1. Formation of Police & Fire Public Safety Alliance Press Conference - Bloomberg/Media Lies & Attacks on Fire-Police Pensions
On February 9, the UFA and PBA held a joint press conference on the steps of City Hall to announce the creation of a Fire & Police Public Safety Alliance. In addition, Steve Cassidy and Pat Lynch, PBA President, appeared on Inside City Hall the night of February 8. The purpose was to combat the outright lies and misinformation campaign by Mayor Bloomberg designed to influence the public and elected officials about police and fire pensions and the Variable Supplement Fund. The Mayor proposed to take away the VSF and reduce pension benefits of all Firefighters and Police Officers. The Public Safety Alliance is designed to use all our resources to educate our elected officials and the media regarding the history of the VSF, and what the Fire and Police Unions gave up in exchange for them. Video of the press conference and the NY 1 Inside City Hall appearance is posted on the Homepage. This issue was discussed at the February 10 Union Meeting. See your Delegate for an update.
2. UCT Hearing at City Hall February 1st
A hearing led by Fire and Criminal Justice Chair Elizabeth Crowley regarding all the problems with the controversial Unified Call-Taker system was held at City Hall on February 1. Steve Cassidy testified that not only has UCT caused delays and dangerous mistakes, but the plan deliberately misleads the public by not counting the call taker time, which the Bloomberg administration uses to justify cuts to the FDNY. This issue was discussed at the February 10 Union Meeting. See your Delegate for an update.
3. 'Blaze Fighter' Glove Problems
The UFA has had a series of meetings and communications with the Chief of Safety and Chief of Department since hand burn injuries, while wearing Blaze Firefighter gloves, were first reported in November. The Dept announced on Supplement #6 to Dept Order #8 it has found that the Blaze Fighter glove, which is currently used by many field units, is not in compliance with safety standards set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). See 65-2 #14, Dept. Order #8 sup no. 6, and Pass It On Bulletin 2/2011.
4. Deutsche Bank Trial
It is currently estimated that jury selection in the Deutsche Bank criminal case will begin in late March 2011, with the actual trial commencing 2 to 3 weeks thereafter. The defendants are John Galt Corp and three individuals who were responsible for maintaining the integrity of the fire suppression systems at the Deutsche Bank. The UFA will inform the members when the trial is to actually begin.
5. Safe Response
Health & Safety Officer/Sergeant-at-Arms Bill Romaka reminds the membership of the importance of a safe and efficient response and to follow all safe response protocols issued by the Dept. These include, but are not limited to, FDNY Regulations Chapter 11 and FDNY Safety Bulletins #6, #9, #10, #27 (Winter Driving Tips), and #71. As recommended in Safety Bulletin #27, chauffeurs need to pay attention to the varying weather conditions they are responding in and adjust their responses accordingly. Additionally, recent changes in response protocols in Queens should give members added incentive to make certain they are responding in the safest possible manner!
6. Infectious Disease Exposures
UFA President Steve Cassidy and Health & Safety Officer Bill Romaka both have had discussions with Dr. Kelly at BHS. We let the Department know that we believe the current policy needs improvement and we would make recommendations at the next Labor Management meeting. Unfortunately, the Department cancelled our scheduled February 3rd Labor Management Meeting and it has been rescheduled for March 9th. We will update the membership next month following the Labor Management Meeting. All members should make certain to always wear proper PPE, to obtain as much correct patient information as possible and to fax the MD-X form to Infectious Disease Control Administrator Alpheaus Vaughn at 718-999-0173 at your earliest convenience.
7. Regular Chauffeur Seat Ruling: UFA to File Appeal
The UFA was notified by the Board of Collective Bargaining on January 14, 2011 of its decision regarding the UFA's Improper Practice against the Department's implementation on October 15, 2009 of its new selection policy for the regularly seated chauffeur. As a result, the regularly seated unit chauffeur selection may now be made based on wholly subjective or arbitrary criteria. However, the 7-page dissenting opinion by BCB Panel Member Charles G. Moerdler, which was published as part of the BCB decision document, is strongly worded and compelling. It notes, "I dissent because in material respects the majority opinion is fundamentally flawed and cannot stand as a matter of law. Indeed, cases that the majority itself cites squarely negate its holding." The UFA filed its appeal last week.
8. 2010 W-2: Verifying Annual LODI Tax Deductions
Current IRS regulations provide favorable tax treatment of your wages during the approved period of Line-of-Duty Injury (LODI). Wages will be treated on a pre-tax basis. The Dept computes your LODI medical leave days automatically and deducts the dollar amount from your taxable income as per prior UFA contractual agreement. To verify your proper deductions, see the Salary Chart package, distributed at the February 10 Union Meeting, and refer to the chart that applies to your grade and dates that you were out on LODI. The 'Daily Rates' are circled in the last column on each page. See Special 2010 Tax Year Issue 65-2 # 16 of 2011, distributed to all Delegates at the February 10 Union Meeting, which includes additional info regarding the per deim salary rate charts that will allow you to verify the Dept's calculations. It also includes much more info regarding your paycheck deductions and tax calculations.
9. Duplicate W-2 & 1127 Forms Available Through NYCAPS
W-2 and 1127 forms are available through NYCAPS Employee Self Service, www.nyc.gov/ESS. To obtain a duplicate W-2 or 1127 form through the NYCAPS Employee self service, follow these simple steps.
If an Employee Self Service password reset is required, please contact the NYCAPS helpdesk at 212-487-0500.
10. Tax Deferral Options
Deferred Compensation (457 & 401k) enrollment and ITHP, allow for direct deductions from your paycheck. As a result of the contributions made your taxes are reduced, and earnings will accumulate tax-deferred. Copies of Special Deferred Compensation Plan 65-2 # 17 and Special ITHP Waiver / 50% Indicator 65-2 # 15 were distributed at the February 10 Union Meeting.
11. Deferred Comp Plan (457 & 401k) Enrollment & Adjustments
The City of New York Deferred Compensation Plan (DCP) is comprised of a pre-tax 457 Plan, a pre-tax 401(k) Plan and a post-tax Roth 401(k) Plan. DCP is a supplemental savings plan to your FD pension and Social Security. To join DCP you must first enroll and get a PIN # by calling Client Services at 212-306-7760. It will take up to 7 days for your PIN number to arrive in the mail. To adjust (or initially select) your DCP contributions, which can be done easily over the phone or via web, you'll need to use your PIN #. Contact the Client Service Department at 212-306-7760 if you have any questions. NOTE: New enrollees cannot select 'Single Payroll' deferral as their first deduction. You can put up to 50% of each check into your (457). If you also have a 401(k), you can put a combined total of 70% of your paycheck into it. Total contributions cannot exceed $16,500 ($22,000 if over 50 years old) for the year for each of the 457 and 401(k) plans. Therefore, the combined total 457 and 401(k) contributions cannot exceed $33,000 ($44,000 if over 50 years old). There are also 'Catch-up' provisions that enable you to double your annual contributions for three consecutive years if you are approaching retirement eligibility. For detailed info about DCP programs, see Special Deferred Compensation Plan 65-2 # 17, which was distributed at the February Union Meeting, or go to OLR at OLR Online.
Stephen J. Cassidy
Joseph A. Miccio