Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kingston Fire Dept No Layoff Clause Cries Out for Contract Talks Open to Public

Does anyone remember what Common council members along with Mayor Sottile agreed to a No Layoff clause in the present Kingston Fire Dept Contract?   This lack of accountability cries out for union contract negotiations open to the public.  There is no law which states that union contract negotiations have to be secret.  If we had open negotiations, the Kingston Fire Union would not have obtained a No Layoff clause in their present contract.  The public would have screamed bloody murder.  Instead, we now have what looks like an impossible situation with an $8 Million Fire Dept. budget which could be cut in half (by using Volunteer Firemen) if we had the ability to threaten layoffs (as Governor Cuomo threatened with the CSEA and PEF unions).  The only way to reset this Fire Contract with the Tri-borough amendment is to declare Chapter 6 Municipal Bankruptcy.  In the meantime, many Kingstonians are harmed and are suffering by losing their homes and leaving the area.  Let's error on the side of the taxpayers and Keep all of our future union contracts open to the public, including the school district union contract negotiations.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Kingston's #1 Problem to be solved is the inability to afford union contracts.

Kingston's #1 Problem to be solved is the inability to afford the present and future union contracts. The evidence for this is Mayor Sottile wanted to make city residents pay for garbage pickup. When that didn't fly, he closed the budget shortfall using about $1.2 Million of the reserve fund, leaving only about $1.5 Million for next year's reserve fund. Also, the city has about $2 to $3 Million of unfunded pensions for the union workers. Get the picture.  By the way, what is the solution to this union contract problem?

The Solution is to completely reset these contracts and start over, ie. less pay, less benefits, less pensions. How can this be done? There is one item on this solution list -- Chapter 6 Municipal Bankruptcy. If there is a smart person out there who has a second better solution, please let us know. All I know is, without bold decisions, Kingston will have more crime, higer taxes, dirtier streets, less jobs and fewer and fewer young people buying homes and raising families here.  Kingston is a city with so much potential, but no bold leadership.