STATE HOUSE - Unions representing Central Coventry firefighters and the statewide AFL-CIO were blasted today by State Representative Patricia Morgan (R-Coventry, West Warwick, Warwick) for trying to scare central Coventry residents into voting for a 36% fire district tax increase.
Morgan was critical of a mailing from the RI AFL-CIO that began hitting Coventry mailboxes today. The flyer inaccurately quotes Special Master Richard Land, and predicts higher risks for families, the loss of fire and safety services and increased homeowners insurance should voters fail to approve a new $6.6 million budget for 2013.
“This union tactic is shameful, said Morgan.
“The public has figured out what has been going on at the Central Coventry Fire District, and the only way these unions can win is by scaring people.
“What isn’t said is that the Court has gone out of its way to ensure fire protection and safety services are in place for every home and business in Central Coventry.
“Four fire chiefs from other Coventry Fire Districts have developed a plan, and it is in the hands of the judge. It is my hope that the judge will release this plan before the vote, so taxpayers can vote assured that fire and safety protection will remain in place. The unions would love them to think they are stepping off a cliff, and that is just not so.
“Special Master Richard Land has already disassociated himself from this mailing, saying it was issued without his approval, and that is ‘misquotes and distorts’ his public comments. He notes, as well, that it was issued by the state AFL-CIO, and not the Central Coventry Fire District."
Land has demanded the AFL-CIO retract the information.
On behalf of taxpayers, Representative Morgan and state Senator Nicholas Kettle (R-Coventry, Foster, Scituate, West Greenwich) will tomorrow file a motion with Superior Court to release the protection plan developed by other Coventry fire district chiefs.
“I hope the Special Master and Judge Stern of Superior Court will step in and make themselves heard,” she said.
“Taxpayers knowing the plan is an important part of their decision-making process. And the power of the taxpayer here lies in the ballot box,” said Morgan. “For once, taxpayers will get a direct say on their tax bill when asked to vote on the new Fire District budget Mar 26 at Coventry High School."
“But taxpayers need to show up to be heard,” Morgan emphasized.