Saturday, October 23, 2004

Mike Rose finds some info for potential retirees...

I spoke with Darlene and one of the city accountant's about retro contract payments after you retire. They said that you would be paid the same for the time that you worked for the retro even if you were retired. So if you were thinking that you would give up retro pay if you were retired ,you would not. If you have any questions please contact Dar in retirement, Rosey

Comparables from Don Waller

Don, has put together some great information on our staffing levels compared to similar cities, When you look at the run volume and population, there is no doubt that citizens in Spokane are alrady being underserved. Next year, if the layoffs occur, our citizens will be receiving a level of service that borders on negligence. PR will use these numbers to help get the word out. But, PR is something we can all do. Here are the facts. Spread the word to friends, family and neighbors.

I converted Don's Excel document to HTML. If you have a hard time reading it with your browser, or you just want the Excel doc., e-mail me and I'll get it to you.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

An invitation to refi your mortgage while you can...

Dear Fellow Firefighters,

I will most likely be one of the members being laid off. As I hope for the best yet plan for the worst, I will go back to Washington Mutual Bank full time. I have been working for the bank for 6 years and am in good standings with them as a mortgage loan officer. (With President Borg’s endorsement), one way I might be of help to some of you facing the same future with the Dept. is consolidating your debt into one loan. The credit union has an aggressive 2nd mortgage loan but does not offer any of the traditional 1st mortgage products. Since officially we are not laid off, I am still able to refinance your homes. One of the biggest products Washington Mutual offers is an interest only loan. It has a stable low rate and allows for very low monthly payments. This might be a way to manage your debt load with out harming your credit during this difficult time. With Todd Powel’s permission, I will be at the Credit Union meeting Oct 26th and 27th if you have any questions. We can crunch the numbers and try to come up with a game plan. If you would like to talk earlier than this please call my cell phone at 994-4934 or office at 353-3596.

Rob Mathews
1134 13’s-A shift

How we got into this mess.

Perusing a Local 29 Newsletter back from August of 2001, happened upon an article about I-747 (limiting property tax increases to one percent per year). We were warned that the Tim Eyman initiative would make it almost impossible for city governments to pay the bills. Well, looks like the article might have had something there, by gum. Here's a shorter article with the same drift.

Brother Jesse's Unemployment Manifesto

Holy Guacamole, Jesse has researched like a madman. Anything you want to know about unemployment bennies is in the link above. Thanks Jesse!

Word from Gonzo on unemployment benefits...

Hey Bill,

Just a note on some stuff I called on......

Retirement--Benni's are figured from the effective date of the contract and would also be retro'ed to those who might retire before the contract is settled.  They would get set up then get retro payment from DRS for the Benni's missed.  This from a phone call to DRS.  Maybe you could get one of your folks to call them and get something in writing or if you would like I could do it next week.
Deferred Comp $$$$--I called Aetna and talked with Steve Gray and asked about the money in the 457 for those laid off.  He said they have full access to the account once they are not working and they can take it out several months later or not at all.  The big thing is there are NO penalties.  You just have to pay regular taxes on the money.  So even though there may not be very much there, it's something.

Hope it helps


.....It does. Thanks very much Gonzo!

Late breaking news...

Station Rep Turpen talked to Chris Cavanaugh - SFD HR Director. She says that for those who will be laid off, here's what they can expect:

1. Last day will be December 30th (We're working on that one).
2. You will be cashed out for your next year's vacation.
3. Your sick leave hours will still be there when you return.
4. Hours in your time bank will be cashed out (if you have any).

Also, contrary to what you heard yesterday at the meeting, it doesn't matter if your wife is working, or how much she makes when you go to collect unemployment.

All this from Turpen. He welcomes your calls today at Station 3, if you have any questions.

PR Committee

The PR Committee met today. In a nutshell, we (Bridget Luby, DJ Hill, Darryl Wisniewski, Doug Ross, Scott Butler, John Griffith, John Goodman, Alex Mickschl and Mark Vietzke) decided to approach the issue of our layoffs in two phases. The first phase would be an educational campaign to let people know what the fire dept. is going to look like and a call to action to contact city govt. The second phase will kick in when there is a plan to increase revenue. Where we will need help: doorbelling, speakers' bureau, city council attendance, news media contacts, letters to the editor, and on and on. Contact Darryl - the chairman of the committee - to help.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Notes from Special Union Meeting on October 20th, 2004

Click to view

Rally for Barbieri - Media opportunity to show Spokane who we are and what we want.

Don Barbieri, Local 29's candidate for the 5th Congressional District (Nethercutt's position) will be having a public safety workers' rally. Senator Maria Cantwell and other US members of Congress will be there, and more importantly, so will the Spokesman-Review and TV news. This is our first opportunity to speak out against budget cuts. We'll probably not get a better chance to voice our opinions until after the layoffs are announced. Show Spokane you care about you and your brothers' and sisters' jobs, and that you care about the safety of our citizens and the survival of our city.

WHERE: Public property (sidewalks, streets, boulevard) around Station 4 - the current Station 4.
WHEN: Tuesday, October 26th, 2:30 p.m., B-Shift, It'll last 30-45 minutes

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Special union meeting - 9:30 a.m., Wednesday - October 20th

What's going on with the budget? What are the administration's plans? Layoffs?

We may or may not know some answers by then. Whatever we know, we'll let you know. You know?