Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Council meeting - Feb 23, 2010

The Personnel Committee and full Council met jointly at 6:30pm tonight. The hot topic? The ICMA report on the CPD. Ultimately, there was little discussion beyond the Council's ability to withhold the report. I think the basic idea is to get the ICMA consultant fact-finder to provide the Council with facts. That meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday and the consultant is planning to attend. The vote to table the discussion was 5-1-1 (White opposed, Sima abstained due to his late arrival and missing much of the discussion).

Then there was a special meeting of the full Council. First on the agenda was an hour-long presentation by Yankee Gas about the proposed east-west / Route 68 pipeline.

The Council then voted 8-0 (Adinolfi absent) to accept the $108,000 in federal energy grant money.

Then the Council voted 5-3 to reject the Dispatchers' Union contract (Giddings, Sima, Ruocco, Slocum, White opposed). The opposition voice by Tom and me was that it cost too much money.

Finally, the Council voted 7-0 (Ecke recused, Adinolfi absent) to adopt the CPD contract. The three-year contract is broken into four pieces:

1) July 1, 2009 - February 3, 2010 - 0.0% raise
2) February 4, 2010 - June 30, 2010 - 2.0% raise
3) July 1, 2010 - June 30, 2011 - 2.5% raise
4) July 1, 2011 - June 30, 2012 - 2.5% raise

The rationale for the February 4 date is that it was the date of "ratification" by the Police Union.

Tim White

50 comments:

Trebor said...

Am I the only person who is disturbed that the Town Council gets to arbitrarily decide to sit on the police report that the taxpayers of Cheshire paid for? It's this sort of secretive behavior that makes citizens distrust their government officials. Some enterprising reporter should file an FOIA request to have that report released now. It's OUR report, not YOUR report, councilors. Don't you get it? Please stop trying to protect us from the truth. Please stop treating us like children.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that Ecke would recuse himself from the CPD contract but when votes on the turf would come up he wouldn't.

No conflict there???

Anonymous said...

Trebor said...
"Am I the only person who is disturbed that the Town Council gets to arbitrarily decide to sit on the police report that the taxpayers of Cheshire paid for?"

While it might look suspect, there are legitimate exceptions to the State FOI law. Read section 1-210 of the Connecticut General Statutes - there are numerous exceptions listed, many of which could apply in this instance.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"I find it interesting that Ecke would recuse himself from the CPD contract but when votes on the turf would come up he wouldn't.
No conflict there???"

You could make the distinction between the police contract which would involve the pay of his brother, but I don't see any financial gain to his family having to do with turf.

Anonymous said...

You rejected the contract for a union of, 6 (?) persons, for what is one of the most important jobs in the police department? Unbelievable! What could the extra cost be for such a small bargaining unit??? This is where ideology is a load of crap! I would suspect that they'll do better at arbitration.

Anonymous said...

So it's okay for union ideology to always demand more pay and benefits but when those in charge of the check book just say no it is ideology and a load - - -.

Congratulations to the TC for taking a stand on run away union contract demands. Here's hoping they will continue to do this until the regional economy changes for the better.

Chris Corso said...

I am going to start off by saying I am 1 of the 6 members of the Police Dispatcher Union, my name is Chris Corso, my ID number is 600 and I work 11pm-7am. I am one of the newer union members, and this contract would have helped bring my pay to a competitive rate. Instead this just leaves me wondering what my future in this department holds.

I am a 27 year old; I have grown up in this town, went through and graduated from Cheshire High School, and want to continue to live here. Unfourtanly this leaves me wondering if that is at all feasible.

The three union members this contract was going to help the most, currently make $16 an hour. If we were currently on unemployment we would at a minimum make $15 and not have to deal with working midnights, evenings, or days; nor would we have to pay for child care or gas to drive to the Police Department among other expenses. The other three members of the union, decided when were first drawing up our proposal that they weren’t going to ask for anything absurd in order to bring our pay up to a competitive point.

