No one is against fair compensation and fair pensions for firefighters, but once again union rules provide for abusive tactics, as highlighted in this Providence Journal story about two management fire officials in Providence who obtained demotions (yes, demotions) on the eve of retirement so that they could get union COLAs on their pensions while still being able to use their management salaries to calculate the base pension benefit:
Two management-level firefighters are back among the union ranks, at their request, an action decried by two City Council members who say it was done to increase their pensions.
Fire Chief George S. Farrell said he granted the demotion in rank because Deputy Assistant Chief Daniel J. Crowley and Michael F. Morgan, the department’s investigative officer, wanted to “prolong” and “protect” their careers.This sort of abuse has to stop.
With the lower rank of first-class firefighter, the near-retirement employees can benefit from the 3-percent compounding cost-of-living-adjustments provided to union members hired before July 1, 2010. They will also receive pension benefits based on their higher, management salaries if they retire now. (Pension benefits are based on the highest of the last three years of service.)
Update: That was quick. The reaction to this story has caused the Providence Fire Department to rescind the "demotions."
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