Presently the city of Warwick has $900 million in unfunded liabilities between pensions, healthcare, and bonds. For example, every employee leaves with free lifetime healthcare. A healthcare account functions much like a pension fund. The participants pay into it, the monies are invested at a return, and the fund is self perpetuating. Can anyone guess how much money is in the Warwick healthcare fund? $0. That's right, zero dollars, not a penny, yet there is a $310 million dollar liability for the current retirees. That debt will only continue to grow. Fire 1 has a $314 million dollar unfunded liability. The list goes on.
Schools and roads are in deplorable conditions. The city assets are declining and our liabilities are increasing. These are facts which are easily substantiated. The unions will now say that they had a great year and 3 of the 4 pensions are funded at or above 75%, however, the historical rate of return is about 5.8%, yet we are calculating our debt ratio based upon a return of 7.5%.
The city Lease purchase program is maxed out, yet the fire department wants to buy 3 pieces of apparatus and somehow write it off to next year's budget while the expenditure is actually on this year's balance sheets.
The previous finance director Ernie Zymslinski put forth a fiscal note on PCR-74-15 which indicated that the 3 year increase to fire fighter unused sick pay bonus under the new contract was $182,800. The actual 1 year impact was $649,421 - a slight miscalculation.
But there's more:
The Warwick Fire Dept. was recently caught destroying financial related documents that by state law, are required to be retained for 3 years. This resulted in 2 state agency investigations by the SOS and the AG's offices. It culminated in a team of people coming to the WFD and bringing in the chief, his executive staff, and the mayor's staff to "TEACH" them how they are supposed to retain documents. As of last week, criminal proceedings have not been ruled out.
The fact is that just because your garbage is picked up on time and water comes out of your faucet, it does not mean that the city is running as lean and efficient as possible. Several cases of theft have been brought to litigation, waste and abuse is evident, no GPS in any vehicle, and taxes continue to rise.
Virtually every line item in the budget pertaining to senior services has been cut. Senior center has been closed, the side street winter sanding program eliminated, lifeguard staff reduced, summer work jobs program, all positions given to current employees kids, no postings in the paper. Pension spiking has been evident in a number of cases.
These are issues that you must pay attention to. Unfortunately, the city council chambers is empty at meetings. The general public needs to fill the chambers. But we hear every excuse in the book as to why people don't come to meetings and as to why they don't care.
The bottom line is that you get the government that you deserve. We should all vigorously challenge our elected officials and ask questions. Union members will try to belittle you if you ask questions and bring up valid points. Too bad, my money pays their benefits.
Here's one question for everyone. Guess how many holidays the city pays for and can you name them?
~Warwick taxpayer, Rob Cote
Latest RI State Police Arrests 4/27/2018 Child Porn, Warwick Lawyer Charged with 10 Counts of Embezzlement/Stealing $1.2 Million from Clients
From the RI State Police Press releases :
On April 25, 2018, members of Major Crimes and Computer Crimes/Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force arrested Ronald L. Chabot, age 50, with no address, for the following:
1) Failure to Register as a Sex Offender; and
2) Possession of Child Pornography. Mr. Chabot was arraigned in Sixth Division District Court before the Honorable Associate Judge Capraro, where he was issued $1,500.00 surety bail for each charge and held as a Superior Court bail violator.
On April 26, 2018, members of the Computer Crimes Unit/Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force arrested Joshua M. Lessard, age 38, of 1125 West Shore Road, Warwick, Rhode Island, for Transfer of Child Pornography. Mr. Lessard was arraigned in Third Division District Court before the Honorable Associate Judge McCaffrey, where he was issued $15,000.00 personal recognizance bail with special bail conditions of limited internet access and no contact with minors.
Former Warwick Lawyer for Embezzlement 4/23/2018: Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Director of the Department of Public Safety, announces that members of the State Police Financial Crimes Unit today arrested a Warwick lawyer who had been disbarred last summer after self-reporting the theft of more than $1.2 million from clients.
Vincent J. Mitchell, age 57 of 36 Mapledale St., Unit B, Coventry Rhode Island, was arrested earlier today on an Affidavit/Arrest Warrant charging him with 10 counts of Embezzlement and Fraudulent Conversion over $100.
The investigation was the result of a voluntary admission Mr. Mitchell made to the Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Disciplinary Counsel last August, saying he had taken $1,207,233 from 10 clients for unauthorized personal use.
Mr. Mitchell, whose law practice in Warwick had centered on estate planning and long-term healthcare planning, was summarily disbarred.
The case was turned over to the Rhode Island State Police for investigation.
Attorney Mitchell was arraigned at the Sixth Division District Court on April 23, 2018, and was released on $100,000 personal recognizance.