I am dumbfounded and taken back by your outlandish remark about how this contract was "too rich for your blood". Please explain to me how it is that you can say that this contract was "too rich" for the six of us, while in the same meeting you voted in favor for the police union to receive a raise of 2%, 2.5%, 2.5% for 48 people. Their annual salaries are much higher and in return end up costing "you" more. Unfortunately if this current trend continues then the Town will be hiring more dispatchers, retraining them, and having to send them to State classes so that they become certified. This cycle will never end it will continue until you bring up the salary of the dispatchers to a point were we are competitive with the towns around us.

If for some reason Tim you would like to speak about of how this is "too rich" please don’t hesitate to call me so that we could talk. My phone number is 9-1-1 cause no matter what "too rich" for you my this "rich" dispatcher will be there to answer your calls from 11pm-7am, and the other union members will be there the other 18 hours to help you get in touch with me.

Anonymous said...

so i guess all the "whining" at the pd had nothing to do with contract/salaries as was mentioned on other posts. seeems they were quite reasonable in thier negotiations. cant wait for the report to be released to the public. I too find it distressing that the TC is holding off on the report. Did they at least meet with the chief or union?

Anonymous said...

you piece of crap, wait until I see you on the corner of 42 @10. you better hope there isnt a puddle near you cause if so you better bring you arm floaties. you are a coward and a little tool. you think you deserve to be on that council, you dont deserve mto be the cleaners that have to clean up after you throw lies around that room. 6 people you squinty eye piece of crap. you give crap a bad name why dont you go live in Wallingford again so this way we dont have say we have scum like you living in this town.

Humility said...

9:12 Feel free to go work in another town that has more competitive wages. I don't think anyone is forcing you to work here in Cheshire other than yourself. I'd be more than happy to have your job in this economy. Even with a zero percent increase, you have a job...many people can't make that statement these days.

As for expenses, we all have expenses and driving to my place of employment requires me to fill up my gas tank with money out of my pocket. Do you expect to get an increase so the taxpayers of Cheshrie can pay for your gas to get to your place of employment?

It sounds to me that this job, its work hours and pay does not suit your lifestyle. That's no reason for the taxpayers to subsidize your lifestyle.

Looking forward to seeing that report...it's beginning to make more sense now what the 'issues' at the PD really are.

Anonymous said...

TO: C Curso

You have no idea how good you have it & no idea what is going on in the private sector. Stop your braying.

amazed said...

Humility actually the dispatcher union has tried to get this infront of the town council since October. They had nothing to do with the priblems at the PD. Maybe instead of being on this website at 1005 maybe you should be out looking for a better job. Cause really if you think that there are problems at the PD then why would you want to come work there. Maybe you are better off at the job you are currently at even though you are too busy readding this crappy log, maybe you should leave Chris's post alone. next time there is a opening at the PD I will make sure that I put that link on here so that you can get a better job even if the job you currently have allows you to writt on dumb blogs like this one.

Anonymous said...

it's the priv ate sector that destroyed the economy. Banking, realestate prices, greedy corporations getting their huge bonuses. No bitching when things were good. Now your jobs are in the toilets so the public sector employees shout bear the burden too..... BS ask a dispatcher, teacher, cop, or fireman how big their corporate bonuses were a few years back. Lets let 911 go unanswered, cries for help ignored, children untaught and houses burn then how much are the worth. If banks close the world still turns, let basic services fail..... Chaos

Anonymous said...

12:25
Who cashes your paycheck?...a banker.
We need both, private and public. And among both sectors are those that never see a big bonus or get a fat paycheck. But in the public sector, largely because of collective bargaining, the cost to taxpayers is getting very high and containing those costs does matter for the health of the whole. After all, your paycheck is extracted from taxpayers for the valued services you provide. But lets be realistic...no taxpayers employed in the private sector and that is the real choas we must all fear.

Anonymous said...

9:12 a.m if u r who u claim being and these are your true feelings and beliefs it does not reflect too well on the school system which educated u.

