Chariho School Parents’ Forum

July 8, 2009

Police contracts and ‘stuff’

Ultimate pensions – politicians and police calling each other corrupt – and the AG’s office in the mix.  Grab some popcorn…

Since leaving the school committee and joining the town council I don’t post here as often as I should. I get a lot of contact asking what I’m going to do with this site. Luckily, I’ve been so busy with my day job that I haven’t had time to make any decisions. But lately, the emails have turned more into – “why don’t you write about what’s going on?” and “are you going to ignore this stuff?” referring to the police contract and the lawsuits involving the police department and the related AG memos that are flying around town.  And, quite frankly, you are right. I haven’t been forthcoming with a lot of this information and I should have been. I could use the excuse that I was trying to get my feet under me and I thought I could get more done with honey than vinegar, but that didn’t seem to work and there is too much riding on this to keep quiet and hope for the best.

While there isn’t any penalty to divulging executive session material, I haven’t and don’t see a need right now but I can still talk about what is public knowledge.

I also feel fortunate to have an outsiders view of this stuff. I’m not a local and don’t have any preconceived ideas about the players.  I want to have a few more conversations before I get into details but basically I see a lot of bad actors in a falling house of cards – we have a police department being sued by a former building and zoning town employee and a police officer. The employee also had a case with Westerly PD (and won).  I see a lady who many say is nutty, but apparently she was smart enough to beat the HPD on this deal. And  I see a former town councilor, while not in litigation, seems even more aggressively in the mix than the first three.

I also see a police contract with some of the most generous benefits I have seen in the entire state. But most specifically, a pension program that IMHO could have only been passed by someone in an old boy network (I’ll describe that in a bit) or completely incompetent.

Plus the internal AG memos recently released that adds concern going back a few years.

As I said, I’ll give more thoughts after a few more conversation but this strikes me as a lot of bad actors all around.  They are all pointing fingers at each other saying the other guy is corrupt – and they might all be right.

I know our solicitor is not going to be happy with this post, but I’m not going to be a council person that walks away sayingI couldn’t do anything about it. If it means Hopkinton gets dragged naked through the streets but at the end of the day all is exposed and in the open and over with, then so be it. I’ve dealt with this ‘percieved’ air of corruption and old boy network in this town for too long. Former town councilors have left the state because of it and I’m not going to be one of those.  This will end one way or the other.

By ‘old boy network’ i don’t mean to suggest a body politic gone bad. The reality is that a relatively few number of bad actors can do a lot of damage – after all, who really has the ability to know what’s going on in all corners. Slick laws can be passed and councilors don’t read the fine print.

And I include the contract in the discussion because when you get the picture  of the contract that I am beginning to see you are going to ask yourself, ‘how in the heck did that happen” and the only logical solution that fits all the outlined issues is a ‘scratch my back and i’ll scratch yours’ culture that is imploding (or again, completely incompetent people taken advantage of by the union).

But let me get to the contract and I can deal with that other ‘stuff’ soon.

As was reported in the Sun, the council isn’t going to release the contract until after we ratify it – contrary to an expressed desire that towns do otherwise.  What was misleading in the paper was that it was a council  decision. Not true. I asked for and got the council’s endorsement of the 30 day rule back in January but the law didn’t pass and when the time came to actually show the public the contract, Tom Buck made the decision not to. I asked specifically if this would be a council decision and he said it was his alone. I don’t know if Barbara and Sylvia would have supported me or not although Sylvia’s comments suggest she would not have since she said she doesn’t want to be the first (technically, East Providence was teh first). I assume Tom can do that since the attorney was in the conversation when I asked if he had the authority.

I’m doing a very in depth analysis comparing our contract to every other one in the state. Today I just want to get the conversation started and establish some background. Then I will break the current contract down into pieces and make comparisons.

But before you get to that, I do want to review what I consider the most egregious part of the current contract

The pension in place now is a 3% compound COLA (cost of living adjustment) (RI Gen Law 45-21.2-5(9)). What that means is that each year after retirment the amount goes up by 3% and the interest compounds  upon itself- as Einstein said, “compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe.”

Now, a 3% cost of living adjustment is insane for a number of reasons. First of all, we are in a recession and the Consumer Price Index is actually negative. If the intent was to keep pace with the ‘cost of living’ then we would be reducing the amount, not increasing it.

But the compound nature is the insidious part. If a person starts the force at 24 and retires in 20 years (which they are able to do in Hopkinton) they will be 44 years old. If they retired with a $75,000 per year pension at age 44 (which isn’t that hard considering we include longevity and holiday pay with the ‘income’ for pension determination) by the time they reach the normal life span of 78 years old we will be paying them $198,925 per year. I am not kidding.

But that’s not the worst part of Hopkintons pension program. The worst part is how it is paid.

You may have heardthat as much as 1 in 5 private companies have stopped making matching payments to 401 K’s. THey just don’t have the money – the economy is tanking (because government- read public sector employees like police – are taking too much in taxes) and private companies can’t just raise the price of goods because competition maintains the market. So they have to cut where they can.

Normally a company will offer a 1 to 1 match up to a certain percentage. normally a small % of your salary that you can put in to a retirement saving account and your employer will match it. Whatever is in there is yours at retirement.

But in Hopkinton, the police are only required to contribute 1% of their salary. Yup, you read correctly – 1 percent (RI Gen Law 45-21-52). [note the law does not say it is ‘compound’ – thats why they had to pass a new law linked above – I’m still doing the research but it looks like that couldn’t be done without legislative support so I will see who is responsible and let you know).

But I digress – so, the police employee contributes 1 percent of their salary to get the most lucritive pension available – Does that mean Hopkinton contributes 1% too?

