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Thread: Hoover puts firefighter class on hold 2003

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    Hoover puts firefighter class on hold 2003

    Hoover puts firefighter class on hold
    Tuesday, January 7, 2003

    By Nick Kotsopoulos
    Telegram & Gazette Staff


    WORCESTER -- The 32-member firefighter recruit class that was supposed to start training next month has been put on hold because of the city's uncertain fiscal picture.
    City Manager Thomas R. Hoover told the City Council Municipal Operations Committee last night he is delaying the firefighter class until Gov. Mitt Romney comes out with his proposed state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
    He said the governor is expected to submit his fiscal 2004 budget proposal to the Legislature by March 1. The firefighter recruit class was supposed to begin training Feb. 17.
    The manager's big concern is whether there will be deep cuts in local aid from the state as some legislators have warned.
    State Sen. Guy W. Glodis, D-Auburn, said he has told the city manager to expect a 10 percent cut in local aid next fiscal year. Such a cutback would have a significant impact on city finances because state aid represents 53 percent of the total municipal budget this year.
    City officials have projected that the city will receive about $209 million in local aid from the state this fiscal year.
    Mr. Hoover said he will go into greater detail regarding the city's finances in a report he intends to submit to the City Council tonight. He said his report will include a financial forecast and also detail the fiscal obstacles facing the city.
    Some city councilors said they understand the city could be facing a $14 million budget imbalance next fiscal year.
    The manager's statement about the firefighter class was part of a general discussion with the Municipal Operations Committee relative to city finances and health insurance costs.
    Mr. Hoover's decision to delay the class drew sharp criticism from representatives of Local 1009, International Association of Fire Fighters.
    Firefighter Frank P. Raffa, president of the union, said he was stunned and extremely disappointed with the manager's decision. As recently as Friday, he said, fire officials were still under the impression that the recruit class would begin next month.
    Mr. Raffa said not starting the class next month will affect the Fire Department, which is already experiencing dwindling numbers because of retirements.
    He said that while the Fire Department is authorized to have 479 positions, 469 positions were funded in the fiscal 2002 municipal budget, and that number dropped to 449 in this year's budget.
    Since July 1, when the fiscal year began, the manpower level in the Fire Department has dropped to 423, he added, and more retirements are on the horizon.

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    Hoover wants to be reclassified Public Safety Employee

    Board, Hoover agree on pact
    Tuesday, January 7, 2003

    By Nick Kotsopoulos
    Telegram & Gazette Staff


    WORCESTER-- City Manager Thomas R. Hoover has reached an understanding with the City Council Municipal Operations Committee on the terms and conditions of a compensation package for him.
    Councilor-at-Large Joseph M. Petty, chairman of the Municipal Operations Committee, said last night both parties have agreed not to publicly discuss what has been agreed upon at this time.
    The three-member committee met with Mr. Hoover in executive session for about an hour to discuss the manager's compensation package. It was the third closed-door meeting the committee has had with the manager since September to discuss his contract.
    A contract extension is believed to have been part of the discussion.
    Under Mr. Hoover's contract with the city, he is entitled to consideration for a raise or changes to his benefits package within 90 days of his job evaluation, which was at the end of June. At that evaluation, Mr. Hoover received one of his best job reviews during his nine-year tenure.
    The city manager is the only employee in the city government, aside from the 11 city councilors, not to receive a pay raise this year.

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    No raise for Hoover, but contract extended

    No raise for Hoover, but contract extended
    Thursday, January 9, 2003

    By Nick Kotsopoulos
    Telegram & Gazette Staff


    WORCESTER-- City Manager Thomas R. Hoover will receive a one-year contract extension under the tentative agreement he has reached with the City Council Municipal Operations Committee on his compensation package.
    With that extension, Mr. Hoover would remain the city's chief executive through Jan. 31, 2005.
    According to council sources, Mr. Hoover will not receive a pay raise or be classified as a public safety employee, something he reportedly had sought.
    Such a reclassification would have boosted the manager's retirement because a different formula is used to calculate the pension benefits for public safety employees. Local 1009, International Association of Fire Fighters, has opposed such a reclassification, saying it should strictly be reserved for those who perform public safety jobs.
    Other issues that have been hammered out include the buyback of unused sick leave time and an extension of severance pay.
    Councilor-at-Large Joseph M. Petty, chairman of the Municipal Operations Committee, would not comment last night on the terms of the contract extension.
    He reiterated that both parties have agreed not to publicly discuss what has been agreed upon until it is put into writing and reviewed once again by the Municipal Operations Committee.
    Mr. Petty said he expects his committee will receive the draft of what has been agreed to within a couple of weeks.
    Mr. Hoover also is not commenting on his compensation package.
    Mr. Hoover, who has been Worcester's city manager since January 1994, reached an understanding Monday night with the Municipal Operations Committee on the terms and conditions of his compensation package, after a one-hour closed-door meeting.
    It was the third such meeting between the committee and manager since September to discuss his contract.
    Mr. Hoover earns about $136,000 annually. The council gave him a 37-month contract in 2000, running through Jan. 31, 2004.
    Mr. Hoover broached the idea of a contract extension after the council's annual review of his job performance in June. Under the manager's contract with the city, he is entitled to consideration for a raise or changes to his benefits package within 90 days of his evaluation.
    While the manager has never made public his request for this year, council sources said he was willing to forgo a pay raise for this year in exchange for a contract extension.

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    Fiscal crisis may eliminate recruit classes

    Fiscal crisis may eliminate recruit classes
    Friday, January 17, 2003

    By Nick Kotsopoulos
    Telegram & Gazette Staff


    WORCESTER-- The long-planned firefighter and police recruit classes are becoming long shots at best in the wake of the city's worsening fiscal situation.
    City officials believe proceeding with the two recruit classes may be unrealistic because of the spending cuts department heads have been asked to make in their budgets for this fiscal year and next.
    John P. Pranckevicius, city budget director, said if the city went ahead with the planned 32-member firefighter class, which was supposed to begin Feb. 17 and is now on hold, and the 31-member police class planned for next fiscal year, it would require drastic cuts in all other municipal operations.
    Mr. Pranckevicius said the additional personnel costs associated with those recruits is $2.6 million annually.
    City Manager Thomas R. Hoover has asked department heads to slash their budgets by 5 percent for the balance of this fiscal year to prepare for a possible reduction in local aid. They have also been asked to reduce their budgets by 10 percent to 15 percent for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
    Mr. Pranckevicius said projected operating expenses for municipal operations next fiscal year, excluding the School Department, is about $101 million. Of that, about $63 million would be for police and fire.
    Because the city is facing a potential $14.1 million gap next fiscal year, Mr. Pranckevicius said, funding the firefighter and police recruit classes would require 40 percent cuts in every other municipal department, excluding the public and vocational schools.

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    City manager offers plan to cut and avoid layoffs

    City manager offers plan to cut and avoid layoffs
    Saturday, February 1, 2003

    By Nick Kotsopoulos
    Telegram & Gazette Staff


    WORCESTER-- City Manager Thomas R. Hoover yesterday unveiled a plan for $4.3 million in municipal spending adjustments for the final five months of this fiscal year. It brings the city budget in line with the cut in local aid administered by the Romney administration.
    Under Mr. Hoover's plan, no municipal employees would lose their jobs.
    But he cautioned some of his cost-savings recommendations are contingent upon actions by the state Legislature and local municipal employee unions. He said layoffs might become necessary at a later point if those recommendations should fall through.

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