Could it be that our unionized town teachers have forgotten to make certain that in order to receive a diploma you need a more complete understanding of government, economics, the workplace and how one fits into a work place. And maybe the biggest missing lesson is that if you are unhappy about your circumstances, stop whining and go find a better job if you are qualified for one. The claim is that PD workers are in continuous short supply even in the next town over.

Thank you for your service including the tough hours. Like many adults I too have spent many, many years working around the clock in the service of others and being on call 24/7, no matter what. And going into harm's way, not a problem either.

Reading your post I now wonder if maybe having a job is bad. After all it requires paying for gas and child care etc in order to discharge your responsibilities.

What are they teaching our children in the town school system?

Anonymous said...

public sector employees pay taxes too.... To pay their own salaries? Btw if corsos claims are correct he dosent he dosent earn enough to live in the town he is employed in

Anonymous said...

"it's the priv ate sector that destroyed the economy."

Where do you think the money comes from? It's the private sector that produces al the products you use and it's their taxes that pay your wages, health insurance and retirement. I don't think you could survive the competition in the private sector.

Anonymous said...

private sector work is easy... Worked there for years. Try working for towns like cheshire,avon,farmington where the residents feel "entitled" like ur lucky to work for them. Where you can start a blog to ignorantly slam people then cry fowl when you get a taste of ur own poison. Or complain when things don't go your waybecause you can't buy your way. People in these towns have no clue how lucky they are. Try living in hartford (I do)

Anonymous said...

This is a huge problem. If you pay people higher wages to attract them how do people that have been there for a few years feel? Is this a stepping stone position before you become a police officer? Many facts are missing here to make a judgement. I feel for the entry dispatcher. This town is expensive for young people to live in. Almost every town is in the same situation that is why this age group is moving out of State. We must contain costs.

S Imbert said...

My name is Sharon Imbert and like Chris Corso I am a Emergency Services Dispatcher for the Town of Cheshire. I arrived at work today and was told our contract was rejected last night by the town council. I was shocked, dismayed, angered and hurt. I would like to expound on some of the points Chris made in his post. We are the lowest paid dispatchers in the state of CT. Many jobs both public and private pay much better wages. Dishwashers at Highland Healthcare are paid $1.00 less an hour to start than Chris is making now. Typists, Records Clerks, Park and Rec employees for the Town of Cheshire make more than Cheshire dispatchers. To become a Emergency Services Dispatcher in the state of CT you must complete one full year of training. This includes multiple classes, training seminars and on the job training. At the Cheshire PD we answer all incoming phone calls, 911 calls and all walk-in complaints. We dispatch Police, Fire and EMS. At our dispatch console we have 6 computer monitors, 3 keyboards, 4 mouses, 2 phones, radios for police, fire, public works and multiple state radios. These are not are only duties. This is not a job for just anybody. We work all shifts, sometimes 16 hours at a time. We work nights, weekends, holidays and birthdays. We are essential employees which means we do not get to leave when there is a snowstrom, blizzard, hurricane etc. We drive through it and go to work. We can be ordered to stay past our shifts. When you call 911 we are there. Yes, we could choose other professions, however we like what we do and are proud to do it. I do not believe a 2.75% raise once a year for 4 years was too much to ask. I could go on but I will not. The last thing I would like to say is that today I was ASHAMED to be a TOWN of CHESHIE employee. Thank you for listening.

Bill said...

I appreciate and respect the work you do...but just like the military, you signed up knowing the work conditions and the risks. Life is tough and being a member of a union does not entitle you to a rate of pay and benefits. We are at a time where union positioning has caused jobs to relocated overseas and quite possibly teachers losing their jobs in Cheshire. If the unions were really looking out for their members they would sacrifice the older, tenured staff for the newer, younger staff.

Anonymous said...

6:42...I appreciate your dedication but I have no sympathy for you. My private sector job is no less demanding than yours. You and I have it better than many people in this economy. There are many people out of work that would love to have your job in our town. Be grateful for what you've been afforded by the town of Cheshire.

The only upside I have is that I'm not forced to belong to a union that doesn't appreciate my dedication and undervalues my accomplishments.

