Union Meeting's President's Report

Thursday, March 4, 2010
President's Report
for General Membership Meeting
JFK Ramada Inn, Queens, NY

Special Business

  • (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.
  • Delegate Education Seminar
    Registration at Recording Secretary/SBF Table Today
    You can submit your reservation forms and payment at the Recording Secretary/SBF Table today. Ask for Jimmy Dahl. See item #22 below, and the UFA Web site, for more Seminar info.

Today's Agenda

1. Next Union Meeting April 8th, JFK Holiday Inn
The next Union Meeting location has been scheduled here for Thursday, April 8th at the JFK Holiday Inn located at 144-02 135th Ave. Jamaica, NY 11436. Map. Please remind your members not to confuse this with the Holiday Inn Express.

2. Fire Marshal Representative Election Results
The American Arbitration Association ballot count was conducted on February 5 under the observation of the UFA Election Committee, which is comprised of one member from each borough and the UFA Recording Secretary. Congratulations to Rob McDevitt. Rob's term officially begins on May 1st, in accordance with the UFA Constitution.

3. Bronx FFs Homicide Ruling Overturned
In response to the ruling by Bronx Supreme Court Justice Margaret Clancy on February 23, which overturned the conviction for criminally negligent homicide in the deaths of Lt. Curtis Meyran and Firefighter John Bellew, Steve Cassidy released the following statement: "Today's unfortunate ruling means that no one will be held accountable for a fire in an illegally subdivided apartment that caused the death of two New York City Firefighters and seriously injured four others. There are thousands of illegally subdivided occupancies throughout the five boroughs. The justice system must find a way to enforce building laws that protect firefighters and hold those accountable who violate these laws." See attached letter from the UFA to the Bronx DA with strong recommendations that he appeal this decision.

4. Response Times
The New York Times reported in February, "Response times, according to Department data, were impressive." It also reported that the Fire Commissioner "is huddling with his staff chiefs to make (FH closing) choices based on several crucial points of data, including: the streets and neighborhoods where fire strikes most; how long it takes to respond to emergencies; and the proximity of fire companies..." Fire Commissioner Cassano also stated "Response times could creep up. A smaller number of firefighters might leave those remaining more physically taxed. Wear and tear on the Department's trucks and equipment could prove damaging."

5. City Budget Cuts
The MTA announced last week that it will lay off more than 600 employees represented by nine different unions in the next two months. Also facing layoff are about 527 other administrative employees who are not unionized. The State budget is due April 1. The City anticipates that it will receive less revenue from the state than previously expected. Until the state budget is resolved, it is hard to know how large the City budget deficit may be.

6. FDNY Closings
It has been reported that the FDNY is preparing to close at least 20 companies effective the new fiscal year, which begins July 31. Steve Cassidy, Jim Slevin and Board Members met with various elected officials to discuss strategy to minimize cuts to FDNY operations. The UFA will also be in attendance next Wednesday morning for the Fire Department Budget Hearing at City Hall. The UFA will work with the City Council, support the affected communities (a 45 day notice is required by the City before closings take place) and run an aggressive ad campaign that informs the public how they will be affected by firehouse closings.

7. FDNY Hiring Discrimination Lawsuit Update
The lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice against the City of New York, Mayor Bloomberg and former Fire Commissioner Scoppetta has now reached the initial remedy phase. Judge Garaufis of the Federal Court in Brooklyn has already ruled that Entrance Examinations 7029 and 2043 had a discriminatory impact upon black and hispanic candidates. It is anticipated that the City will appeal Judge Garaufis' rulings, but cannot do so until the remedy phase is complete. Accordingly, this litigation will continue on for a considerable amount of time.

8. James Zadroga Bill Update
The UFA, along with NYS AFL-CIO President Dennis Hughes met with the entire NYS congressional delegation in Washington, DC on February 25. Key strategies were discussed at that meeting and the delegation headed by Chairman Charles Rangel agreed that passing the Zadroga Bill was a top priority. Whip assignments were handed out to all members of the delegation and there will likely be a key Committee vote in mid March. The IAFF is fully supportive of the UFA's efforts to pass the Zadroga Bill. This will be a top priority at the IAFF legislative conference on March 14th through March 18th.

9. NYS Legislative Reference Guide Issued Today
Pick up a copy today of the 2010 NYS Legislative Reference Guide at your Trustee table. One is available for each Delegate for placing in the inside cover pocket of the Delegate Manual. It includes district and contact info for all elected NYS members of US Congress, NYS Senate, NYS Assembly and Committees, as well as other important info. UFA Legislative Chairman Jim Slevin encourages each company to keep handy the contact info of the State Assemblypersons, State Senators and US Congress Representatives who are elected in your firehouse districts.

