Union Meeting's President's Report

Thursday, January 8, 2009
President's Report
for General Membership Meeting
JFK Ramada Inn, Queens, NY

Special Order of Business

  • Pick Up At Your Trustee Table Today
  • Pay Raise Charts
  • UFA Parking Placards (Delegates must sign for Placards)
  • Special Parking Placard 65-2 #2
  • Special ITHP Waiver / 50% Indicator 65-2 #1
  • Special Deferred Compensation Plan 65-2 #3
  • 2009 Social Security Booklet
  • Security Benefits Fund (SBF) Help Table Today
    Members who require help regarding dental, prescription drugs, optical or any other benefits provided via the UFA SBF should visit the SBF table today. SBF personnel are there to help you.

Today's Agenda

1. District Attorney's Investigation Regarding FDNY Failures at Deutsche Bank
The UFA held a press conference to speak out about the results of the Manhattan District Attorney's investigation into the fatal Deutsche Bank fire, which claimed the lives of Firefighters Joseph Graffagnino and Robert Beddia and nearly killed another 50 who were forced to jump onto a scaffold hundreds of feet above Manhattan streets. Steve Cassidy stated, "The DA's report acknowledges what the UFA has maintained since the tragic August 18, 2007 fire. The top leadership of the FDNY failed in their responsibility to properly inspect and supervise the deconstruction and abatement of the Deutsche Bank Building. Despite numerous reports sent up to the top level of the Department, no inspection or fire plan was formulated which would have prevented this tragedy." Click here for the NY Post Editorial by Steve Cassidy. You can read the entire report by clicking the link on the UFA website home page.

2. City Budget Cuts
The UFA mailed a letter to each member's residence before Christmas which included info regarding serious budget cuts for the FDNY. The UFA will need the support of all members in the coming months, as we will do everything possible to support grass roots efforts in all communities to fight any reductions in fire services, including firehouse closings. See attached letter.

3. Firehouse Night Closings
The UFA released the following Press Release on Thursday, December 4th: "According to the Fire Department's own data, in the last four years New York City Firefighters have responded to the most emergency calls in the history of the FDNY, and the trend continues to increase. In this post 9-11 world the FDNY's expanded responsibilities to protect New Yorkers can not be accomplished by service reductions. More fatalities happen at night than any other time of the day. Closing companies compromises public safety and threatens civilian and firefighter lives."

Since the Department announced its plan to close companies at night, the UFA has reached out to all major New York media with this message in an effort to inform the public and elected officials regarding the adverse impact on public safety created by the night time closures of Engine 4, Engine 161, Engine 271 and Ladder 53. We have notified all affected elected officials and community boards regarding the dangers created by the closings, and will work together with them to halt this misguided and potentially life threatening policy.

4. DRAFT Pay Raise Charts
Your March 6th paychecks are expected to reflect the new August 1, 2008 and Reopener salary increases and retro. DRAFT pay charts (at your Trustee Table today) were prepared by FDNY Payroll (the Office of Payroll Administration will release verified pay charts at a later date) for all grades reflecting the 4% salary scale increases effective August 1, 2008, and the 3.5% Reopener salary increases. Footnotes and header notes on most pages contain important data and formulas that will help you understand the charts. The 'Formulas Used' footnotes were inserted by the UFA.

  • Pages 1 thru 8: all FF grades hired prior to January 17, 2006
  • Pages 9 thru 15: all FF grades hired between January 17, 2006 and March 31, 2007
  • Pages 16 thru 21: all FF grades hired on or after April 1, 2007

Additional Charts

  • Fire Marshal: see Fire Marshal Rep, Lester Layne
  • Marine Wiper: are at the Recording Secretary's Table today
  • Special Assignment: are at the Recording Secretary's Table today

5. TENTATIVE Retro & Pay Increase Date: March 6th
The N.Y. City Office of Labor Relations (OLR) has notified the UFA that its 'TARGETED' implementation date for salary increases and retroactive pay will be your March 6 paycheck, for both the Reopener and the August 1, 2008 increases. However, OLR has not yet confirmed this date. It is expected to include:

  • Pay rate increase for Base, Longevity, Night Shift, CFR-D, Chauffeur & all types of OT.
  • Retro pay for all Base, Longevity, Night Shift, CFR-D, Chauffeur & all types of OT.
  • Reopener Holiday Pay retro pay will be in the January 9th paycheck. (January 21 is your regular Holiday Paycheck)

Each member's retro money will differ depending upon appointment date. Each member's CFR-D, RSOT & Chauffeur retro will vary depending on the number of tours worked and appointment date. Retro pay for all Base, Longevity, Night Shift & all types of OT can be calculated by subtracting amounts you were actually paid from the amounts you should have been paid in accordance with the salaries listed on the draft salary charts.

6. Is My Retro $$ Taxable?
Yes - it is taxable-in the same tax year that you receive your retro payment (2009). This is based on IRS, State and City laws and guidelines. The UFA cannot give members tax advice because each member's financial circumstance is unique. It is recommended that you contact a tax adviser and/or financial planner. Members should keep in mind that there are various FDNY direct payroll deduction plans available to all members which can defer or shelter a portion of your income from what would otherwise be taxed at the full rate.

7. UFA Contract Vote Results
97% voted in favor (7,043) and 3% voted against (242). The vote breakdown by borough is as follows:

Brooklyn
Yes: 2,049
No: 50

Queens
Yes: 1,660
No: 76

Manhattan
Yes: 1,564
No: 88

Bronx
Yes: 1,214
No: 25

Staten Island
Yes: 556
No: 3

Total
Yes: 7,043
No: 242

'Who Voted' Rosters will be mailed to each company, for posting, shortly. Thank you for taking part in this important process!