  NO!   The town has to put in much more than 1%. We must come up with the  balance needed to meet the defined benefit.

We are currently contributing 18%.  Read that again – it is a 1 to 18 match for the most generous pension package I have ever seen (and I study these things for a living). But thats nothing – that 18 percent just pays the employee who is collecting now – who recently retired. Wait until the compound interst adds up and their pension doubles and then triples Our contribution will have to double and triple.

UPDATE – I’m told there may be underlying law that requires an initial 6-7% employee contribution and the 1% mentioned above would be in addtion to. Let’s certainly hope so (not that the compound 3% isn’t bad enough) and I’ll let you know as soon as I learn more.

Does anyone else see a train coming?

But as I said, that’s just a taste. And there may be some irregularities with the way the pension was created that I’m looking into – I will provide more details on all levels of the contract with statewide comparissons soon. And more comments on what is the hot topic in town – the Matson/Mauti/Scunzio/??? peyton play.

PS. In the last meeting I also asked about the 550 hours of comp time Chief Scunzio has compiled. I was surprised that much could be accumulated but I was told that it will be paid by the confiscated drug money – like this matters. If we didn’t use the money to pay for comp time for the CEO of the organization (you know, like other CEO’s get comp time) we could have used the money for sand and salt so we didn’t have to raise your taxes. She missed my point but it did show what the mindset of was- defend and divert! 

PSS. I was pulled over on HWY 95 yesterday by a Providence Police Officer and State Cop (I haven’t been pulled over in 20 years) – luckily I had a witness in the car with me.  But I certainly don’t fear not having one with me – it is just nice to have witness to what was said.  You can find me on 95 north every weekday at 8ish.

For now, please see pasted below a list of towns compared on incomes – i sorted it on per capita. It will establish a good baseline to see where our expenses should line up compared to our income.  After all, if you are middle class, you don’t buy a Ferrari do you?

 Now lets look at the financial demographics of our lovely little village…

Rank Place Per Capita Median House- Median Family Population Number of
    Income hold Income Income   Households
1 Jamestown $38,664 $63,073 $77,990 5,622 2,359
2 East Greenwich $38,593 $70,063 $90,221 12,948 4,960
3 Barrington $35,881 $74,591 $84,657 16,819 6,011
4 Little Compton $32,513 $55,368 $62,750 3,593 1,475
5 New Shoreham $29,188 $44,779 $59,844 1,010 472
6 Narragansett $28,194 $50,363 $67,571 16,361 6,846
7 Portsmouth $28,161 $58,835 $68,577 17,149 6,758
8 North Kingstown $28,139 $60,027 $69,559 26,326 10,154
9 Scituate $28,092 $60,788 $67,593 10,324 3,780
10 Lincoln $26,779 $47,815 $61,257 20,898 8,243
11 Middletown $25,857 $51,075 $57,322 17,334 6,993
12 West Greenwich $25,750 $65,725 $71,332 5,085 1,749
13 Charlestown $25,642 $51,491 $56,866 7,859 3,178
14 Cumberland $25,592 $54,656 $63,194 31,840 12,198
15 Exeter $25,530 $64,452 $74,157 6,045 2,085
16 Newport $25,441 $40,669 $54,116 26,475 11,566
17 North Smithfield $25,031 $58,602 $67,331 10,618 3,954
18 Westerly $24,092 $44,613 $53,165 22,966 9,402
19 Hopkinton $23,835 $52,181 $59,143 7,836 2,965
20 South Kingstown $23,827 $56,325 $67,912 27,921 9,268
21 Warwick $23,410 $46,483 $56,225 85,808 35,517
22 Smithfield $23,224 $55,621 $66,320 20,613 7,194
23 Glocester $22,914 $57,537 $62,679 9,948 3,559
24 Tiverton $22,866 $49,977 $58,917 15,260 6,077
25 Warren $22,448 $41,285 $52,824 11,360 4,708
26 Richmond $22,351 $59,840 $64,688 7,222 2,537
27 Foster $22,148 $59,673 $63,657 4,274 1,535
28 Coventry $22,091 $51,987 $60,315 33,668 12,596
29 Cranston $21,978 $44,108 $55,241 79,269 30,954
30 Bristol $21,532 $43,689 $54,656 22,469 8,314
31 Johnston $21,440 $43,514 $54,837 28,195 11,197
32 Burrillville $21,096 $52,587 $58,979 15,796 5,559
33 West Warwick $20,250 $39,505 $47,674 29,581 12,498
34 East Providence $19,527 $39,108 $48,463 48,688 20,530
35 Pawtucket $17,008 $31,775 $39,038 72,958 30,047
36 Woonsocket $16,223 $30,819 $38,353 43,224 17,750
37 Providence $15,525 $26,867 $32,058 173,618 62,389
38 North Providence $13,489 $19,721 $31,655 32,411 14,351
39 Central Falls $10,825 $22,628 $26,844 18,928 6,696
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59 Comments »

  1. Scott Bill,
    who was on the council from 1998-2005?

    Comment by Editor — July 9, 2009 @ 11:14 pm | Reply

  2. Knowing Tom Buck for decades he is definitely not qualified to negotiate contracts. Besides he is a union stooge himself. Who knows what kind of pressure is applied by his union bosses.

    The HPD thing is nuts. I’ve seen the AG memo. A stunning document proving even the AG office knows how out of control and out of his mind Scuncio is. Hopkinton is going to take it on the chin over the police corruption and we deserve it for looking the other way. We get what we deserve and what we vote for.

    I admire your bravery Felkner. Better hope they don’t do more then pull you over.

