June 2, 2009

City layoffs likely as some unions say no to concessions

It appears likely that City Hall will have to lay off at least some municipal workers in order to balance its proposed $170 million budget for the coming fiscal year.

Though some city employees have agreed to concessions that can close some of the financial gap in the spending plan slated for approval Thursday, it’s probably not enough to make up the $342,000 hole in the draft budget.

Mayor Art Ward said he still hopes that each of the city's unions would agree that saving jobs is their priority "but that's not my decision to make."

Ward said he has no choice other than "to fill that monetary void" in the budget with savings from concessions or layoffs.

"Everybody has to share the pain, unfortunately," the mayor said.

The union representing the workers inside City Hall, Local 233 of Council 4 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Workers, has voted to give back its approved 3 percent annual raise in the new fiscal year that begins July 1.

But the union for the city's so-called "outside" workers, Local 1338, refused to make concessions,  its members opting to keep their 1.8 percent pay hikes even if it costs fellow workers their jobs.

The police union also declined to accept a cut. Firefighters are in arbitration on their contract so the concession issue never even came up.

The Bristol Professionals and Supervisors Association is expected to accept a wage freeze for the coming year.

It appears, then, that any layoffs would cut into police ranks a bit and into the rolls mostly of public works.

On Wednesday, at a closed-door City Council session, the details of whatever has gone on in the negotiations will be discussed with the six city councilors. Perhaps some decisions will be made after the executive session.

The picture will be clear on Thursday when the Board of Finance and City Council hold a joint meeting, in public, to approve a final $170 million spending plan that freezes property taxes and balances expected revenue with spending. 

After that, officials will start trying to figure out how to cope with next year, when the situation looks more dire.

*******
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

59 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Everybody has to share the pain, unfortunately," the mayor said.

Ward will feel the pain come November.

Anonymous said...

Guess Cockayne was right when he said we couldn't afford the contracts and voted against it.

Steve,

How about giving credit where it's due?

Steve Collins said...

Anyone who reads this blog knows how Ken Cockayne voted. If they don't know, they can easily search for it.
It's not my job to dole out credit or blame, just to report what goes on.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

It's not about credit or blame....it's about giving the WHOLE story.

Steve Collins said...

The whole story on anything would take more time than I have in a day. The best I can do is to give you what's new.
Be thankful that with online journalism, you can look up the past stories easily and find whatever you like.

Anonymous said...

The city's "outside" workers are choosing to keep their pay raises, resulting in layoffs, which will result in more overtime opportunities for themselves! Totally selfish "public servants".

Anonymous said...

"Ward will feel the pain come November."

Wanna bet???

Anonymous said...

Lay them off Art, and never hire them back.

Stupid Union hacks

Anonymous said...

Just like I said yesterday, The Union will give concessions and I will win Powerball! These Union workers are so selfish. If Ward was smart he'd make the cuts at the bottom, not the top. We have way to many garbage men and laborers standing around doing nothing but collecting a paycheck year after year. Enough is enough. They had their chance to be reasonable and do the right thing.

Anonymous said...

I never wa s big fan of Stortz, but at least he could be trusted. One knew where they stood with him, not so with Ward.

Anonymous said...

How come the lawyers budget went up 25%?

Steve Collins said...

I think the lawyers' budget went up to cover the cost of the landfill lawsuits. But it's been awhile since I asked.

Anonymous said...

I now know what it is like to get stabbed in th e back!

Anonymous said...

Who is command: Ward or the unions?

Anonymous said...

Accordong to Collins, there are only 4 republicans running for 7 seats.
What are they waiting for?

The budget issue is a great one, and they are sitting on their hands.

Shame shame.

Anonymous said...

5:43 O.T. has all been cut out with only a few exceptions (snow removal) To the rest of you anti union people .The union is doing their job by following the memberships direction.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the union boy's wish if they could vote on the GASB45 again.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the union boy's wish if they could vote on the GASB45 again.

Nope!

Anonymous said...

7:21 do you really have to ask? I think the answer is obvious. The Union is in charge. Ward is a puppet and the council/lawyers are the producers. Sit down, shut-up and enjoy the show or you will be ejected...without a refund of course.

Anonymous said...

7:51 poster,

If you tell lies you will be caught!

