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Thread: Firefighters Going Public With Pension Fight

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    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Firefighters Going Public With Pension Fight

    Firefighters Going Public With Pension Fight

    By William Murphy
    STAFF WRITER

    September 17, 2002


    The city's firefighters unions are preparing to do public battle with the Bloomberg administration over its failure to support Sept. 11-related pension bills proposed in Albany.

    The two unions, which together represent more than 10,000 members of the much-lauded Fire Department, plan to place full-page ads in area newspapers within days, assailing the mayor for failing to put his weight behind the legislation.

    The bills, introduced earlier this year, would allow firefighters considering retirement to lock into pensions that would be based on overtime earnings after the terror attacks without leaving the job. Currently, firefighters seeking to take advantage of the higher pensions, which are based on salary in the last year of employment, would have to retire now. City pension officials have put the cost of the proposed bills to the city at $18 million.

    "We are now going to make our case to the public and the City Council," Capt. Peter Gorman, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, said. The printed complaints about the Bloomberg administration, whose support is considered critical for the pension enhancements, promise to be the most public rift to date with the Bloomberg administration. Tensions between the unions and the city have been rising. Earlier this year, city lawyers tried to block late claims by 11 firefighters who said they suffered breathing problems and other maladies from working at the trade center site, but a judge last month reversed that.

    Gorman declined to go into details of his talks on the bills with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But he said last week that he had given the city until Aug. 31 to act. Gorman said he pointed out to the Bloomberg team the potential impact of a rush out the door by senior personnel. There are no existing civil-service lists for promotions to lieutenant and captain, and day-to-day vacancies would have to be filled through overtime, he said.

    The mayor's press office did not return calls for comment.

    "Somehow, we have to get the message to the public and to the mayor," said Stephen Cassidy, head of the Uniformed Firefighters Association.

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    MANHATTAN: FIREFIGHTERS TO USE ADS

    NY Times Sept 27, 2002
    Metro Briefing

    MANHATTAN: FIREFIGHTERS TO USE ADS
    City firefighter unions have prepared full-page newspaper advertisements to criticize the city for blocking proposed changes in their pension system, the unions said yesterday. The ads, set to run today under the headline "Save the FDNY," argue that the changes would help prevent retirements. Many firefighters say they cannot afford to pass up the opportunity to retire on salaries increased by the overtime they earned after the World Trade Center attack. The changes would allow firefighters to use their highest-earning year, not their last year, when calculating pension benefits. City officials say that the city has already made significant pension adjustments sought by the unions and that this proposal would cost too much money.
    __Kevin Flynn (NYT)

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