I also have pride in knowing that I don't leach off of taxpayers via a fat-cat, town-funded pension but rather contribute to a self-funded 401K.

Somehow your union values your position lower than that of a dishwasher...not sure how Cheshire is responsible for that. Cheshire is not your enemy...your union is.

Anonymous said...

754 oh thank you thank you thank you, oh great town of cheshire for "affording" me my job. Your arrogance permiates us all. The union fought for raises and better conditions, the town denied them ...... As far@as pensions those were "negotiated" through good faith bargaining, of which the town reneged a good faith mediated settlement last night. By the way these public jobs are advertised just most don't have the courage to do whay these people do.

cedar lane said...

Sharon Imbert says the proposed contract provided for a 2.75% annual increase over four years.

That does seem reasonable, if accurate, especially if the job pays only $16/hour, and given its semi-professional nature, requiring state training and certification.

This is well below the robbery of the teachers' contract, and more in line with the very reasonable police contract. What am I missing here?

Anonymous said...

I can appreciate Chris's comments but would like Chris & others to realize that everyone who is lucky enough to be working also feels what they do is of great value too. He explains how he is 27, makes $16/hr, and is required to go through training on a regular basis etc. I'm sure it's a demanding, stressful job at times. He didn't say how long he's been doing the job, but I guess it could be 7 or so years.

OK, so here's my deal. I'm 50 something, have been working at my job in town for just over 20 years, am not in a union, am responsible for the safety of 500 or so children daily, ordering, inventory, HACCP documentation, record keeping, supervising staff, required to attend seminars to maintain certifications, etc, am NOT a teacher, work for a self supported program within the schools, and I make $19.35/hour and receive few benefits.

I love my job and am glad that I have a job. End of story. :)

sz

Robert DeVylder Jr. said...

" My private sector job is no less demanding than yours."

Really? People can die if you dont do your job? People call you when they are at their worst?

" Somehow your union values your position lower than that of a dishwasher...not sure how Cheshire is responsible for that. Cheshire is not your enemy...your union is."

I believe the union was trying to correct the sitsuation. THE TOWN COUNCIL BELIEVES THE DISPATCHERS ARE LESS THAN DISHWASHERS.

The dispatchers were trying to equalize their pay. The older members were offering to sacrifice their own pay to bring the newer dispatchers up to par with the state. The dispatcher that Corso replaced left Cheshire for Bristol to make $10/hr more because of the training WE paid for. Our dispatchers have the same training and recieve substancially less than everyone else.

As an officer in the Cheshire Fire Dept, I understand the workload that these people have. Every time a storm hits, everyone calls because the power goes out. Imagine taking 100 of these calls and having to listen to the same thing time and time again to be sure that there is no fire, nobody being electrocuted, stranded, or otherwise in trouble. While taking these calls, you still have to dispatch patrol units to the area (if any are available), contact CL&P to repair the problem, dispatch the Fire Dept for the wires down, and contact off duty officers to come back to work. Alot to do that residents do not see.

These people are very important to our towns safety and should be compensated acording to towns around us. These 6 people are the ones YOU call when YOUR home is broken into, YOUR mother needs an ambulance, YOUR neighbors house is on fire. Do you want them answering the phone or looking at the help wanted ads?

These statements are my own and in no way reflect the views of the Cheshire Fire Dept.

Anonymous said...

"If the unions were really looking out for their members they would sacrifice the older, tenured staff for the newer, younger staff." It is important in all walks to remember that newer, younger staff offer things that older, tenured staff does not. However, the opporsite is true, as well. As the saying goes: it takes all kinds. Careful of your generalizations.

Anonymous said...

I believe the TC sent this to arbitration. It just felt that 7% to 8% raises for the entry level was high. According to the rules they (TC) have no power to offer let's say 5% so it must go to an arbritator(who is appointed by the state). You might get a 6%,8% or a 5% award. This is what bidding arbitration forces towns to do. The Towns can't counter offer. It's out of their hands. I don't know if this system is good or not but that's what is on the books. I might not have all the legal BS right but the point Im trying to make is that the TC did not throw the dispatchers under the bus. Thank you for the job you do.

