLE TO BE HEARD–JOHN McNELLIS ON GETTING STARTED AS A DEVELOPER IN TODAY’S MARKET ON THE INTERNET

JOHN BAILEY INTERVIEWS

JOHN MCNELLIS

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AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLER

“MAKING IT IN REAL ESTATE

STARTING OUT AS A DEVELOPER”

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KEYNOTE SPEAKER OF LAST WEEK’S URBAN LAND INSTITUTE MEETING in WHITE PLAINS, NY, USA

SEE HIM NOW  WORLDWIDE ON 

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(Check People To Head program list, and click on the download)

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ON STARTING OUT

HOW TO GROW YOUR REAL ESTATE SUCCESSFULLY

THE PERSONALITY IT TAKES TO BE SUCCESSFUL

THE MISSTEPS

THE STEPS THAT HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL FOR HIM

THE KIND OF REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT YOU SHOULD LOOK FOR

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WHITE PLAINS WEEK ON THE INTERNET NOW ON YOUTUBE, WHITEPLAINSWEEK.COM AND WPCOMMUNITYMEDIA.ORG SEE IT INSTANTLY!

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THE MILAGROS LECUONA FIRE SAFETY NEWS CONFERENCE

THE REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES INTRODUCE THEMSELVES

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Counry Executive Robert P. Astorino to Jewish Leaders: We’re With You. County Offers Security Reviews of Jewish Facilities

WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Department of Communications. March 2, 2017:

Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino, along with Public Safety Commissioner George Longworth, met today with more than 20 executive directors of local synagogues in an effort to reassure the large Westchester Jewish community unnerved by a recent spate of bomb threats and swastika graffiti locally and nationwide.

“The intimidation, hate and threats of violence directed at our Jewish community is absolutely wrong, hateful and disgusting and we will not stand for it,” said Astorino.  “We are working with local, state and federal law enforcement to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice, and we are also working with our partners to constantly improve our risk assessment and response capabilities to increase the safety and security for all our communities in Westchester.”

Astorino and Longworth offered to all houses of worship and community centers the option of having county law enforcement experts provide for a full security appraisal of their facilities, and subsequent recommendations for improvement if needed.  Anyone interested in the free offering can call the County Police at: 914-864-7710 to get one scheduled.

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COUNCILWOMAN BETH SMAYDA ANNOUNCES SHE WILL NOT RUN FOR REELECTION to the COMMON COUNCIL. NOMINATIONS EXTENDED. SMAYDA SAYS: WILL COMPLETE HER TERM

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WPCNR CAMPAIGN 2017. Special to WPCNR from  the White Plains City Democratic Committee with Supplementary Reporting by WPCNR. UPDATED March 1, 2017 4:50 PM EST UPDATE 5:45 P.M. EST:

On the eve of the introduction of three Democrats announcing their intentions to primary the incumbent Democratic Councilpersons (John Martin, Beth Smayda and John Kirkpatrick) expected to run for reelection in November,

Councilwoman Smayda has announced she will not run for reelection, but assures WPCNR she will definitely complete her term, just not run for relection.

Ms. Smayda gave this statement on her new direction to WPCNR when contacted for background on her decision to leave the Council:

“Thank you, John, for your email asking about my decision not to run for re-election to the White Plains Common Council.  It has been rewarding to serve with our Mayor, numerous Council colleagues, and a professional and hard-working City staff. 

Considerations in my decision are having accomplished much of what I originally set out to do almost eight years ago (particularly in the areas of the City’s financial turnaround and improved managerial practices), increased professional responsibilities, and the opportunity to spend more time with our children who are scattered across the country.”

Ms. Smayda was first elected to the Common Council in 2009, and reelected in 2013.She has served seven years on the council, and is one of three women members of the Council(the other two are Milagros Lecuona and Nadine Hunt-Robinson).

Tim James, the newly elected Chair of the Democrat City Committee announced this in a news release this morning sent at noon today, writing:
“White Plains Common Council Member Beth Smayda has decided not to run for re-election this year.
 
In light of that development, Vicki Presser, Chair of the White Plains Democratic City Committee’s Nominating Committee, has extended the time for requests to be interviewed by the Nominating Committee for the position of Common Council Member to March 15.
 
Any person who has not already had or scheduled an interview who wishes to be considered by the Nominating Committee for the position of Common Council Member in this year’s elections should contact Vicki Presser by e-mail at vpesser@aol.com by March 15 (but preferably as soon as possible)..
 
As a result, the City Committee’s endorsement for Common Council will be made at its April meeting (date not yet determined), rather than at its March meeting (on March 30), as previously planned.  The City Committee’s endorsement for Mayor will still be made at the March 30 meeting.
 
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Group Home Hearing on 22 New York Avenue South Rescheduled for March 7,7:30

 

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The public hearing in relation to the proposed establishment of a community residence facility at 22 New York Avenue South by the Institute of Applied Human Dynamics, Inc., pursuant to New York State Mental Hygiene Law Section 41.34, originally adjourned to February 27, 2017 will be adjourned toTuesday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Common Council Chamber of City Hall.

