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Tippys Goldfish

Bridgeport, CT

#1 May 13, 2012
STRATFORD -- When former Assistant Fire Chief Thomas S. Murray retired in February, he stood to earn the second- highest annual pension in town history --$122,850.

That's nearly 36 percent higher than the $90,598 base salary he was earning before he retired from the Stratford Fire Department after 25 years of service.

The town already is paying Murray's wife, former Assistant Fire Chief Ellen Murray, an annual pension of $92,050 -- about 5 percent higher than the $87,959 salary she earned before retiring on June 14, 2010.

Ellen Murray, 51, is now deputy fire chief in Naugatuck, a post that comes with an annual salary of $68,000.

That pensions can be higher than base salaries reflects the fact that overtime pay for Stratford firefighters -- as in some other municipalities --are added to salaries when calculating retirement benefits.

But Thomas Murray, 48, is disputing the town's calculation. He's arguing that he's entitled to more.

Daniel Hunsberger, a Ridgefield-based attorney representing Thomas Murray in the pension dispute, said he and his client are contesting the workers compensation component of the town's calculation.

The town is back-pedaling on a signed agreement concerning Murray's workers compensation, and thereby short-changing him on his pension, Hunsberger said.

"In the workers compensation claim,(the town) drafted a voluntary agreement," Hunsberger said. "Tom agreed to that voluntary agreement and the town is now reneging on that agreement. It was their draft. We agreed to it. And now we're saying,`You've got to live up to the agreement you've reached.' "

Hunsberger declined to state the details of the agreement. He would not divulge the amount he is arguing Murray is entitled to. But he said Murray has not received any pension payouts since his retirement.

Human Resources Director Ron Ing said the town attorney is working with Murray and his lawyer to resolve the issue.

Town Attorney Tim Bishop said the town stands by its calculation.

"The agreement Mr. Murray's attorney refers to is between Mr. Murray and the town in connection with a workers compensation case," Bishop said in an email.

"The pension fund was not a party to the agreement or the proceedings, so it has absolutely no effect on the arbitration award or Mr. Murray's pension benefits."

Bill Hansen, president of the Stratford Fire Union, declined to comment on the situation while contract negotiations between the town and firefighters union are under way.

The town last week offered to begin paying Murray monthly installments of the part of his pension that is not in dispute. But Murray declined payment until the issue concerning his workers compensation figure is settled.

"He's afraid that by accepting anything less than full value, the town would say,`OK, well, you accepted less, so now you're stuck with less,' " Hunsberger said.

Stratford's top-earning pensioner is Mark DeLieto, a former police captain who left the department in 2008 after 27 years on the force. DeLieto was 54 when he retired with a $134,525 pension -- nearly 160 percent of his former salary.

Among the 71 town employees who retired between 2006 and January 2011 and for whom human resources officials provided data, more than half are earning more or nearly the same amount of money in retirement than they did from their former base pay. Pensions exceed former salaries for 74 percent of the top-earning pensioners in this camp.

Read more: http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Retired-a...
not enough

AOL

#2 May 13, 2012
122,000 pension not enough?

Greed - Plain and simple.

Fire Union Prez won't comment.

A smart man, not sure I would either.

Fire Dept. is the only town department to still have 100% of their people in the unlimited overtime calculation.

Time to stop the madness Mayor Harkins. We'll see what you do about this.

They deserve a decent pension, but this nonsense is insane. Look around people unemployed, people underemployed and these guys are just grabbing and grabbing and apparently want more.

You have no sympathy for the taxpayers, I have little sympathy for a person who can't scrape by on a 122,000 pension.

Since: Jul 08

Stratford, CT

#3 May 14, 2012
There are plenty of factoids that didnít (and wonít) make it into this published story.

The first factoid is that there must be a scene commander on duty 24/7/365. In Stratford the scene commander is an Assistant Chief. Stratford has had the bare minimum of these for as long as anyone can remember. There are four. The math is simple: 168 hours in a week divided by 4 = 42 hours each per week.

