Igliozzi Issues Status Update on Firefighter Contract

PROVIDENCE, RI-In response to public concerns regarding the City’s financial outlook
and uncertainty surrounding the City’s proposed contract with the Providence
Firefighters’ Union (Local 799), Finance Committee Chairman John Igliozzi today
issued the following update:

«The administration has submitted a four-page document to the City Council that
alleges savings in its precedent-setting request for a five-year contract with the
Firefighters’ union, but has yet to submit a fiscal note or any substantive
financial documents to support its claim that this deal will benefit Providence
taxpayers. It would be financially irresponsible for the committee to begin vetting
this proposal before the administration provides the Council and the public with
full disclosure of the proposal’s financial impact.

«Under state law, a five-year contract is only available to municipalities with
pension systems in critical status. The City of Providence’s pension system is
currently 74% unfunded with an unfunded liability of almost $1 billion; by seeking
this legal provision, the administration implicitly acknowledges that the city’s
pension system is in crisis. The state law implies that municipalities utilizing
this provision should include pension reform in their extended contracts. Despite
the alarming status of Providence’s pension system, the administration has not
presented any evidence that pension reform is included in this proposal. By refusing
to leverage state law to improve the city’s pension problem, the administration is
foreclosing on a critical opportunity to address one of the city’s biggest fiscal
challenges.

«The next contract the City of Providence enters with the firefighters’ union will
set the tone for future contract negotiations for many years. The people of
Providence have yet to see this administration take meaningful action to mitigate
the city’s critical financial challenges. This will require sound leadership and
clear judgement; the administration must remove politics from the decision-making
process and provide a comprehensive plan for reform to ensure better financial
footing in the years ahead.

«Once the administration provides the public and the City Council with the full
disclosure needed to properly vet its proposal, the Finance Committee will consider
the proposed contract in earnest, open discourse.»