New Rochelle Firefighter Layoffs Today; City Council May Vote on LeCount Place MOU Extension on 12/21

Written By: Robert Cox

The word has been going around that six firefighters are being fired today. So far I have nothing official so if someone has details please post them here in the comments.

New Rochelle City Manager Chuck Strome said today on WVOX that the City Council may vote on the LeCount Place MOU Extension on December 21st. The vote would not be called unless Chuck and Mayor Bramson believed they had the votes to pass the extension.

So, it looks like Christmas presents for Capelli and lumps of coal for the New Rochelle Fire Department.

UPDATE: Byron Gray, President of Local 273, the firefighter’s union, has confirmed that pink slips did go out today. The reason they went out today is that by law the City must give 2 weeks notice of layoffs and the City wanted to cut six positions by the end of the calendar year.

Gray is unhappy, telling Talk of the Sound “they took our negotiated raises out of the budget to bring the tax rate down and put the decision on us.” The rank and file will have to vote on whether to agree to some sort of raise deferral or a headcount reduction. The dilemma for the firefighters union is that there is no guarantee that there will be no layoffs if they agree to defer their raises.

Over the next two weeks, Grey says he will continue to negotiate with Chuck Strome on a deferral proposal. Meanwhile, the union will meet to consider their options and, at some point, Strome will have to go back to the City Council if some compromise can be reached.

UPDATE: 3 Community Support Officers, members of local 663, also received pink slips today. Unlike Local 273, the 3 job cuts were NOT done by seniority but rather were targeted at a specific job type. It was not immediately clear why one group of layoffs was done by seniority and another done by job type.

6 thoughts on “New Rochelle Firefighter Layoffs Today; City Council May Vote on LeCount Place MOU Extension on 12/21”

  1. Greentree Owes City $175,000
    NOTE: I posted this comment on a post regarding school taxes but cross-post it here because it also bears on the City Budget issues.


    After the board meeting a couple weeks ago, out in the parking lot, board member David Lacher said in front of quite a few people that my story about the tax certs was “wrong” and that he was not worried about the Greentree Country Club owing half a million in taxes because the City made the school district whole for their share of that money (about $325,000). This in response to a point I had made that before they spend a dime on hiring these “tax cert” lawyers they might want to take steps to collect the money owed by Chuck Strome’s country club.

    I told him that if I was wrong I would certainly want to know why and would happily correct any errors in my story just so that the residents of New Rochelle had a full understanding of what was going on.

    So, I did check and I do have some new information about the idea of hiring tax cert lawyers. Not that I was necessarily wrong but that the school board is not currently planning to do what I had reported. It may be that I was wrong or it may be that after my story ran the board changed their tune. Since they never published an RFP for hiring the tax cert lawyers we will never know. In either case, if I get the OK to publish what I was told I will do so. In either case, I do not think the public should have to decipher the actions of the school board. The board are elected officials spending public funds and should PROACTIVELY inform the community of EVERYTHING they are doing accepting those things covered under the NYS Open Meeting Law.

    However, on the issue of the Greentree, Mr. Lacher acknowledged Tuesday night after the board meeting that he was wrong about the City making the district whole on the $325,000 owed by the Greentree. John Quinn, the district finance chief, referenced this during remarks to the board about the district’s dire financial condition. Quinn said that the City makes the district whole for unpaid taxes that are more than 2 years old. The $500,000 figure we published is all for taxes that are less than 2 years old.

    After the meeting I asked Mr. Lacher, who also serves on the IDA, if he had heard Mr. Quinn say that the City did not make the District whole on unpaid taxes less than two years old. He said he had heard that. I then asked whether he now understood that what I had written previously about the district being out the money from the Greentree was correct. He said he agreed that I was correct. I asked him if he recalled that he said he was not worried about the Greentree money because the district was being made whole. He said he did recall that. I then asked whether, now that he knows the district is not being made whole whether he was now worried. He said “Yes, I’m worried”.
    I could not resist asking whether he thought that the Greentree was getting special treatment because it was Chuck Strome’s country club. He declined to give an answer.

    I already know Chuck’s explanation for the free ride he has been giving to his club, that they have filed a tax cert and the City is awaiting the outcome. This is, of course, nonsense because the City routinely collects money and then REFUNDS the money if necessary. Also, whatever the outcome of the Greentree’s tax cert appeal, no one believes that the court is going to rule they owe NO TAXES. If Chuck believes that the City is going to lose the appeal he should just settle the case. If he is just being cautious he could just collect the money and then set it aside. The City and District are BORROWING MONEY to fund this outstanding tax liability. Shouldn’t this be the other way around?
    I would love to hear someone in the City government explain why the taxpayers should be on the hook for what amounts to a half-million dollar loan to the City Manager’s country club. The City is entitled to $175,000 of that Greentree money which represents about 22% of the $800,000 cut from the City budget last week. Now I am sure there is all sorts of financial mumbo-jumbo that City officials can spew to cloud the issue but the simple fact is that the biggest debtor to the City and the School District just happens to be the City Manager’s personal club.

    If Chuck Strome is not going to move to collect the half-mil then the least he can do is resign his membership from the Greentree because right now this whole thing stinks.

  2. What’s Up???
    It is my understanding that the administration decided who was cut from local 663 based on which positions would have the least impact on services. But the fact that 3 Community Service Officers were cut is questionable. It is a recipe for disaster for next year’s budget in that these 3 positions are revenue producing positions so cutting these positions/employees guarantees more layoffs next year. Something is afoot; it appears the basic policy of cutting based on seniority has been abandoned. It is also my understanding that the CSEA re-assigned someone as opposed to a layoff. Can anyone shed some light on this???

    Anthony Galletta

  3. So, am I hearing this right?
    So, am I hearing this right? City Council has mismanaged the City’s money and now has to lay off fire fighters to save it’s own ass? BUT the City Council wants the FIREMAN to VOTE on whether to take a raise deferrel or lose their OWN GUYS? Why doesn’t the City Council vote out of office who got us into this mess in the first place. Let them get rid of their own and let them decide who!

    1. Right On Mom!
      Hey Mom you’re right on. I hear that there was upwards of 500 supporters at Mayor Bramson’s 40th birthday bash. If we took all the political contributions made to Bramson from the shills at the bash and amended the budget there would be no layoffs. There would probably be a surplus big enough to get us through this crisis. Talk about fiddling while the City burns. It sends the message Let Them Eat Cake!

      Anthony Galletta

    2. How about we just get rid of
      How about we just get rid of the fire boss, thereby saving 3 firefighter positions?

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