The second factoid is that two Assistant Chiefs retired within 6 months of each other.(You might ask at this point if any effort at all was made to talk them out of it? Answer: no.) That left two Assistant Chiefs. If we remember the lesson from above: 168 hours in a week divided by 2 = 84 hours each per week. Throw in a hurricane or snowstorm as a variable and you get a LOT of hours.

The third factoid is that HR and the administration did absolutely nothing about this for almost a whole year.

Somehow the responsibility for all this overtime got left out of the article. Go figure.
http://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2012/05...
joe haligan

Bronx, NY

#4 May 14, 2012
Talk them out of retiring? And give up that fat pension? You ARE kidding, right? The only way they would stay was if they were allowed to lock in that bonanza THEN they would have been happy to stay! Everything else is on the money.
WTF

Bridgeport, CT

#5 May 14, 2012
Jezebel282 wrote:
There are plenty of factoids that didnít (and wonít) make it into this published story.
The first factoid is that there must be a scene commander on duty 24/7/365. In Stratford the scene commander is an Assistant Chief. Stratford has had the bare minimum of these for as long as anyone can remember. There are four. The math is simple: 168 hours in a week divided by 4 = 42 hours each per week.
The second factoid is that two Assistant Chiefs retired within 6 months of each other.(You might ask at this point if any effort at all was made to talk them out of it? Answer: no.) That left two Assistant Chiefs. If we remember the lesson from above: 168 hours in a week divided by 2 = 84 hours each per week. Throw in a hurricane or snowstorm as a variable and you get a LOT of hours.
The third factoid is that HR and the administration did absolutely nothing about this for almost a whole year.
Somehow the responsibility for all this overtime got left out of the article. Go figure.
http://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2012/05...
So when there were only 2 Asst Chiefs, if they both got sick would the FD just shut down?
It looks like the last group of Asst Chiefs got promoted together and then each dropped out one at a time and left the remaining ones to increase their pension with huge overtime. That math is simple too, the 1st pension $92K, the next $105K, the next $108k and now $122K and that's not enough, he wants more.$10k plus a month won't cut it.
Wasn't the Fire Union worried about burnout, couldn't they have appointed acting Asst Chiefs? Maybe the dept should phase out paid firefighters go to volunteer and use the savings to give more to the underpensioned $122K Asst Chief.
factoids

Bridgeport, CT

#6 May 14, 2012
Jezebel282 wrote:
There are plenty of factoids that didnít (and wonít) make it into this published story.
The first factoid is that there must be a scene commander on duty 24/7/365. In Stratford the scene commander is an Assistant Chief. Stratford has had the bare minimum of these for as long as anyone can remember. There are four. The math is simple: 168 hours in a week divided by 4 = 42 hours each per week.
The second factoid is that two Assistant Chiefs retired within 6 months of each other.(You might ask at this point if any effort at all was made to talk them out of it? Answer: no.) That left two Assistant Chiefs. If we remember the lesson from above: 168 hours in a week divided by 2 = 84 hours each per week. Throw in a hurricane or snowstorm as a variable and you get a LOT of hours.
The third factoid is that HR and the administration did absolutely nothing about this for almost a whole year.
Somehow the responsibility for all this overtime got left out of the article. Go figure.
http://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2012/05...
The forth factoid is that fire pensions include all overtime in their calculation still - while other unions have moved to plans which will cost the town less in the future.

The fifth factoid is Thomas Murray in the pension dispute, is contesting the workers compensation component of the town's calculation.

The sixth factoid - could be that a very large worker's compensation claim filed in a time frame close to the required 25 years of "service".

The seventh factoid - was the intent of past agreements to include overtime?- but not worker's comp cases?- which could balloon the pension another $60k per year?

In my opinion the biggest factoid - GREED.

$10,000.00 a month is not enough to live on?

Plus the other $92,050.00 in town pension already flowing to his household?

At least if he lived in town we could have gotten some back in taxes, but that's not the case.

