Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 05-22-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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NORTH PROVIDENCE EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | MAY 22-28, 2019 NORTH PROVIDENCE 11 cle and taking an engine off the road this year, as well as six subsequent union grievances against the town. "To give taxpayers more of a bang for their buck, they shouldn't be sleep- ing," he said. "If they want to live and die by the contract, tell me where I've got to pay them to sleep." Playing a lesser role in his thinking, says Lombardi, was the decision by state lawmakers this month to approve a pair of union-backed bills establish- ing a 42-hour workweek and man- dating continuing contracts. Though the mayor conceded that neither one of those bills impact the town in the immediate future, he says they fur- ther erode municipalities' negotiating power. Lombardi said officials originally went with the third rescue this year because they saw a need based on more than 600 rescue calls identified as taking 10 to 15 minutes or longer based on outside help needing to be called in. The rule of thumb, he said, is that another rescue requires hiring eight additional firefighters to cover four shifts, plus buying a new truck and paying overtime, all at a cost of up to $700,000, but he was able to do it for nothing. "I did what I thought was the com- mon sense business approach and shut down that fire truck and redeployed that manpower to the additional res- cue," he said. With some 80 percent of calls com- ing in being for rescue service, he said, "we needed to do something about it," and he was trying to get taxpayers the best value for their money. An esti- mated $300,000 in annual revenue is now expected due to the extra rescue calls, he said. Firefighters have received a 12 per- cent cumulative raise in four years and that will jump to a six-year 21 percent total in the next two years, said Lombardi. That's all before the extra 3 percent raise the union is seek- ing through an arbitration process for hazardous duty pay. He maintains that he won't be "giving another dime" to them. Fire Chief John Silva said Monday that he doesn't agree with Lombardi's tentative plan to remove the beds from local fire stations. Firefighters work long hours and they need a place to rest and rehabilitate between runs, he said, but Lombardi as public safety director gets to make the decision. Silva said he believes the sides can still sit down and come to a reasonable compromise. He fully expects the cur- rent turmoil to end soon and "go back to normal status." The departure continues to run smoothly, he said. "I agree 100 percent with the fire chief," Petrillo responded Monday. "It's abso- lutely unsafe to do that." Lombardi said Petrillo and others should remember that he once rode the fire trucks and rescues, so he knows there's nothing especially hazardous about working on a rescue truck. "Is it hazardous or dangerous, or is it money?" he said. "You're not getting more money." When a firefighter is sleeping, it can simply take too long for them to respond to a call, said Lombardi. "Now and then" there are calls that firefighters took too long to get to a patient, he said, and he attributes that to personnel having to get out of bed and get ready. Petrillo said he's confused by Lombardi's statements about taxpay- ers getting better "bang for your buck" than they're getting now. The North Providence Fire Department is one of the top 100 fire departments in the country with insurance Class 1 rat- ing, he said, and that's due to training, response times, and a myriad of other factors. "I think they get a pretty good bang for their buck," he said of taxpayers. Petrillo added that he's not sure how removing beds has anything to do with taxpayers getting their money's worth. Firefighters work long hours and need rest between their calls, he said, and no resident wants a firefighter who has been awake for 30 to 34 hours with no rest to be administering medications or responding to an emergency situation. Firefighters aren't partaking in anything someone would describe as a restful night of sleep, said Petrillo. After 11 p.m., when they are allowed to rest, they basically have "one eye open and one foot on the ground," and might get an hour or two of sleep. It's not like they can just go home and catch up on sleep either, he said, as they must fulfill family obligations on the day between their night shifts. "This is clearly retaliatory based on the contract bill and our issues," he said, warning that removing the beds would constitute as an unfair labor practice. "The fact that he would even con- sider this is confusing to me" given the mayor's intimate knowledge of the importance of the firefighters and what they do, Petrillo said. He said he attempted to have a con- versation with Lombardi last week and the mayor got angry and called the firefighters names, so he doesn't intend to have further conversations. "It didn't really go well," he said. As for the union seeking the extra 3 percent raise, Petrillo said, that was simply a request to put before the arbitrator to give him "something to choose from." Any time there is a change in working conditions, the union is allowed to seek compensa- tion, he said. If Lombardi had brought up the matter of adding a rescue last year when the sides were in contract talks there could have been a discussion then about asking for a 1 percent raise going forward, he said. As Petrillo understands it, it was the mayor who previously suggested to union leader predecessors that he was considering adding a rescue in the future and that there could be some added compensa- tion for that. FIRE BEDS From Page One SILVA Mancini Center offers sign language classes NORTH PROVIDENCE – The North Providence Mancini Center, 2 Atlantic Blvd., announces the fol- lowing programs. The Creative Writing Group will meet Friday, May 24, at 1 p.m. The group is open to all members. Spring Bingo with Sue Silva of Golden Crest will be held Wednesday, May 29, at 10:30 a.m. The center's book club will meet Wednesday, May 29, at 1 p.m. The club will discuss "Saints for All Occasions," by J. Courtney Sullivan. The book to be distributed is "The Word is Murder," by Anthony Horowitz. An ice cream social sponsored by Cherry Hill Manor will be held on Thursday, May 30, at 12:30 p.m. Learn American Sign Language on Tuesdays beginning June 18, at 1 p.m. Everyone will learn the basics of American Sign Language in a relaxed setting. The class includes songs, games, props and more. Classes will meet for 10 weeks. Sign up at the reception desk. The Mancini Theater Club "Sketchy Behavior" is accepting new members. No acting experience is required. Sign up at the reception desk for the next session due to begin in June. A trip to the Newport Flower Show at Rosecliff Mansion will be held Friday, June 21, departing NPMC at 9:30 a.m. and returning at 4:30 p.m. The cost is $22 per per- son for admission to the show. For more information, call 401- 231-0742 or visit mancinicenter. com . Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor are welcome from readers. Please: • Limit to 500 words. Longer letters may appear online only. • Letters on local or state topics and issues will take precedence over those on national issues. • No more than one letter per person every 8 weeks, please. • All letters must be signed and include a hometown. Send by e-mail to:, or mail to The Valley Breeze, 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite 204, Lincoln, RI 02865. 2044 Smith St., North Providence, RI (401) 231-2370 fax (401) 232-9220 Tuxedo RenTal h e a d q u a R T e R s $ 40 Off with this ad! 14 Days Notice! • Largest selection of Tuxedo Styles • Largest selection of colors and shades of accessories • All stocked in one location locally • We honor competitor's coupons 1180 Smith Street Providence, RI 401-861-8830 Now accepting New Patients Footcare for the Entire Family Providing compassionate and quality care for the Community over the past 20 years! Saturday appointments available Dr. Louis Simeone, DPM

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