This Week: RI Senate Committee to Vote on Animal Bills, One Would Require Retail Pet Stores To Sell Dogs/Cats Obtained From Animal Shelters
NOTICE OF MEETING DATE: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 TIME: Rise of the Senate PLACE: Room 211 - State House
2018 -- S 2780 Introduced By: Senator Stephen R. Archambault
" Purpose: The purpose of this chapter is:
(1) To protect the owners of dogs and cats from the sale or use of stolen pets;
(2) To ensure that all warm-blooded, vertebrate animals, in the care of facilities licensed or registered under this chapter, are provided humane care and treatment by regulating the transportation, sale, purchase, housing, care, handling, and treatment of these animals by persons or organizations engaged in transporting, selling, handling, housing, and care of these animals;
(3) To ensure that animals confined in pet shops, kennels, animal shelters, auction markets, breeding facilities, and pounds are provided humane care and treatment;
(4) To release for sale, trade, or adoption only those animals that appear to be free of infection, communicable disease, or abnormalities, unless veterinary care subsequent to release is assured; and
(5) To ensure the spaying and neutering of dogs and cats that are adopted from a releasing agency. and;
(6) To ensure pet shops adhere to a humane model in order to decrease the demand for puppies and kittens bred in puppy and kitten mills, increase the demand for animals from shelters and rescues, and protect consumers."
PLEASE BE SURE TO EMAIL THESE SENATE COMMITTEE MEMBERS TO LET THEM KNOW YOU SUPPORT H2780
Senator Stephen R. Archambault
Senator Jeanine Calkin
Senator William J. Conley, Jr.
Senator Cynthia A. Coyne
Senator Dawn Euer Member
Senator Joshua Miller Member
Senator V. Susan Sosnowski
BILL DETAILS: click, HERE.
More information on how to fight puppy mills:
Adopt Don't Shop! HUMANE SOCIETY APPROVED Puppy Friendly Pet Stores in RI:
On Sunday, April 15, 2018, at 10:30 AM, Troopers arrested Derrell Brown, age 30, of 26 Kennedy Drive, Warwick, Rhode Island, on an affidavit and arrest warrant from the Providence Police Department for possession of cocaine. The arrest was the result of a motor vehicle stop on Route 95, in the City of Providence. Brown was processed at the Lincoln Woods Barracks and later turned over to the Providence Police Department.
On April 12, 2018, members of the Computer Crimes Unit/Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force arrested Christopher R. Mancini, age 43, of 145 Claypool Drive, Warwick, Rhode Island, for Possession of Child Pornography. Mr. Mancini was arraigned in Third Division District Court before the Honorable Magistrate Ippolito, where he was issued $5,000.00 surety bail with special bail conditions of limited internet access and no contact with minors.
4/12/2018 At 12:02 AM, Troopers arrested Bryan Vargas, age 24, of 37 Vohlander Street, Warwick, RI for 1.) Forgery and Counterfeiting of Registration Plates, 2.) Giving False Documents to a Public Official, 3.) Driving with a Suspended License 3rd or Subsequent Offense. The arrest was the result of a motor vehicle stop on Main Street in the City of West Warwick. Vargas was transported to the Hope Valley Barracks, processed, and held overnight pending morning arraignment.
Warwick Retirement Board Votes to Give City Municipal Retirees a 2.81% COLA Increase Starting July 1, 2018 (next fiscal year)
The City of Warwick currently has approx. $600 million worth of accrued unfunded pension and retiree healthcare debt. "Accrued" means, what the city is expected or promising to pay the current active city employees when they retire, along with the benefits paid to current retirees.
The City hopes to get back about a 6.9% rate of return per year on their pension plan investments. However, for the past 10 years, the rate of return has averaged 5.24%. Every time the rate of return was low, and not even coming close to what they expected (in years past they expected back 8% then they dropped it to 7.5%, now it's 6.9%) the taxpayers always had to make up for that difference -- costing Warwick taxpayers MILLIONS in tax increases.
Again, when the rate of returns are low, the taxpayers make up the difference in tax increases.
At the recent Warwick city retirement board meeting, the decision was made to give a 2.81% COLA increase to Municipal retirees based off of what their pension plans made in investment returns over the past year. Yes, it was a good market year.. However, as it has been said over and over again at the City budget hearings for years: you have to look at the historical performance trends at least over a 10 year period, and not just 1 year of performance.
The City Employees/Municipal pension plan is currently funded at 72.2%. Police II funded at 82.3% (retirees get a 3% COLA increase every year)-- Fire II funded at 86.4% (retirees get a 3% COLA increase every year) and the police 1/Fire 1 pension plan is funded at 24% (retirees get a COLA increase based upon what the active city employees get in salary increases).
No pension plan should be getting a COLA increase until it's at least 90% funded. Any plan can look better when you keep increasing taxes and send almost all of it to funding pension plans.
The City retirement board members who just voted for the COLA increase for Warwick Municipal retirees is comprised of members from the public as well as current city employees and past and present Municipal Union Presidents.
Scott Small- current Warwick municipal employees union president.
Jean Bouchard-- past Warwick municipal union president.
William Depasquale- current city Planning Dept. Director
Timothy Kelly-- municipal employee
Half of the city retirement board who voted for the 2.81 COLA, are city employees!!!!
Unfortunately, the City Council Finance chair person, Councilman Ed Ladouceur, was NOT present to vote. This is a problem, as it has been in the past. Former City Council Finance chair woman, Rep. Camille Vella-Wilkinson missed the majority of city retirement board meetings.
Keep in mind, the City retirees are also receiving lifetime healthcare benefits which also covers the spouse, along with prescription copay coverage which cost the Warwick taxpayers at least $8 million just last year alone!
Did anyone calculate at the Warwick retirement board meeting how much a 2.81% COLA increase for municipal retirees would cost the Warwick taxpayers?
I doubt it.