    Comment by Concerned — July 9, 2009 @ 11:17 pm | Reply

  3. I haven’t followed the HPD situation so I won’t comment specifically.

    The reality of the compensation structure going forward is that pensions are going away and medical will have more shared cost. It is what it is and everyone needs to acknowledge it.

    I hope all the talk about HPD corruption is overblown, if it isn’t, what’s the difference between Hopkinton and Iran? Iranians are will protest at great risk to themselves!

    Comment by Gene Daniell — July 10, 2009 @ 8:16 am | Reply

    • Gene….don’t you live in Richmond? Your Chief also fails to follow the laws of RI and trample the rights of the taxpayers.

      Remember the civil rights of Rod Driver were violated…..and trust me, I’m no fan or supporter of Mr. Driver, but I abhor the abuse of power. We are not subjects of our police departments….they are servants of the taxpayers.

      Comment by RS — July 10, 2009 @ 8:56 am | Reply

      • RS … servants of the tax payers … are you sure? The implications is that the chief of the republican guard is more sensitive to the rights of the people than our local chiefs.

        I’ve heard the Driver story from both sides, like most things, it’s much more muddled that one side would have you believe.

        For the record, Chief Driscoll did not break the law, the law he enforced was found to be unconstituational.

        Comment by Gene Daniell — July 10, 2009 @ 9:24 am

      • My statement was in theory and by design this is how it should be….

        You’re right about breaking the law, but I usually interpret selective enforcement as the same offense.

        Want to know another law he refuses to follow….go ask for a pistol permit, wether you want it or not, and see if he follows the law.

        REF: http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE11/11-47/11-47-11.HTM

        Comment by RS — July 10, 2009 @ 9:33 am

      • PS..If you believe in Driscoll’s interpretation of the law, then he will never be in vioalation. The reason a court ruled on Constitutionality.

        Comment by RS — July 10, 2009 @ 9:35 am

  4. Hi!
    I was on the Town Council from 1996-2004.
    As I remember in this time period the following:
    Linda DiOrio,Norm Brunelle, (deceased);Brian Scott, Susan Schaffer, Mal Grant, Marilyn Grant,Bob Corrigan,Jill Matson,Ken Mott,Bev Kenney,as well as myself. I don’t think I missed anyone.
    I went off the council in 2004. The 2004-2006 Hopkinton Town Council was Beverly Kenney,President, Vinnie Cordone, VP, Gary Williams, John Matson, and Sylvia Thompson. 2006-2008 town council, Vinnie Cordone,President;Beverly Kenney, VP,Sylvia Thompson,Barbara Capalbo, and Tom Buck. Totally correct or nearly totally correct.
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — July 10, 2009 @ 10:22 am | Reply

  5. Hi again!
    Specifically,
    1996-1998 HTC:Linda DiOrio,President; Norm Brunelle, VP,Susan Schaffer, Mal Grant, and myself.
    1998-2000 HTC: Susan Schaffer, President, myself VP,Marilyn Grant,Bob Corrigan, and Ken Mott.
    2000-2002 HTC:Jill Matson,President;myself VP,Brian Scott who briefly was TC President at the end of the term,Marilyn Grant and Bob Corrigan.
    2002-2004 HTC: Linda DiOrio, President; Beverly Kenney, VP;Brian Scott,Bob Corrigan and myself.
    I think this is defintely correct.
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — July 10, 2009 @ 10:34 am | Reply

  6. I hear there is a AG email going around town which even the AG says Scuncio is a loose cannon. Depositions for the Mauti case in Westerly are all over over the internet. A Hopkinton police officer refused to arrest Mauti for a minor civil traffic offense so a Westerly police woman was called into action and did the dirty deed. Westerly ended up paying $100,000 and she retired. The police woman who never did traffic went out and found Mauti and arrested him. A computer database was used illegally. Nobody knows nothing.

    For Matson the HPD temporarily turned into the zoning department long enough to get Matson for an illegal apartment and for storing trailers on his property. Turns out they were wrong on both counts. Matson then showed trailers stored on the property next to the police department. For some reason HPD never saw the trailers of their neighbor friends only trailers on Matsons property which didn’t even belong to him.

    The Sun reported whatever the HPD wanted them to report muddying up both Mauti and Matson. Rumor has it a Sun edotor has a very close personal relationship with Scuncio. Scuncio conficated documents from the building dept. and wouldn’t let anyone see the document. The next thing you know the Sun is reporting info directly from the documents.

    All of this publically available info except the rumor about the editor and Scuncio. Read the transcripts.

    Add to all this the HPD, WPD, state police and FBI had Mautis lawyer spinning in cicrles as they all tried to obstruct the investigation and hide their behavior. Evenutally the judge had enough and that’s how the AGs email finally made it out into the light of day.

    Now it is time to reward the HPD for their fine policing skills. Amazing contracts the envy of every taxpayer in thw world is right around the ccrner for the HPD. I guess when there isn’t any real crime you have to go out and create some. This story should scare the hell out of anyone who thinks they live in a free country. If it was just the HPD it would be scary enough but every law enforcement group seems to be dirty. Is Richmond I don’t know but would be surprised if they are clean. 33 of 38 town chiefs in RI are former state policeman. Figure it out.

    Comment by Corruption — July 10, 2009 @ 11:38 am | Reply

  7. Thanks, Scott.

    Do you recall what happened with the police contract pertaining to the pensions? What process was taken, etc… Might be easier for you to explain to me over the phone- I think you still have my number, correct?

