Republicans Press For Emergency Fire Plan For Coventry

Plan would give temporary taxing authority to town while long-term solution is sought.


STATE HOUSE, APR 1 – State Senator Nick Kettle (R-Coventry, West Greenwich, Scituate, Foster) and State Representative Patricia Morgan (R-Coventry, West Warwick, Warwick) have proposed a plan to ensure central Coventry residents have access to fire and emergency service once the Central Coventry Fire District ceases operation Apr. 11.

Morgan and Kettle told a meeting called today by House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed that the best option was to ensure the safety of Coventry residents short-term, and get residents involved in the decision-making for a long-term solution.

“Our basic plan is straightforward, and will allow the town to act temporarily on behalf of fire district residents. Through legislation we will file this week, the town will be empowered to collect fire taxes that would have been owed under the last-approved budget, and then contract with public or private services for fire and emergency services for a six month period,” said Morgan.

“During this period, Coventry residents in the area formerly served by the Central Coventry Fire District can meet, and as a group identify their preferred option moving forward and organize to get it done,” she said.

She added that it was important that Coventry residents, and not groups of legislators or others meeting behind closed doors, make the critical decisions.

“The only group not represented at the Court hearing on Friday, or at this meeting at the State House today, were the people who are most affected, and who will ultimately pay the bill.

“It should not be up to a few of us to make decisions for them,” Morgan said.

Senator Kettle agreed, and emphasized that the plan put forward was only a short-term measure.

“The plan we offered has just a few moving parts, and will be simple and straightforward to implement. But it cannot be a complete solution, or one for the long-term,” said Kettle.

“Our goal was to devise a workable emergency response, and buy some time to be thoughtful about the long-term. There is no one solution here that anyone thinks is best for the people of Coventry, but they need some time to consider options and make some decisions.

“The voters in Coventry spoke loudly and clearly about the way this fire district was being managed, and the cost they were paying for its services. I suspect both issues are ones they will want to think about moving forward,” he said.

The two officials told the State House gathering this morning that a group of Coventry residents were already meeting and organizing, and preparing to have a long-term plan for fire and emergency services ready for review within 90 days.

There are other bills filed in the General Assembly that could affect fire districts throughout the state. One of them, H-5176, filed by Coventry State Rep. Scott Guthrie, would grant fire districts almost unlimited power to set budgets and tax rates for fire services. Another, H-5930 filed by State Rep.  James McLaughlin of Cumberland, would set an annual cap on tax levy increases by Fire Districts, bringing them under the same requirements for town governments set in 2006, the so-called 3050 cap.