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Service Employees International Union Statement on President’s Comments on Immigration in President’s State of the Union Message Tuesday Evening

WPCNR LETTER TICKER. MARCH 1, 2017:

 
Service Employees International Union 32BJ STATEMENT ON President Trump’s State of the Union Message to Congress:

Hector Figueroa, President of 32BJ SEIU, one of the largest unions representing immigrant workers in the country has issued this statement after President Trump’s speech Tuesday evening:

“As a union representing 163,000 immigrant and native-born workers we remain committed to working towards a solution to fix our broken immigration system so all workers have full and complete access to the protection of labor, health and safety and other laws including a legal path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

A comprehensive immigration reform that lives up to our values as a country of immigrants cannot and should not divide families, disenfranchise millions of residents by creating a permanent underclass without voting rights or be based on arbitrary requirements that threaten people’s right to due process.

The question now is: can this administration be trusted to lead on this issue after all the fear and chaos that has already torn apart immigrant communities across the country?

“Most Americans recognize the contributions of hardworking, taxpaying immigrants and are ready for a system that is humane and effective and legalizes those who are living in the shadows while keeping our nation safe, secure and globally competitive.

“We are a nation that respects hard work, family and the pursuit of the American Dream. Our immigration system must hold true to these principles.”

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County Committee on Infrastructure Goes Over Kensico Ice Rink Project with Fine Tooth Comb. Finds Snarls.

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KENSICO ICE RINK DEVELOPMENT BEING ANNOUNCED BY COUNTY EXECUTIVE ROBERT ASTORINO IN AUGUST, 7 MONTHS AGO. (WPCNR ARCHIVES)

WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. Special to WPCNR from the Westchester County Board of Legislators. March 1, 2017:

On Tuesday, the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) Committee on Infrastructure reviewed County Executive Rob Astorino’s proposed ice skating rink to be located at the Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla. (Rendering shown below.)

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MJICEMEETING

County Legislator Mary Jane Shimsky framing a question at the Committee on Infrastructure meeting on the Ice Rink proposal (Photo, Westchester County Board of Legislators)

Legislators, including Infrastructure Chair MaryJane Shimsky (D-Hastings-on-Hudson) asked tough questions about the proposal’s economic viability and its wisdom given the many competing priorities in the County’s parks and recreation budget. 

Attendees included Deputy County Executive Kevin Plunkett, Consultant Dan Biedermann of Biedermann Redevelopment Ventures ( Editor’s Note: Mr. Biedermann developed the popular Bryant Park Ice Rink in Manhattan) , and representatives of engineering firm Woodard & Curran, the County Parks Department, and Friends of Westchester County Parks.

The Committee discussed the financial impact to taxpayers of the $24.7 million project, which would be financed through bonding, with repayment ranging from 15 to 25 years. The Biedermann report anticipated annual operating losses of approximately $400 thousand, based on the best case attendance scenario.

Among many other specifics, discussed were the physical plant which would include an elliptical shaped recreational rink, the refrigeration and drainage systems, and a new building to hold equipment including two ice resurfacing machines.

The necessary lighting and bleachers for the ice rink are currently proposed to be brought in on a temporary, as-needed basis. The costs for these items had not been factored into the fiscal analysis.  Lockers may have to be added to the proposed concession building upgrades, at an additional cost.

A number of questions were posed by Legislators; these will require follow-up in the coming weeks.

“While we learned some things about the scope and costs of the County executive’s proposal today, many more questions were raised which we will need to address. Based on proposed capital costs and Mr. Beiderman’s initial projections of operating debt, the annual cost to the county per skater may range as high as $108, while the per-skater revenue will be closer to $14,” said Shimsky.

“While we all agree that public parks are an important part of the quality of life in Westchester County, I’m not sure how the County Executive reconciles taking on this project. He has closed popular recreation assets like the Sprain Ridge pool, forgone critical repairs and maintenance at the historic crown jewel of our Parks system, Playland Amusement Park, and has deferred maintenance at other parks, all because he claimed that taxpayers could not afford them.”

“I have yet to be convinced that we should neglect existing recreational facilities, and ignore other fiscal problems in a 2017 budget that is already falling behind revenue projections, in favor of pursuing yet another skating rink in Westchester County.  This is not the move of a fiscal conservative,” concluded Shimsky.

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COMMON COUNCIL TO DISCUSS REZONING OF FORMER GOOD COUNSEL PROPERTY THURSDAY EVENING

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COMMON COUNCIL
SPECIAL MEETING
MARCH 2, 2017
7:30 PM

PUBLIC SCOPING OUTLINE REVIEW FOR THE DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT (DEIS) ON THE PETITION TO:

“A” AMEND THE ZONING ORDINANCE
TO ESTABLISH A NEW ZONING DISTRICT
“PLANNED RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT” AND 

“B” AMEND THE ZONING MAP TO CHANGE ZONING CLASSIFICATION OF A 16.09 ACRE PARCEL AT 52 NORTH BROADWAY

FROM RM-1.5 TO “PLANNED RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT” DISTRICT

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