    Comment by Editor — July 10, 2009 @ 11:51 am | Reply

  8. Ref #6
    I have a problem when someone says “Depositions for the Mauti case in Westerly are all over over the internet.” but cannot produce a single link to any of them. I did a search and found nothing through 3 pages on 3 different search sites. Makes one wonder about the validity that this person has said.

    Comment by CharihoParent — July 10, 2009 @ 1:43 pm | Reply

  9. I don’t know how to link. Do a search on a web site called Hopkinton underground and you’ll find a way to get to the deposition there. Marilyn Sheldon has them on the internet to. Its nice your a computer genius I”m not so sue me or sick the police on me. The police are corrupt and you have a problem with me. Thats wierd. Maybe your the police.

    Comment by Corruption — July 10, 2009 @ 1:55 pm | Reply

  10. And you trust the word of that wack-o? Oh! give me a break!

    Comment by CharihoParent — July 10, 2009 @ 2:47 pm | Reply

  11. The depositon are from the court. Are they crazy. Marilyn is one of the people bringing the info into the public. I don’t know Marilyn but every time I think she is nuts she ends up being right so I wonder who are the real whackos. Maybe its the people like who turn away from the truth and call the people tellnig the truth whackos. If you can’t beat em then attack em. The Sarah Palin syndrome.

    Comment by Corruption — July 10, 2009 @ 2:52 pm | Reply

  12. My company matches dollar for dollar on the first 2% and then 50 cents on the dollar for 3%. They use to do 4%. Plus the return all depends on the economy. The police put in next to nothing, retire early enough to get another dip, and they will retire rich. I get to pay for all and work until I die. How does this happen in America?

    Comment by Concerned — July 10, 2009 @ 6:41 pm | Reply

  13. The rather obvious big problem in RI that causes all these other issues (pension, budgets, public employee pay) is that the state is so anti business that we keep losing mfg and people have lower and lower wages. Pressure on public employee pay feeds directly from this. If all was good, not many people would care, but it isn’t. The private sector workers can no longer pay the bills for the public sector folks.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — July 10, 2009 @ 7:25 pm | Reply

  14. There is online access to court documents, but I don’t thing they are exactly ‘all over the place’ either – but that’s besides the point really. I get 2-3 copies of all the cases, articles, emails, etc… dropped on my porch on a regular basis. All those advocates should coordinate their efforts and save a tree. But the “wack-o” has posted one online (and I agree he is a wack-o but the cases are real)

    http://hopkinton.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/1611104641.pdf

    Comment by Editor — July 10, 2009 @ 8:03 pm | Reply

  15. Corruption,

    CP is a reasonable person, I’ve seen his comments on here for quite a while, problem is that we’ve all neen burned by people making statements of fact w/o proof that turned out to be BS and many folks greatly exaggerate stuff.

    I’m sure you can appreciate why many of us have a healthy skepticism. It’s all compounded by the grave charges involved here, if true, it’s very scary. Facts are king here.

    Keep up the posts!

    Comment by Gene Daniell — July 11, 2009 @ 7:48 am | Reply

  16. I only speak for myself and post and comment only on what I know to be true….my statements are easily proven…..you don’t even have to leave your house. Pick up your phone call the Richmond PD ask for an application for a pistol permit…….

    I’ll give you their answer: You have to go to the AG for that……..

    …..then read the RIGL posted earlier and you will see a clear and unrefutable example of the Chief of Richmond not following the law. There was a recent suit in Providence over the same topic(Gillette v Esserman)over the same law. Yep, someone spent their hard earned cash to have the courts tell the Providence PD they must follow the law….I would post the ruling, but it was a bench ruling(not written). If you desire more information, I can put you in contact with Gillette.

    This is but one example……….how many are needed? I’ve only taken an oath and been sworn in for the United States, but I believe when an officer takes an oath in RI they swear to uphold the laws of the State of Rhode Island, I could be wrong though.

    I realize many don’t have a care in the world about a pistol permit, but the story here is the Chiefs failure to follow the law and salute the taxpayers of his town with his middle finger, and oh yeah, I know several folks in Richmond who desire to exercise this right and have been denied by Chief Driscoll…..SHOULD HE BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE? or are laws for the rest of us?

    Comment by RS — July 11, 2009 @ 8:30 am | Reply

  17. RS, for the record, I do not recall a time when you haven’t accurately represented a position. For that matter, I generally agree with your positions and due to your job, give your thoughts a lot of weight.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — July 11, 2009 @ 8:44 am | Reply

  18. My political goal is to be the best Patriot I can for our Republic.

    Comment by RS — July 11, 2009 @ 8:50 am | Reply

  19. I wait to see whose lying before attacking someone for lying. Maybe it’s just my way of doing things. I found the depostions easy enough but even if it is hard I wouldn’t say it was a problem. All the facts I said are in the depositon. I didn’t lie about nohting. Don’t care anyway. If you read the depositon it is either a incredible string of coidsidence all leading to real problems for anyone who makes Scuncio mad or there was really a conspirasy between Scuncio, Delebro, the Sun, the westerly police, the AG office and god knows who else to get anyone who dared to threaten whatever the HPD wants to do. To this day they have a building in violation of the law. Both WPD and HPD used a FBI database illegally which is a felony. Anybody in jail? Anybody lose their job except Mauti? Nope. $100,000 paid by the poor people in Westerly and probably lots more to be paid by the poor people in Hopkinton. All because a policeman got mad. Like concerned says is this America?

    Comment by Corruption — July 11, 2009 @ 11:59 am | Reply

  20. Who said anything about anyone lying? All that was asked for was proof to the allegations, plain and simple, that’s all that was asked for. Until proof can be given than it’s nothing but an allegation.