Firefighter 97 April 02, 2013 at 04:06 PM
These politicians should be sacked for even contemplating bringing in an out-of-state agency (which you cannot even begin to address their hurdles to operate within RI easily) to provide emergency medical services. Privatization, and union busting is their true agenda. Send them a message at election time. Out of state private contractors indeed....Morons would still kick unemployed Rhode Islanders in the teeth in their stupidity.
mad hatter April 02, 2013 at 04:18 PM
coventryforward13, i hear you and what you are saying. however, in one breath you say people are spreading misinformation and the next breath you say dont take it out on the firefighters. show me one post here, or any other thread for that matter, where someone is bashing the firefighters. i hear slams against the former chief, current chief, board, and union head. all with cause in my opinion. noone here is putting down the firefighter. personally, i like them. i want them. the only gripe i may have with them is they didnt have the balls to get gorman under control.
ConcernedCitizen April 02, 2013 at 04:37 PM
Most of the firefighters seem like good people and deserve their jobs back. They didn't create this problem. However, the idiots that were yelling at the meetings and mocking people or blasting the tax payers on Facebook don't deserve anything.
RS April 02, 2013 at 04:52 PM
Jay, go read Morgans press release where she states that the Union was trying to scare people into voting yes by saying there was no emergency plan in place. She said there WAS a plan in place so there was no need to worry about losing protection. Her actions this week prove she lied in that press release.
mad hatter April 02, 2013 at 04:55 PM
concerned, i agree completely. now THAT is what a union head should be on top of. instead, he was one of the culprits.
CoventryForward13 April 02, 2013 at 05:42 PM
Mad Hatter- I was referring to threads from previous posts, not this one. Sorry if it came out that way. There was a ton of FF bashing in the posts regarding the shut down of the district and the Special Meeting.
Firefighter 97 April 02, 2013 at 07:33 PM
"BTW, i hear about a lot of yapping on FB. do you have a link?" It's probably called having a discussion. Are you the facebook nazi or something?
concerned tax payer April 02, 2013 at 07:38 PM
The Union Firefighters are asking to be given authority to put a Town Budget in place, which currently is only approved by registered voters. They want authority to do this when Taxpayers of a town choose to vote down the current proposed Fiscal/Financial Budget If this passes, this would overturn the Coventry Tax Payer’s vote from last week. They also want a “blank check” to be able to add more money to a previous budget – and then would increase your Taxes to cover their purchases without any cap limits They have already done this which lead to huge deficits that we can't pay for – and lead to the bankruptcy of the independent company - CCFD that they worked for. This wouldn’t pass in the Town of Coventry, so they are now trying to push it through at the State level to supersede the Coventry town vote, and it would allow all other Firefighters in the state to do the same They want everyone that can attend to appear in Providence at the RISE building at 5pm Room 35 - H5176, Basement Level - to voice your concerns. They never do give us any notice. This is the best we can do to spread the word. Voters we need you one more time. But if you cannot attend - sign at Petition below and we will present this at tomorrow night's meeting. Here’s the current Petition being circulated amoung Coventry and RI Voters http://www.change.org/petitions/taxpayers-of-rhode-island-vote-to-control-your-tax-dollars
thomass April 02, 2013 at 07:52 PM
Lou Rap. I listen to you on the radio today. Now listen, leave it alone !!!!! LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE, WE HAVE SPOKEN !!!!!!!!!!!
Western Citizen April 02, 2013 at 08:14 PM
The Firefighters need to Find a way to remove Gorman from the Public Eye. He has a responsibility to All of his Union Brothers to always behave in a Professional and level headed Manner. To deal in Facts and not Emotion. They Desperately need to change the Image of Being a Thug and change it Quick. There is no one in this world who would respond in a positive way to the Behavior that has been expressed by the one who is deemed to be a leader in the Community and has the responsibility of bringing the views and concerns of all Union Firefighters in town to light.. This is the same person who also was running for office. I for one will certainly cast a NO vote for any Merger of Fire Districts as long as The Union Members Continue to view him as a Leader.
ccfdtaxpayer101 April 02, 2013 at 08:22 PM
I somewhat agree with you except for the fact that I don't want the firefighters who have terrorized taxpayers and other union members who don't agree with them. Hire back all firefighters that are true to spirit of the position. (Fight fires and save lives) NOT GORMAN and his band of thugs. I would rather go without and 1300 of us said the same. It really wasn't all about the $$ you know.
Firefighter 97 April 02, 2013 at 09:17 PM
There is a lot of emotions running wild here on the Patch regarding CCFD (not to mention some seriously atrocious grammatical and spelling issues). Individual fire districts were a quaint little part of new England history, but much like our national economy and diplomacy, it needs to be dragged kicking and screaming into the future. If HHFD and AFD end up absorbing CCFD into their districts (which doesn't solve the problem), or an entirely new entity is created, I would call upon Chief Frank Brown and Chief Paul Labbadia of HH and Anthony respectively to hire back every CCFD that lost their jobs FIRST! The firefighters didn't cause this problem, it was the management and half-assed way the district was merged that caused this problem. THEY should get FIRST CRACK at getting their jobs back before they lose even more, like health coverage, mortgages, cars, etc. You can voice support for such an initiative my contacting them both at: Chief Labbadia: Address: 571 Washington Street Coventry RI, 02816, Chief's phone: Dept. phone: 821-3141 And Chief Brown Address: 1 Bestwick Trail Coventry, RI 02816 (401) 821-6866
kitty kat April 02, 2013 at 09:18 PM
