Council to Review, Vote On 4 Union Contracts Monday

by | Jun 20, 2019

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

The Town Council Monday night is scheduled to vote on the four remaining municipal union contracts that expire the end of this month: police, DPW, municipal employees, and civilian EGPD employees. The vote will be preceded by explanations of the contracts, similar to what was done with the firefighters contract in April.

All four contracts give employees no raise in 2020, and 2 percent raises in 2021 and 2022, mirroring the firefighters contract. The financial impact of the raises over the course of the three-year contract is $56,000 for police, $58,000 for town clerical workers, $50,000 for DPW laborers, and $14,000 for non-police workers.

East Greenwich Police Department

Additionally, as in the firefighters contract, once a retiree becomes Medicare eligible, the town will only provide gap coverage, with the town’s payment toward the premium capped at $250 a month.

According to the town’s actuary, for police that will lead to reductions in the OPEB liability of $2.6 million in 2020, increasing to $5.4 million by 2028. For municipal employees, the liability would drop by $746,000 and $1.3 million respectively. For DPW workers, the numbers are $686,000 and $1.3 million. According to Mike D’Amico, the town’s finance consultant who worked extensively on all the union contracts, there are so few so-called “non-police” employees that it is impossible to calculate exact OPEB savings, except to say there will be savings.

The vote on the contracts comes in the waning days of D’Amico’s tenure as financial consultant to the town. He came on in December, after then-Town Manager Gayle Corrigan was fired, to work with Joe Duarte, DPW director who was simultaneously named acting town manager. The town’s finance director, a long-time Corrigan colleague, had quit days after the November election that brought an anti-Corrigan Town Council into power.

The town has since hired a new finance director, Patricia Sunderland, and the Town Council is currently working through applications for town manager. According to Council President Mark Schwager, the town received more than 100 applications for the post. The council met in closed session Tuesday to begin weeding through the applications. They will meet again June 26 to continue that work. Schwager said he could not yet say who and how many applicants they plan to interview.

The meeting at Town Hall begins at 7 p.m. Find the agenda and information about all four union contracts here.

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