    Comment by CharihoParent — July 11, 2009 @ 12:35 pm | Reply

  21. Short of a videotape or confession. It’s all allegations proven by evidence. Read the deposition. If tha evidence isn’t enough there for you then you’d make a good HPD officer. Corruption was right. I have no respect for anyone who would attack someone for no reason. Very offensive but some people are that way.

    No one disputes that the RILETS/NCIC database was used by both the WPD and the HPD to look up info about at least two people who made Scuncio angry. If Felkner hasn’t already been run through I’d be surprised. Using the database without proper legal basis is a felony according to the deposition. Since no cop admitted to using the database it is a sure bet they know they broke the law. Where’s that investigation by the AG, state police, FBI or honest cops? We finally have a felony in Hopkinton and the police could care less. Mauti gets harassed for civil offenses while felonies are happening at the police station.

    The Sun writes inaccurate articles which could have been written by Scuncio himself. Even the AG email says they are worried they could end up attacked by the newspaper. Pretty damning stuff!

    All this and the town is about to make HPD cops even richer than they already are. Retire in your forties with full pay and dip again into another public pension. Attack the messenger. No one to blame but ourselves.

    Comment by Concerned — July 11, 2009 @ 3:41 pm | Reply

  22. Honestly, I could give a crap what goes on in Hopkinton, it’s your battle there. I have enough being concerned with Richmond and Chariho. You get what you elect over there. I’ll leave it at that.

    Comment by CharihoParent — July 11, 2009 @ 5:17 pm | Reply

    • It would concern me and does that the Richmond Chief refuses to follow the laws of RI, it doesn’t directly affect me, but I spend my time and money protecting “your” rights for you and others.

      Comment by RS — July 12, 2009 @ 10:31 pm | Reply

      • RS,
        The section of the law provided, in my mind, doesn’t specifivally say anything about the police department so I don’t know what in it the chief would be violating.

        Comment by CharihoParent — July 13, 2009 @ 4:14 am

      • “(a) The licensing authorities of any city or town shall”…. Like it or not this is the chief of police in Richmond, not so in all towns. Trust me on this one….these are the facts ….instead of trying to refute was is true pick up the phone call anyone in your town whom you believe to be the licensing authority(council, police,clerk, etc) and ask….you will find the law is not being followed. Try all you want, your chief breaks the law….you can’t win this one. If you want to change it let me know, I can’t sue him because I’m not a Richmond resident….you can, want help with correcting an official who refuses to allow the citizens their lawful right I can put you on the correct legal path to freedom.

        Comment by RS — July 13, 2009 @ 8:26 am

      • Save you some time……….5) “Licensing authorities” means the board of police commissioners of a city or town where the board has been instituted, the chief of police or superintendent of police of other cities and towns having a regular organized police force, and, in towns where there is no chief of police or superintendent of police, it means the town clerk who may issue licenses upon the recommendation of the town sergeant, and it also means any other person or body duly authorized by the city or town charter or by state law.

        Comment by RS — July 13, 2009 @ 8:31 am

      • Where oh where in the section of the law you posted the link to does it say what the licensing authority is? I don’t recall it being in any of the ordinances or in the town charter what was adopted. Perhaps that is why Chief Driscoll has refered it to the AG’s office. I’m fairly sure the AG’s office would have been all over Chief Driscoll if they felt there was any violation of the law. You making your assumptions as to the chief violating the law. There must me more to it what you have supposed. One more someone posts something on a this and many other blogs when do NOT have the full story and/or full explanation. At least I’m not trying to say that what I have stated is pure fact. I’m giving suppositions because I don’t know the whole story and I’ll readily admit that I don’t know it. Listen, RS, you worry about what goes in your town that directly affects you and let those of who reside in Richmond worry about our town. The one thread we have in common is Chariho, let it remain that way unless you try regional government, too.

        Comment by CharihoParent — July 13, 2009 @ 9:54 am

      • Look under defenitions: http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE11/11-47/INDEX.HTM

        RI has state preemption laws over firearms, town blah,blah means nothing:
        http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE11/11-47/11-47-58.HTM

        Wrong about the AG’s office, they are anti-gun and do not have the interest of their constituents in mind on all matters(especially those they disagree with)…….you should be well aware of this from our own Chariho issues. Complaints have been filed with the AG’s office and the answer is go to court, just as it was for the open meetings violation of the Chariho School Committee.

        As to worrying about Richmond, the law being violated is a state law and I am a taxpaying resident of RI so I will worry about any town official violating state law. Too bad if you want to justify the illegal actions of your police.

        More reference about what the courts think of RI’s handling of similar situation can be found at the Mosby case: http://www.courts.ri.gov/superior/pdf/99-6504.pdf

        There are currently several suits in the courts over these very issues now, want to put up and help the cause or make excuses?

        So to recap, the Chief of Police in Richmond is the licensing authority, they refuse to even handout an application or accept one, and the laws says they must. So go on continuing to wear blinders and support and condone the illegal activities of your police.

        You spent much time trying to badger me, have you even ran this by your PD? If so what was the answer, have them put it in writing and you will see a cowering of the Chief. Otherwise go back to your love affair with SBH.

        Comment by RS — July 13, 2009 @ 1:13 pm

      • Update for you……Gillette vs Esserman(Providence)

        Bench ruling:

        Brief overview of the bench decision:

        * Fortunato’s opinion that mandamus is an appropriate remedy stands
        * The AG, or an AG issued permit, is not adequate remedy for a City’s failure to consider applications
        * Chief Dean Esserman is the licensing authority for the City of Providence
        * Chief Dean Esserman must institute an application process and comply with 11-47-11

        It has been agreed upon by the attorneys that
        * Chief Dean Esserman has 30 days to institute an application process and must comply with 11-47-11

        So for the naysayers that the Richmond Chief is not breaking the law, go tell the courts he is right……….the courts disagree with you…again.