Mr. Gorman is not a thug , as many of you idiots portray him as one.He was protecting his district and fellow FF in all districts and you ppl. turned on him. He isn't the cause or blame of what happened here in CCFD. Brotherhood ,yeah you all have respect for the FF's .....NOT!!!!!
Western Citizen April 02, 2013 at 09:41 PM
@ benny>>>> You Refer to him as Mr.. Mr. Is a sign of respect. Gorman Has not Earned the Respect of the Majority of Taxpayers. He is in a Position of Influence and Responsibility. Public Outbursts and Idle threats do not Earn someone Respect. Gorman Must Go. The Taxpayers see him as the Spokesperson of all Firefighters in Town and as long as They do not Trust Him, They Will Not Trust the Fire Department.. Sacrifice the 1 to save the Many...
eye in the sky April 02, 2013 at 09:44 PM
And then there is John Assalone..........
concerned tax payer April 02, 2013 at 09:44 PM
They were voted in raises against Forecasted Tax Revue that does not exist and has not existed for years. We are not going to continue to pay them at those inflated levels based on the fact that there mom's and dads that were on the CCFD board voted them in their raises when they knew we were bankrupt. Then they have had the nerver to retire on those rates. Those fire fighters were only willing to give up a couple of Personal data (had 11- would give up 5...let me not fall over). The only people with a hidden agenda is the Union that are hiding the way the Firefighters hid on the the Financial Statements that overtime rolled up into some "Comp" money that they got paid out at the end of the month- to hid how they were cheating the system. That's why our taxes are HIGHER then anyone else in the state.
concerned tax payer April 02, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Exactly - the Union and the Chiefs are hiding how the Firefighters are playing the system-- playing the overtime game. First Firefighter works Monday Day and the 2nd Shift Fire Fighter calls in sick. First Shift FireFighter covers the 2nd shift, and gets paid Overtime to do it. So the First Shift guy - gets paid regular time for first shift - and overtime for second shift. Then Monday Firefighter calls in sick on Wed Night and Wed Day guys gets 2nd shift overtime. So instead of paying for one fire fighter normal salary - he's being paid normal salary + Overtime (which is hidden in the Coventry Budget Financial Statements. This is why our TAXES are through the roof. Central Coventry Fire Fighters and Anthony Firefighters are Cheating the system -Tax Payers it's time to WAKE UP---Please thank Gorman for doing all our Legal work Pro Bono !!
concerned tax payer April 02, 2013 at 10:12 PM
How can the Town Council President (basically Mayor of Coventry) also be the President of the Fire Board and a Member of the Uniton in the Anthony (Coventry ) Fire District. This is a total conflict of interest. Ethics Violation if I've ever seen one. That's actually why no plan has ever been put in place because his only plan is to figure out how to continue to pay those FireFIghters and keep them employed at the illegally Inflated labor rates. He did ADMIT in the 2nd tax propsal that they would Give UP Playing the Overtime game. So he admited that they all do this. But How is this not an Ethics violation that the same person can be in the Union and be the Mayor. They added over 20 firefighters in the last 5 years. Well we can't afford them, and definately can't afford them at the rates they've been paid. They did not offer to have their salaries adjusted - so get a clue we DON"T HAVE the money to Pay you and our Pockets are not bottomless and our elderly are not continue to suffer becuase of the illegal raises that were voted in .
Steve Fay April 02, 2013 at 10:48 PM
Lauren, could you please let Central Coventry Fire District Taxpayers know that a petition to rescind the vote of March 26 2013 has been started. Anyone interested can sign at "Bill's" Package store 672 main st, Coventry, RI. Thanks.
Steve Fay April 02, 2013 at 10:50 PM
Lauren, could you please let Central Coventry Fire District Taxpayers know that a petition to rescind the vote of March 26 2013 has been started. Anyone interested can sign at "Bill's" Package store 672 main st, Coventry, RI. Thanks.
Leave RI April 02, 2013 at 11:44 PM
Go through and just yell all the words in caps..it might make the caps lock people think they weren't typing in vain..and if the word is misspelled in caps you have to pronounce the misspelled word...I just did it..it works about as well as typing a 1 in the comments of a facebook optical illusion.
The Truth April 03, 2013 at 12:18 AM
If you worked over your 40 hrs or whatever they work, wouldn't you want to be payed overtime too. I think there is some kinda labor law on that.
eye in the sky April 03, 2013 at 01:57 AM
Are you talking about Brown and his wife?
eye in the sky April 03, 2013 at 02:00 AM
I couldn't agree more!!
eye in the sky April 03, 2013 at 02:02 AM
We don't need anymore tea-bagging D-bags on this sight, Kettle go home and take the wicked witch of west warwick with you!!
getreal April 03, 2013 at 10:51 AM
So kettle and Morgan did lie to everyone, you are probably dumb enough to still listen to them too.
Rhodeyresident0303 April 03, 2013 at 12:11 PM
What is the overtime game you people are making up in your head? If firefighter A calls in sick for his shift then they go down a list with all of the firefighters name on it and hire by the last seniority or by whoever last worked overtime. So firefighter A calls out during his day shift sick and firefighter J takes the overtime. Then the list stops there. If firefighter A calls out for his night shift then the hiring list starts at firefighter K. There is not a union thug overtime game. Stop trying to blame firefighters for the mess of the elected officials. You people all talk S**T until you need them.
eye in the sky April 03, 2013 at 02:00 PM
The patch has been taken over by tea-bagging fools which should be called the American Taliban!
disaster coming April 03, 2013 at 02:04 PM
Concerned tax payer....idk where you get your facts from, but central coventry didn't hire over 20 firefighters in the last five years. There hasn't been 20 hired throughout the entire town in 5 years. But there has been retirements and firefighters leaving for other jobs, so in reality there may have been a few replacements but not over 20 hired above what the staffing was already at.
02816 April 03, 2013 at 06:52 PM
you probably would have called those that questioned the mergers claimed savings as "tea baggers". How'd that work our for you??


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