Anonymous said...

who ends up paying for an arbitrator and what does it cost? Will it cost less than what the 6 union workers would have made in a year? If not, arbitration would be another waste of money

Anonymous said...

The taxpayers of Cheshire will undoubtedly end up paying a good portion, id not all of the tab for the arbitration. That and whatever other fees they will incur as the attempt to legally justify how their side was acting in "good faith" (term in the CGS) when both sides agreed to the tentative agreement sometime in early fall but wasnt voted on until several (4,5,6?) months later. Meanwhile the police union reaches an agreement the beginning of February and gets voted on at the end of February. It's entirely possible they will get what, I personally think, they deserve, but now only after the Town Council wastes more taxpayer money. Maybe they should hire a consultant to see how to handle this now...

trebor said...

I'm shocked at the level of enmity being heaped on two people who do a job that few others in Cheshire would be able to do, despite what they might think. The abusive language is inexcusable, Tim White, and you really need to do something about this. I, personally, appreciate the job that the Police Dispatchers do. My respect for my fellow residents in Cheshire has plummetted since reading the responses on this chain. Really, really disgraceful.
Where's the outrage over the fact that we, Cheshire taxpayers, are paying a 6-figure salary for someone who is not working? (The police chief).

Trebor said...

BTW, my original point still stands. How can the Town Council sit on a report that the people of Cheshire paid for? The attitude that they will decide what the people of Cheshire are allowed to have access to is right of out the Father Knows Best 1950s. What are they hiding? Who are they protecting? Release the report and treat the people of Cheshire like adults. The faces may have changed but the arrogance still lives at Town Hall.

Anonymous said...

"Please stop treating us like children."

...well, stop acting like one.

cedar lane said...

trebor said...
"I'm shocked at the level of enmity being heaped on two people ... The abusive language is inexcusable..."

I agree. These two ESD's (whom I do not know personally) have become the targets of every anti-union frustration on this page. Please save it for the teachers' union.

Regular visitors to this board know that I am consistently Republican and conservative, but I'm also fair minded.

I ask again: How is a 2.75% annual raise over four years unreasonable? What am I missing here?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we should look at actual dollar costs before we get too excited.
How many full time dispatchers are there? What benefits do they get?

How much in dollars will this cost us?

If we don't give the increase and we have to hire new dispatchers, how much to train them?

We really should look at it this way. It shouldn't be a battle between Private sector workers and Public sector workers. Thye both have pros and cons.

Breachway said...

Just had my 2009 review....boss heaped a bunch of praise on me and then told me the same thing I heard last year.....no one is getting a raise.

Anonymous said...

berachway, that's a common management technique. When giving bad news preafce with good news. Maybe you should be a teacher, business is booming.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I'm used to starting a job and getting an annual review of my performance to determine my relative value to an organization. Even if I have a good review, I might not even get a raise due to no profit and therefore there no money being available for raises, If there is sufficiant profit for raises, then it is apportioned among the employess based on performance and if I have poor performance I could get nothing. Raises and promotions are based on performance and if you don't perform, you shouldn't expect anything. That's the way it works in the private sector.

I just can't understand how a of simply system of simply checking what other towns are paying should determine what Cheshire's pay scales. And, when someone says that newer employees should be paid more to bring them into line with longer employed people it is even hard to understand.

And when someone compares the salaries of different towns and assumes the workload and needs of all towns are the same that doesn't make any sense either.

So. that's my feelings about work, raises and performance.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous February 25, 2010 8:32 PM said...
"I just can't understand how a of simply system of simply checking what other towns are paying should determine what Cheshire's pay scales. And, when someone says that newer employees should be paid more to bring them into line with longer employed people it is even hard to understand."

What's so hard to understand? If Cheshire pays it's entry-level Dispatchers a lower hourly rate than any other town around, then what will be the quality of the applicants here? Remember, we're talking about a position that dispatches police, fire, ambulance & 9-1-1, not someone who asks, "do you want fries with that?" The bump up of those at the low end of the payscale should attract a higher quality candidate to our town.