        Richmonds suit is coming soon, want to save your town the money?

        Comment by RS — August 25, 2009 @ 9:30 am

  23. As a Richmondite, I’ll also not stick my nose in Hopkinton’s business, but I am amazed that you have these problems considering the relative large number of vocal people that you would think would be able to deal with this problem.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — July 11, 2009 @ 6:14 pm | Reply

  24. I totally agree – sad part is that none of this is new. The contract has been renewed twice since the insane pension was first put in. Either they knew they were bankrupting our town and didn’t care, or they were incompetent. Take your pick. And its not just one person – full committees voted on it (assuming it was done properly)

    Comment by Editor — July 11, 2009 @ 6:44 pm | Reply

  25. Thank you concerned. I was trying to let me know what is going on when I found this place. Then I get attacked. Then I find out he doesn’t even live hin Hopkinton! The corruption doesn’t stop at the border. The state and FBI knew about it too so maybe they all should be worried about it.

    Chariho gets attacked to but then the people attacking Chariho don’t care about the HPD. Buck is the example there. How about the school committee sit at the town council meetings. That’s what Buck did pretenting he cared about teachers being paid to much. When its his turn with the HPD he gives them everything. $198,000 dollars when they turn 78! Plus the corruption!

    Comment by Corruption — July 11, 2009 @ 6:45 pm | Reply

  26. LOL, their haven’t been any good “attacks” on this thread yet, wait around a bit, when “Curious Resident” pops back up again, then you’ll see some sparks.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — July 11, 2009 @ 6:59 pm | Reply

  27. I don’t think the last council, which included Tom, voted on this contract. Its being ‘negotiated’ now – technically it expired on July 1 and they are currently operating without a signed contract (at least that’s what I was told). It was Tom’s decision not to share the contract with the public though.

    Comment by Editor — July 11, 2009 @ 7:03 pm | Reply

  28. the last i checked, tom was elected by the people and voted by his fellow councilors to be president. the last i checked, they allowed him to negotiate the contracts……why now do they blast him for doing what they asked him to do??? maybe felkner should of volunteered to be president and negotiate the contact if he has all the answers after the fact…..or better yet….all you know it alls should have run for council and negotiated the contract yourselves. and you wonder why nobody of any value wants to run for public office. you vote the corruption back in and whenever someobody runs and has to clean up yesteryears mess gets in, you blast them. PATHETIC!!

    Comment by last i checked — July 11, 2009 @ 8:23 pm | Reply

    • Last I checked, my tax bill gives me the right!

      Comment by RS — July 12, 2009 @ 10:37 pm | Reply

  29. Asked Buck to negotiate contracts! I voted for the guy cause I don’t think he’s corrupt which is better than most. who said anything about having him be the final say on giving away everything to the police. I don’t vote for people to make them god. I thought he might clean up the mess not add to it. I thought he would stand up to the police for once. Hes seen the same depositon as everyone else. Why hasn’t god fired anybody if he is president! Its safe to give the cops whatever they want. Its scary to fire them or make them pay for their crimes. Felkner stuck up for Buck saying he hasn’t done anything yet except hide the contract after screaming bloody murder when Chariho did hte same thing. Guess it depends what shoes hes wearing if hiding contracts is good or bad. I don’t try to be on the council and I can’t negotiate contracts. I’d hire somebody who has a clue before doing it myself. Can’t cost more than paying retired cops who work only 20 years millions of dollars. This town is effed up with the stuff that goes on and the people who think it is all good and fine. Go attack Chariho but nothing but gold for the HPD.

    Comment by Corruption — July 11, 2009 @ 8:38 pm | Reply

  30. we aren’t talking about the proposed contract. we are talking about the current contract that was negotiated in 2006. But I did offer to negotiate the current contract but Tom took it citing his experience being in a union. I don’t think Tom is corrupt at all – I was dissapointed that he made the decision not to release the proposed contract to the public. But when the new contract is made available you can judge for yourself how competent he was at negotiating.

    Comment by Editor — July 11, 2009 @ 8:51 pm | Reply

  31. You don’t hide something for nothing. You hide if you don’t want to be seen. You don’t tell Bobby Petit to show a contract and turn around and hid your contract. Must be pretty bad if you try to get a council vote without the ones who pay being able to see until its to late. No body cares anyway so he can hide all he wants. The cops will get what they want. They do what they want. President god will be dead and gone while my kids still pay for cops retirement in Florida.

    Comment by Corruption — July 11, 2009 @ 8:58 pm | Reply

  32. Ref #25… You apprently don’t know the difference between an attack and asking for proof for an allegation. You ain’t seen nothing, yet!

    Comment by CharihoParent — July 11, 2009 @ 9:59 pm | Reply

  33. Fall River police accept pay cut:

    http://newsblog.projo.com/2009/07/fall-river-poli-2.html

    Comment by RS — July 13, 2009 @ 1:46 pm | Reply

  34. And what about the West Warwick situation, I hadn’t heard the judge dismissed the Carulo Suit …

    http://www.projo.com/news/content/west_warwick_teachers_too_07-13-09_4RF0P0A_v16.3618ec5.html

    Comment by Gene Daniell — July 13, 2009 @ 1:59 pm | Reply

  35. And now the NEA/AFT are afraid of Obama:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31893145/ns/politics-white_house/

    Comment by Gene Daniell — July 13, 2009 @ 3:27 pm | Reply

  36. Through Tom’s battles with the school committee, I can say with complete certainty that he has never come out and attacked the school committee in regards to negotiating contracts in closed session. We actually had this conversation during the support employee contract talks.