8. 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. See Special Deferred Compensation Plan 65-2 #3 and Special ITHP Waiver / 50% Indicator 65-2 #1, at your Trustee table today.

9. Deferred Compensation Plan (457 & 401k) Enrollment & Adjustments
Deferred Compensation Plan salary deduction selections or adjustments must be made by February 3 to impact the 'tentative' March 6 retro paycheck (See attached chart from Deferred Comp). NOTE: New enrollees cannot select 'Single Payroll' deferral as their first deduction. As previously published on December 11 in 65-2 #93, members who are already enrolled in the Deferred Comp Plan must use their PIN # to adjust their Deferred Compensation (457 & 401k) contributions. Call client services at 212-306-7760 if you do not have a PIN. It will take up to 7 days for it to arrive in the mail. Once you have your PIN, you will be able to adjust your plan instantly over the telephone or via the web. You can put up to 50% of each check into your (457). If you also have a 401k, you can put a combined total of 70% of your paycheck into it. Total contributions for 2009 cannot exceed $16,500 ($22,000 if over 50 years old) for the year for each of the 457 and 401k plans. Therefore, the combined total 457 and 401k contributions cannot exceed $33,000 for 2009. 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 Deferred Comp and 401k programs, see Special Deferred Compensation Plan 65-2 #3 (at your Trustee table today) or go to OLR at www.nyc.gov/html/olr/html/deferred/dcphome.shtml

10. UFA Parking Placards: Only from Your Delegate!
Borough Trustees are distributing the 2009 UFA Parking Placards, only to Delegates. Fire Marshal parking placards will be distributed at BFI commands by Fire Marshal Representative Lester Layne. The ONLY way to get a Placard is through your Company Delegate - as the Placard Permit numbers have been accounted for that way. Detailed members must contact their permanent assignment's Company Delegate. Battalion Aides should contact the Company Delegate in their house. Delegates must contact their Borough Trustee if additional placards are needed. Delegates should return their company roster with each member's placard permit # listed to the UFA Recording Secretary's office at 212-683-4359 (or 212-683-0710 if busy), or by mail with the enclosed envelope. If a placard is lost or stolen, insure the member files a complaint report with the PD. This is required before being issued a replacement. Any use by unauthorized persons can now be traced back to the original person it was issued to for firehouse and/or law enforcement verification. Please insure you post Special Parking Placard 65-2 #2 (at your Trustee table today) in your FH.

11. Detailed Member Placards
11. Detailed Member Placards Delegates should call members of your company who are 'detailed' to other locations to inform them that only their permanently assigned company has their placards, as detailed members are accounted for that way in the UFA system. They should pick placards up from you. They should not contact the UFA.

12. Fire Marshal Parking Placards
2009 Fire Marshal parking placards, which indicate Police Officer status, are being distributed at BFI commands by Fire Marshal Representative Lester Layne.

13. New Security Features Added to Back of Parking Placards
The reverse side of each parking placard now has spaces provided for the assigned member's name, unit, company address and vehicle license plate number. Before Delegates distribute placards to the members on your company roster, please insure you enter the member's name and unit number on the back of each placard. Members receiving placards are required to enter their vehicle license plate number in order for it to be valid.

14. Missing UFA Parking Placards: Police Reports
Any parking placard permit numbers that are reported missing will be reported to the police on a Complaint Report. Any unauthorized person caught in possession can be arrested and investigated as to how they obtained the placard(s). Persons involved with illegally supplying Parking Placards to others WILL be prosecuted by the UFA to the fullest extent of the law. Non-firefighter use of UFA placards in the past has caused legitimate concerns among law enforcement and traffic agents in respecting firefighter vehicle parking privileges near quarters. Non-firefighters with UFA Placards have been arrested for impersonating a firefighter. Security features were added to insure OUR vehicles are afforded every legal courtesy - not anyone else!

15. Retiree and LODI Family Placards
Once again, as a special courtesy to the families of our Line-of-Duty Death members and retired members, 2009 Survivor of the Shield courtesy placards will be mailed later this month to all LODI Families, and special Retired Firefighter placards to all retired members.

16. Uniform Maintenance Non-Taxability Affidavit
It is extremely important that each member file the form with their Officer. Per Dept Orders, "failure to properly complete and file an affidavit may result in the issuance of a corrected W-2 form that includes the Uniform Cleaning Allowance as taxable earnings." Affidavits and instructions may also be obtained by accessing the Department's Intranet. Audits will be conducted to ensure that affidavits are being completed and filed. See your Officer if you have any questions regarding this issue.

17. Vacation Carry-Over
Per Dept Orders, members whose 2007 vacation extends past December 31, 2008, must forward Form BP-606 to the Bureau of Personnel in order to carry-over this time into 2009.

18. RSOT Carry-Over
Per DO #1 of 2009, "Company, Battalion, and Division Commanders shall ensure that all requests for RSOT carryovers from 2008 are prepared and forwarded by January 31, 2009. All requests for carryovers must include the specific reason for each carryover and fully comply with PAID 1-90 section 15.2."

19. 2009 Social Security Booklet
The UFA's new 14 page booklet, "What Every Employee Needs to Know," is being distributed today at your Trustee Table - ONLY ONE per Delegate please. Keep this in the inside cover pocket of the Delegate Manual. It contains info about Social Security Funds, Retirement Benefits, Disability Benefits, Survivors' Benefits, Medicare, Request for SS Statement and other benefit info. Members should contact their Delegate to review the booklet if they have any Social Security questions.

Fraternally,

Stephen J. Cassidy,
President