Your comment is not true. Some of the overtime is manditory in union contracts. This overtime can't be stopped at all.

Anonymous said...

All the union boy's complain about Ward but they will vote him in come November. You all put him office and now your paying the price.

COME ON WARD....your already on the s__t list, now clean house!

Start moving Bristol For-Ward instead of Back-Ward

Anonymous said...

Ward didn't have the courage to reduce staff: most of the budget changes are smoke and mirrors and will come back to haunt us.

We need some REAL cuts.

Anonymous said...

They get ot every week at the dump. So stop the bull shit.

Anonymous said...

The board of education is planning some heavy cuts with their non-union members and even their union members who aren't teachers or administrators. They have already said they'll cut everyone but teachers.

Anonymous said...

I believe our police officers are under paid. Especially after one of our officers were fired upon today. If the idiots in public works weren't smart enough to take a hit then they deserve what's coming.

Anonymous said...

Do you trust a guy who has had all this time to make changes and save money but did nothing - now, at the 11th hour he's asking for concessions and threatening lay offs? Look back - he's been saying he won't lay off for a year. What is to stop him from flip flopping again and going back on his promise to not lay off the unions that gave back raises? He'll do whatever Klocko tells him as long as it doesn't raise taxes so he can get re-elected.

Anonymous said...

7:51 - there is plenty of OT going on. Custodians get lots, the dump, some people get a half hour PER DAY OT. Why didn't they talk about changing contracts with OT instead of giving back raises?

Anonymous said...

First Ward played to the unions, now he is playing to the voters: and both are getting screwed!

Sooner or later we have to wake up.!

Anonymous said...

What part of few excecptions do you not understand ?

Anonymous said...

The Police are NOT underpaid, they have turned into greedy monsters.

Anonymous said...

What city workers need to understand and that goes for the Unions as well...The tax payers always get their way.

Anonymous said...

Ward will feel the pain come November.

Anonymous said...

There should be layoffs for the "outside workers" no question about it. I posted a comment yesterday under another related topic (Two City Council Sessions)about observing the delivery of the new single stream recycling "blue barrels". It took seven city employees to do that. How does the union justify that. What a waste of taxpayer money.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, the unions will complain about Ward but will still vote him in come November.

You all put him in and now you can deal with him.

Ward...Moving Bristol Back-Ward

Anonymous said...

6:36

Cutting OT out of contracts?

Ask Ward, he is the city's negotiator!

But then, what cam one expect from a union lackey!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that people are still making the argument that Ward is beholden to the the unions. What has he done for any of the unions? Sign off on a police contract for industry standard numbers? The workers at city hall making concessions are also some of the lowest paid. He sent the firefighters into arbitration, and now he's talking layoffs to prevent a possible .38 mill increase. (?) I beleieve it was shown that the impact of the concessions he was expecting from city workers would have impacted them 5 or 6 times greater than the mill increse for taxpayers. How can anyone make the argument that Ward is a friend to labor unions? He's an outright enemy of his own employees!

Anonymous said...

10:22

Ward IS beholden to the Unions: THEY got him elected.
Of course, we all see that he turned his back on them, has misled them, and trod on them, but that is now.
Lets see if they remember come November.

Ironivcally, he is doing the same to the voters: next year they will be hit, BIG TIME!.

Anonymous said...

10:22

Nice try spinning!

Anonymous said...

The real irony here is that it's the union "leadership" (Myra Berrios, Mike Petosa, Elliott Nelson, etc.) who are holding onto the union members' arms and legs while Ward puts it to them.

Concerned Conservative said...

June 3, 2009 10:22 AM:

I agree. Apparently Ward isn't as "beholden" to the public municipal employee unions as some anons claim here.

This is very interesting. And thank you Mayor Art Ward for sticking up for the tax payers.

Anonymous said...

Its so true. Ward says whatever he can to get elected. I am sure he made promises to the union boys prior to these "Concessions" Hey Steve FOI the Mayor's email.

Anonymous said...

Why couldn't the mill rate go up somewhat so that "every one could share the pain"?

And the city wouldn't look as crappy as it does!

Anonymous said...

THE UNION MUST GO.

Anonymous said...

CC,

Ward isn't sticking up for the taxpayers, he's playing games. The same concessions he is asking for he gave the unions months ago.