    I did ask him about the process of the negotiations. Though he never gave me specifics, he did tell me that everything that was discussed was passed along to the councilors during executive sessions. Now, I would gather that as the process was ongoing, and I can tell you that it was long, as it affected our lives, that any councilor would and should have offered their suggestions during the whole process. I would be totally surprised if they didn’t say anything.

    Knowing Tom for as long as I have, he listens to what people have to offer. Anyone, who has taken the time to talk to him, I believe, could attest to this.

    He has done everything he can to better his community. He loves his town, and he is in no-one’s back pocket.

    He has listened to people, and there concerns. He has been a part of two councils that have kept the municipal taxes very low.

    And last time I checked, almost 80% of our taxes concern the school system.

    Additionally, it was the administration he felt was too top heavy. He even stated that when the Ashaway School principal retired, that he felt she shouldn’t be replaced because the student population didn’t justify it. (No selfishness here, as his own children have gone and go there.)

    Also, his biggest gripe was the budget and how it was presented.

    I know for a fact that the teachers were never brought up.

    Yes, he belongs to a union. A lot of people do. That doesn’t mean he’s a union lackey. In fact, it is a benefit because he has been on the other side of things.

    I think when we give away the store for so many years, it is going to take some time to get it back.

    And as his wife, it angers me when people do not have the courage to talk to him face to face with their disagreements. He has always been open to talking town with people. He has sacrificed a lot during the last 2.5 years, all to better his community. And this is what I read. Absolutely, pathetic.

    And then I hear that the Hopkinton reporter for the Sun makes comments that Tom will not return her calls. Perhaps, it would have been more truthful to write that she has attempted to reach him but was unsuccessful. (Guess what, he wasn’t home during this time.)

    It is amazing how people can manipulate public opinion so easily, just by how you use your words. Can you see the different meanings I portrayed by the reporter and by what she should have written? Why would she word it that way?

    Now, I recall making a comment on this very blog during the support employee contract talks that I did not support open contract talks because I thought it would be chaotic.
    Tom and I discussed it then, so I am surprised that this is a new revelation.

    Guess what, the recession that we are in as a nation has affected our family as well. Do you think with all honesty that he would sell out his own children? Give me a break.

    He is not going to agree with 100% of the people of Hopkinton 100% of the time. Please, people, even I know that this is not possible. So, just because he feels that contract talks should be negotiated behind closed doors, does not make him the great Hopkinton satan. This is how you judge him? I applaud the fact that he has the courage to stand up for this belief knowing that he will be attacked for it.

    He will always do what he thinks is best for the taxpayers and residents of Hopkinton. That I believe with all my heart. If you doubt it, then that is your opinion, and you are clueless.

    Sincerely,

    Lois Buck
    (Proud wife of Hopkinton Town Council President, Thomas Buck)

    Comment by Lois — July 14, 2009 @ 12:06 am | Reply

    • All elected officials think what they are doing is best for their constituents, but the real question……..”Is what they are doing the right thing”.

      I disagree with the notion it takes “some time” to get the store back…..it takes courage(which means town workers whom may be your friends will have to tighten their belt and possibly some will lose their job….this is the real world reality) and a willingness to not pander to the unions.
      Like Geitner(USSOT) said, this correction in the economy is “healthy” and “needed”, so it must be shared by all, and this is the administration elected by RI, so it’s time for the voters to follow their leaders advice. How many municipal employees have had any cuts in benefits and pay…..and by cuts I mean real cuts(benefits reduced/cut, payrates reduced, etc) not the “well my raise wasn’t as big as usual so I’ve taken a cut” crap. I notice the union lackies haven’t been using the “inflation is larger than my raise so I’ve taken a cut in pay” scheme lately(inflation is low).

      This whole union/town worker/I’ve been here all my life and know this town scenario is nothing more than a ponzi scam perpetrated on the taxpayers of this town.

      I just can’t remember and don’t care to look for the info, but I wonder who was on the council when my taxes rose 19.9% in one year and the state statutes limited it to 5.5%……another ponzi scheme.

      Comment by RS — July 14, 2009 @ 9:14 am | Reply

  37. I don’t think Tom is the person to negotiate a contract. I also don’t trust a union guy to be the only negotiator with a union. Someone should have been hired who does this for a living. You can bet the HPD has expert negotiators and not just some HPD smuck wihtout a clue.

    Our money is given away and we should be able to see the process. At least the negotiations should be taped so we can see after the fact. There should be time for us to review the contract too before it gets done and signed.

    Always we hear how we can’t take back everythign at once but I bet they got everything very fast. Retirment after 20 years! For a HPD cop! Oooh what stress pulling over speeders. All that stress and most of them find another job with another big fat pension! Many times in other cop type jobs.

    Let them all quit if they don’t like it. They won’t but if they do then Hopkinton with its NO CRIME will survive. Pay a million to the state police. We’ll save half our money and will never know the difference. We’ll even have a nice new building to use for the town hall!

    What does Tom think of the lawsuit? Does he think the HPD didn’t do anything wrong? That’s one quick way to find out if he is any pockets. Is the investigation of who used RILET?NCIC illegally still active?

    Comment by Never Changes — July 14, 2009 @ 9:29 am | Reply

    • I agree negotiations should be done in the open for the simple reason the taxpayer has no other recourse or leverage for negotiations, unlike corporate/union negotiations.