Anonymous said...

how would you rate a dispatcher or police officer performance? Saved lives? Tickets? Arrests? Overall performance is a tough measure in a job such as these. Fair comparison to like jobs is a fair measure of salary. Plus the town has posted 2 million dollar surpluses for 3 years and over a half a mil last year. The town has the ability to pay salaries on par with silmilar towns

Anonymous said...

Surplus sounds great but those were taxes that people paid. We have a large debt to pay back so it's not extra money that we can use for whatever. Also when raises are giving to any group it compounds over the years and keeps increasing costs. Taxes will always have to go up and at what time are they too high? I feel for everyone because all of us wish that we could make more money but when do these high prices and taxes stop? Also if you calculate the increase what is the net that you take home (which might be 50% less) and it might put you in a higher tax bracket. Everyone should think about net amounts when it comes to raises. By the way the employer must pay the matching FICA and unemploment taxes on this increase. It costs a lot of money to employ people.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous February 26, 2010 1:06 PM said...
"Surplus sounds great but those were taxes that people paid."

Not necessarily - the Town has many sources of revenues that are not taxes.

Anonymous February 26, 2010 1:06 PM said...
"Taxes will always have to go up..."

Not necessarily - if the Grand List increases due to growth or an increased re-valuation, taxes could come down. This also could be due to the tax deadbeats paying up, although the Town does have a very high collection rate.

Anonymous February 26, 2010 1:06 PM said... "It costs a lot of money to employ people."

This is what happens when you provide services. You can't outsource to cheaper off-shore labor suppliers, when the services have to be provided here in the Town of Cheshire.

Maybe you should re-work your talking points some.

Anonymous said...

"Plus the town has posted 2 million dollar surpluses for 3 years and over a half a mil last year. The town has the ability to pay salaries on par with silmilar towns"

February 26, 2010 11:25 AM

This must be the same guy who stood before the BOE last year and said, "Cheshire is a rich town...they can afford these raises."

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Mike Evans is willing to weigh in on this.

Anonymous said...

"Other income besides taxes" We are in business? Income started from taxes at one time or another. Give me some examples maybe I missed something.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous February 26, 2010 8:06 PM said...
"Other income besides taxes" We are in business? Income started from taxes at one time or another. Give me some examples maybe I missed something.

Other revenues include, but are not limited to, parking tags, false alarm user fees, payments for copies of records, grants, PILOT (Payment in lieu of taxes) funds, library fines, etc.

Anonymous said...

Those fees are a very very small amounts and PILOT money comes from state Taxes. You have a point that some fees generate revenue.

Anonymous said...

There are lots of stressful, thankless jobs in the world--many of which pay low and entail long hours...Bill is right; you knew what you signed up for....

Anonymous said...

"What's so hard to understand? If Cheshire pays it's entry-level Dispatchers a lower hourly rate than any other town around, then what will be the quality of the applicants here? "

There is no shortage of highly qualified people.Nobody forced anyone to come to Cheshire to apply. If you know other towns paid more, why did you come here, and you could still apply to another town now that your trained.

Anonymous said...

That is exactly what dispatchers and police officers do. Many towns require some level of training and experiance to get hired. There is no college program that certifies you as a dispatcher. The training comes only from the state public safety division and is only offered to employees of police departments.

People tend to take these low paying entry level jobs to get certified so they can move on to other towns that pay more per hour for the same work.

What we are doing is paying for these people to get the training. We give them an hourly salary, transportation to the program, we pay for all training and testing costs, and we give them nothing more when they are done. 3 months after they are certified, they start looking for jobs in other towns doing the exact same thing that they do in Cheshire but for $10 more an hour. These people become the ideal applicant because the $10,000+ in training has been paid by another town.

Since when does the town have the money to be training every other towns workers? How soon do you think our dispatchers will start looking at the greener pastures of neighboring towns? How soon will we be starting this cycle all over again?