10. 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. Previous UFA Safety Messages that highlight and emphasize a safe response should also be reviewed!

11. Free Blood Pressure Readings
The UFA Health and Safety Office wishes to remind our members that when visiting the Randall's Island Training Facility there is free confidential automated Blood Pressure machine available through an agreement with Novartis and their "Stop-Drop Control Blood Pressure Program." Please contact the UFA Health and Safety Office if you have any questions or concerns!

12. Daylight Savings Time
On Sunday, March 14, 2010, at 0200 hours, clocks will be advanced one hour, thereby changing the Department clocks to Daylight Saving Time. Upcoming Dept Orders will articulate TPR policy for members whose work hours will span the time change from Eastern Standard Time (EST) to Daylight Saving Time (DST).

13. Insure You Are Receiving UFA Emails
Members should be aware that in order to receive e-mail from the UFA, your e-mail account options or preferences should be set so that important UFA notices are not inadvertently sorted into your spam folder. The UFA's e-mail broadcast address is ufa@ufanyc.org. Adding this address to your e-mail account's address book may help prevent UFA notifications from ending up in your spam folder.

14. UFA Delegate ID Card Photos at April Union Meeting
The UFA will be taking photos at the April 8th Union Meeting of Delegates who have not yet had their photos taken for UFA Delegate ID Cards. The purpose is to provide each Delegate and Battalion Delegate with official identification to present when conducting official Union business.

15. Return Your Company Roster Info Forms!
The return date has passed and we have received only 71 out of the 360 forms that were distributed. Delegates who have still not returned the form are asked to return it as soon as possible with each member's cell #, email address and chauffeur certification level. Your information will be used by the UFA for important notifications. Fax to Joseph Miccio, Recording Secretary at 212-683-4359.

16. Return Your Parking Placard # List to UFA
If you have not done so already, Delegates must record placard number assignments, then fax (or mail) the provided company placard roster list to the Recording Secretary's office, ATTN Joseph Miccio at 212-683-4359 (or 212-683-0710 if the first line busy). Enter the placard permit #s given to each member, and company roster changes. Delegates should keep a copy for their records.

17. Fees for Duplicate Payroll Records Eliminated
Per Dept Order #14, "the City NO longer charges $55 as a check replacement charge. The City will soon provide further information on how the check replacement charges already taken will be refunded to individuals. Fees for duplicate check stubs, W2's and 1127 statements still apply. Check stub information cannot be reproduced by Uniformed Payroll and can only be procured at a charge of $22 for each request. There is a $5 fee for a request of a W2 or 1127 statement prior to the last three tax years. To avoid these fees, copies of pay stubs, W2's and 1127 statements can be obtained through the employee self service www.nyc.gov/ess."

18. 2010 Social Security & Medicare Booklet
The UFA's 16 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 Parts A, B, C & D, Request for SS Statement and other benefit info. Members should contact their Delegate to review the booklet if they have any Social Security questions.

19. 2009 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 to all Delegates at the February 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 2009 Tax Year Issue 65-2 #8 of 2010, 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.

20. 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 #7 and Special ITHP Waiver / 50% Indicator 65-2 #6 were distributed to all Delegates at the February Union Meeting.

21. 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 #7 or go to OLR at www.nyc.gov/html/olr/html/deferred/dcphome.shtml.

22. Delegate Education Seminar Registration Packages Mailed Last week
Registration packages were mailed last week to all Delegate residences. Seminar registration and hotel room reservations must be made by check only, payable to the 'UFA' (phone registration cannot be accepted), along with the proper form. It must be received at the UFA by March 31 to receive your discounted rate. After the deadline you'll need to make your room reservation by credit card directly with the hotel at the full-price per-night rate-if rooms are still available. If this is your first Delegate Educational Seminar, you can familiarize yourself by reviewing last year's agenda and program activity book on the UFA website HERE. You can also check out the latest notices for this year's Seminar. Location/Dates: Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, Tuesday, May 11, 2009 thru Friday, May 14, 2009. (These dates are noted on your 2010 UFA Workchart Calendar)

23. Random Drug Testing Quarterly Reports
The FDNY reports that the following units were tested randomly between 10/01/09 and 12/31/09. A total of 78 Units were tested within this period: 33 Engines, 27 Ladders, 10 Battalions, 2 Divisions, 2 Rescue Units, 2 Marine Units, and 2 Squad Companies. Nine Fire Marshals were also tested within this period. Reports listing each company tested and individual dates are attached. They are sorted by both company and chronologically.

Fraternally,

Stephen J. Cassidy,
President