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." See attached 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.
3. 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 (distributed at the January Union meeting) 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 were distributed at the January 8 Union meeting for Fire Marshals, Marine Wipers, and Special Assignment.
4. TENTATIVE Retro & Pay Increase Date: March 6th
The N.Y. City Office of Labor Relations (OLR) previously notified the UFA that Reopener Holiday Retro pay was supposed to be in the January 9th paycheck for UFA members, as noted in the January Union Meeting President's Report. However, it has been confirmed that Holiday retro on January 9th was paid only for UFOA members – NOT for UFA members. The Holiday Retro date for UFA members has not yet been announced (NOTE: January 23 was your regular Holiday Paycheck). OLR announced that its 'TARGETED' implementation date for salary increases and retroactive pay will be your March 6 paycheck, for both 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, Night Shift, CFR-D, Chauffeur & all types of OT.
- Retro pay for all Base, Night Shift, CFR-D, Chauffeur & all types of OT.
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, 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.
5. 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. 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 #3 and Special ITHP Waiver / 50% Indicator 65-2 #1 were distributed to all Delegates at the January 8 Union Meeting.
8. Deferred Compensation Plan (457 & 401k) Enrollment & Adjustments-Feb. 3rd Deadline!
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 (distributed to all Delegates at the January Union meeting) or go to OLR at www.nyc.gov/html/olr/html/deferred/dcphome.shtml.
9. UFA Parking Placards: Only from Your Delegate!
Borough Trustees distributed the 2009 UFA Parking Placards, only to Delegates at the January 8 Union meeting. Fire Marshal parking placards are being 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 Special Parking Placard 65-2 #2 is posted in your FH.
10. 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 their Delegate. They should not contact the UFA.
12. 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.
13. 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!
14. 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 are being mailed this month to all LODI Families, and special Retired Firefighter placards to all retired members.
15. Delegate Education Seminar Dates
In accordance with the UFA Constitution, a seminar site was chosen by a majority vote of the Delegate body. The 2009 Delegate Seminar will be held May 19 through May 22 in Atlantic City at the Trump Taj Mahal. The May 2009 Union Meeting will also be held at the Taj Mahal during the seminar on Friday morning, May 22. Information packets with details will be mailed shortly.
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," was distributed at the January 8 Union Meeting. 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.
20. UFA 4th Annual MDA $1 per Member per Meal Drive
Sunday, January 25th thru Saturday, January 31st: the UFA will once again be asking members to participate in this fund raising effort, $1 per member per meal program, to help those afflicted with Muscular Dystrophy. Donations received from this go directly to those in our area including many of our own member's families. All donations can be sent to: MDA, New York City – 3201, 1140 Avenue of the Americas, #1801, New York, NY 10036.
21. 36th Annual FDNY Ski Races
On Tuesday, February 10th at Hunter Mountain, NY. The proceeds will be donated to the NY Firefighters Burn Center Foundation. In addition, there will be a plaque dedication honoring the memory of Lieutenants Robert Ryan, John Martinson and Firefighter Jamel Sears. Registration forms can be obtained online at www.huntermtn.com
22. King of the Ice Hockey Tournament
On Monday, February 23rd The King of the Ice Hockey Tournament is scheduled to begin. Applications are available online at www.fdnykingoftheice.com . Efforts will be made to accommodate all team entries; the first 96 teams will be guaranteed spots. Any questions regarding the tournament should be directed to Pat Cleary at 516-650-7719.
Stephen J. Cassidy
Joseph A. Miccio