As Town Councilors, it is our duty to ensure your hard-earned tax dollars are allocated efficiently, and that all Town departments are operating safely and responsibly. In recent weeks, we’ve been working with the Firefighters’ Union to resolve a significant overtime problem that is driving the Fire Department to expend approximately 500 hours per week in overtime. These overages are unsustainable for our firefighters and our taxpayers.
After many hours of negotiation with the Union, we thought we had reached a deal; a week or so later, we learned that the Union was unwilling to honor its commitments.
We are now considering all of our options. Part of that process includes seeking some clarification from Superior Court before we move forward with any substantive changes to the Fire Department’s staffing schedule. On Monday, we filed a claim to request guidance from the court that will help us as we move into the next round of negotiations.
Although these negotiations haven’t been easy, they’re necessary. This Town Council is comfortable being uncomfortable. The future of the town we love most is at the heart of every decision we make.
We are committed to serious, meaningful reform, and we welcome the Union to come back to the table to help us achieve it together.
President, East Greenwich Town Council