So, on one hand he gave the unions there nice raises, now he is asking for them back. If he gets them he's the hero for getting them back, if he doesn't the unions are the big bad ones being gready!

True leadership whould have NOT given raises when other towns around us where asking for concessions. Ward can say things have changed, but what has truly changed. The last contract given to Local 1338 was only months ago, if anything the economy has picked up since then and now he wants it back.

CC, don't be blinded by the facts!

Ward, moving Bristol Back-Ward

Anonymous said...

Wow, listen to the anti-Ward boys try to spin it! First, they whine that he's under the union's thumb, now, they say that he's sticking it to the union...it's almost comical! Guys, I know it's a foreign concept for most of you, but what he's really doing is looking out for the tax payers and moving Bristol FOR-WARD!

Anonymous said...

"if anything the economy has picked up"

Why don't you tell the folks at GM about that???

Anonymous said...

3:30 poster,

If you weren't such a union hack you'd know that the unions killed GM. They had no chance of recovery paying all the benefits the union has. The GREEDY unions wouldn't even give concessions to helpout!

Anonymous said...

The police contract is two years old. The raises they recieved at that time were the raises that everyone, even the private sector were recieving. No one bashed the unions then. Who was to know that the economy was going to turn so bad. Now, according to these writers, the Unions are to blame for the economy also. I guess if it makes you feel better, you have to blame somebody.

Anonymous said...

As with GM, all beneits awarded are not unilateral: mgmt is part of the equation.

And we recently saw that with the contracts that Ward agreed to.

Anonymous said...

Well C.C. no matter what you say here you will not be appointed to the BOARD OF FIN.

Anonymous said...

This is all a deception. They're making it look like layoffs are inevitable, then Ward and the unions are going to come out and say they reached a compromise so Ward will look good to the voters, and so will the unions. It's one big stunt.

Just Venting said...

Wow, If people think the overtime has stopped in the city work force they must not drive around after three or it must be a city employee not getting as much OT as before.
The dump being open on Sat is all OT. over $50,000 per year to make this happen. Schedule them from Tuesday to Sat, and upgrade the guys on Monday(will cost $200 a year. Another is the OT PW supervisors get every day to "Set up" work assignments, over $25k per year. What supervisor can't schedule the workforce for the week? Fire the incompetent.

If anything is given back by the unions it is not enough, The higher ups need to start looking everywhere to save.

Anonymous said...

3:59, Nope, I'm definitely NOT a union hack. My point was that the economy is far, far from picking up. If you feel the need to use my comment to take another shot at the union...knock your socks off!

Anonymous said...

In response to police officers being underpaid, think of this. When you train your whole life for a job in law enforcement, or the military or anything that can potentially put you in harms way, you are making a choice to enter that profession. By making a choice, you also understand the risks that are inherent to that profession. Yes, we need men and women who are courageous enough to want to wear a police uniform to protect and serve, but does that mean that need to make $80,000 a year? I understand that that is not the average starting pay for a Bristol police officer but I am trying to make a point. According to 2006 U.S. Census Bereau data,( http://www.city-data.com/city/Bristol-Connecticut.html)the average Bistol police officer makes $72,755. The average firefighter makes $67,675. In fact, in the 20 categories that they had listed for governemnt, 18/20 make more than the average household income. Remember, this does NOT include benefits. So, my question becomes at what point does the taxpayer have a say in the looting of thier own money? When 18/20 government listings make more than what the average median household income makes, there is no place for taxes to go but up. Where is the voice for the hard working taxpayers.? What have taxpayers received in return for their contributions to this city? Fairness? I think not. The tax payer is being held hostage in this town. It is time with the click of a voting machine lever that we take this town back.

Anonymous said...

Does public works really need THAT many supervisors over there? Cut a few of them and that'll save a chunk-o-change.

spoiled said...

seems quite obvious that 7:23 is a jealous public works department employee who is concerned about getting laid off?
Thought that ward was the union's friend or is this whiner afraid now that they will be getting laid off? Can't have it both ways.

Anonymous said...

How come the Republicans have not spoken out on this budget?

Or is that a part of the Krawiecki deal?

The people of Bristol are being shortchanged.

Anonymous said...

I haven't heard or read of any cuts that Ward has made, especially of the suggestions that have been brought forth.

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