      I don’t presume to know the stress factor of the HPD officers, and will not presume I “know” their job. The real question should be “Is the police force the correct size for our town and is the size of our police force appropriate for the cost structure”. This is an easily quantifiable number by using comparisons from other demographically sized towns. Are the taxpayers paying more or less than other comparable departments and are we receiving the value for our money, and how can we do it cheaper.

      State pensions will be the undoing of the productivity of RI. The numbers are an impossible utopia. This is not an uncommon contract feature even in the private sector, but since the benefits are usually well into the future, most management teams do not become highly concerned about agreeing to these provisions because history reveals they are almost always negotiated away later, voided in bankruptcy, or the company is eventually out of business. So for a government employe contract, the only options usually left are negotiations because bankruptcy and insolvency typically don’t happen(stayed tuned on this one….RI is on the doorstep). We all know where RI state/municipal employee negotiations lead…….the latest round of bills asking for perpetual contracts should be an eye opener…more like an acid based eye wash….can you say the politicians are more interested in votes for themselves.

      If only there was someone willing to move to RI and by our homes, we could leave these problems to those who created them. Home for sale here ….any takers. I would even sell to one of the union lackies, but I’m sure they would try to run some kind of ponzi scheme on me.

      Comment by RS — July 14, 2009 @ 9:59 am | Reply

  38. Having a relative recently retire from a RI police dept at the age of 44 and talking to him about wanting to get another cop type job I feel safe in presuming his stress wasn’t too bad since he wants to keep going. Not a lot of crime where he worked but theres even less in Hopkinton. Since he worked as many hours as he wanted his last few years (even told me that the deal at police departments the cops closest to retirement get first shot at any extra work) his retirement take home pay is the same as his pay when he was working. Nice gig if you can get it.

    Exeter is probably more miles then Hopkinton and does fine using hte state police. Rural Conn. towns almost all pay for state police. It has been only the last 20 years Hopkinton has had so many cops. The size of HPD is a huge part of the cost. But there is no reason any able bodied person retiring at tax payer expense should be able to retire in there forties or fifties. If they get rich on there own then fine but why should I work until I’m 70 to support town, school, or state workers retiring so young?

    On top of all of it we have a union guy negotiating for the town with no professional negotiators with him. Does the HPD just send in a cop to negotiate or do they have experienced negoatiators? To insult us more we can’t see what happens in the negotiations (EVER) and we can’t see the contract until it is a done deal for all practical purposes. This is Chariho all over again. May be smaller poatoes but where gonna get mashed. I’d like to get the hell out too but nobody wants my house.

    Comment by Never Changes — July 14, 2009 @ 10:43 am | Reply

    • I was under the impression there is a labor attorney present on the towns behalf…..is this not true? Don’t tell me a lone Town Councilor is the representative for the town on union negotiations….are they really any more prepared than the former Town Manager was? I’ve seen zero overall costs savings from having the Town Manager position and letting him negotiate for the town….of course we could always use Obamanomics and say “well the spending increases would have been greater without the Town Manager saving the taxpayers money”. Of course this is an unquatifiable number or as some would say double speak(misrepresentation), also known as deceit.

      Comment by RS — July 14, 2009 @ 11:27 am | Reply

  39. I could be wrong. Maybe there was a professional for the town. This is the problem when everything is hidden from us. A lot depends on what hte professional is told to negotiate. I guess we’ll find out how good or bad it is after its all done. We’ll never know how the negoatitions went down though.

    Comment by Never Changes — July 14, 2009 @ 11:32 am | Reply

    • This is true, we only know the end result. Then it is too late to affect any change. I just keep scratching my head trying to figure out what kind of leverage a municipality has against public service employees. There isn’t much I can think of and obviously the negotiators for our town can’t either. One of the problems is the close personal relationship small town elected officials have with the municipal workers….many times they’ve grown up together are family friends, etc……how do you go to your friend and say your position is being eliminated, or your salary needs to be cut, or your benefits need to be cut, because you can guarantee the employee will throw every sympathy card in the deck at the messenger. This is the reason you need a strong manager(leader) in these positions during times like this, I’ve stated this earlier. Any calls to stop bringing up problems we see with the direction our town is moving in reminds me of a quote of then General Collin Powell: ”The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them.”
      Maybe our elected officials want us to stop bringing them problems.

      Comment by RS — July 14, 2009 @ 12:14 pm | Reply

  40. Hi!
    Two things:
    1.Sylvia Thompson did not serve on 2004-2006 Hopkinton Town Council. Instead of her on that town council it was Brian Scott. Sylvia called me last night. Want to make that correction.
    2. The annual meeting of the Ashaway Fire District will be held at the fire station on Main Street (Route#3) starting at 6:30 P.M., Ron Kennedy’s Brian father is district Moderator and will conduct the meeting. Eligible voters: Registered voters in Hopkinton who live within the boundaries of the Ashaway Fire District and property taxpayers who own property within the Ashaway Fire District even if they live outside the district. I am one of three of the district fire commissioners. Kathy Schmidt is the fire commissioners Chair.
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — July 14, 2009 @ 4:31 pm | Reply

  41. Hi!
    The annual meeting of the Ashaway Fire District is this Thursday, July 16Th,. Sorry for omitting the date!
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — July 14, 2009 @ 4:32 pm | Reply

  42. […] establish our place in the hierarchy of wealth in RI I posted census data –  we are 19th in per capita income, 18th in median household income, and 21st in median family […]

    Pingback by More Police Contract info « Chariho School Parents’ Forum — July 19, 2009 @ 2:11 pm | Reply

  43. Update posted in #22.

    Comment by RS — August 25, 2009 @ 9:30 am | Reply


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