I wonder if a volunteer fire department is good enough protection for where he lives?

Since: Jul 08

Stratford, CT

#7 May 14, 2012
WTF wrote:
<quoted text>
So when there were only 2 Asst Chiefs, if they both got sick would the FD just shut down?
It looks like the last group of Asst Chiefs got promoted together and then each dropped out one at a time and left the remaining ones to increase their pension with huge overtime. That math is simple too, the 1st pension $92K, the next $105K, the next $108k and now $122K and that's not enough, he wants more.$10k plus a month won't cut it.
Wasn't the Fire Union worried about burnout, couldn't they have appointed acting Asst Chiefs? Maybe the dept should phase out paid firefighters go to volunteer and use the savings to give more to the underpensioned $122K Asst Chief.
Well, you know, it's not like they can stand by construction zones and get time and a half for talking on a cell phone.

The POINT of my statement was that none of this was or is news. ALL of this was well known by the administration.

Just to be clear, I do not believe the practice of incorporating overtime into pension amounts should be a standard practice. However, when you sign a contract you are obligated to abide by the terms of the contract. That is the purpose of a contract and without that business in this country would cease.

The proper way to change a contract is to renegotiate the terms. It will not happen by whining or moaning.
facturd

Bridgeport, CT

#8 May 14, 2012
Jezebel282 wrote:
<quoted text>
Well, you know, it's not like they can stand by construction zones and get time and a half for talking on a cell phone.
The POINT of my statement was that none of this was or is news. ALL of this was well known by the administration.
Just to be clear, I do not believe the practice of incorporating overtime into pension amounts should be a standard practice. However, when you sign a contract you are obligated to abide by the terms of the contract. That is the purpose of a contract and without that business in this country would cease.
The proper way to change a contract is to renegotiate the terms. It will not happen by whining or moaning.
Jez sez ;

"Just to be clear, I do not believe the practice of incorporating overtime into pension amounts should be a standard practice"

Well Jez - how do you feel about trying to add large worker's comp settlements into the overtime and salary for calculating a pension?

It doesn't sit well with me.
remember Jim

Bridgeport, CT

#9 May 14, 2012
This must be a mistake on the calculations.

Just check the news article from November 2, 2007:

Fire Pension trimmed down
By: Tristram DeRoma, Bard Editor 11/02/2007

According to Stratford Mayor James Miron, the days when town employees retired on an annual pension that was on average, many tens of thousands of dollars above what their take-home pay was, are just about over.

The announcement came at a press conference held at town hall this Monday, where he said the Stratford firefighter's union (Local 998) was the last town agency to accept the town's new rules regarding the pension fund.

"One of my goals as Stratford's first mayor is to focus on enhancing labor relations, strengthening pro-management and taxpayers' positions and removing from labor contracts provisions that do not serve the town well," said Miron.

Under the new agreement, Stratford's firefighters, during their employment, will have to contribute more to their pensions, and will potentially draw smaller pensions than what the firefighters before them could.

read more at;

http://postroad.com/news/2007/20071102-stratf...

Since: Jul 08

Stratford, CT

#10 May 14, 2012
facturd wrote:
<quoted text>
Jez sez ;
"Just to be clear, I do not believe the practice of incorporating overtime into pension amounts should be a standard practice"
Well Jez - how do you feel about trying to add large worker's comp settlements into the overtime and salary for calculating a pension?
It doesn't sit well with me.
Actually, I have no opinion about that at all. I don't know about a workmen's comp settlement. I don't know what the settlement was or is. Nor do I have any idea about a dollar amount. No details were contained in Ms. Lyte's "investigative" piece.

Is the question about what compensation should be provided if an injury or illness develops due to the type and nature of work?
facturd

Bridgeport, CT

#11 May 14, 2012
Jezebel282 wrote:
<quoted text>
Actually, I have no opinion about that at all. I don't know about a workmen's comp settlement. I don't know what the settlement was or is. Nor do I have any idea about a dollar amount. No details were contained in Ms. Lyte's "investigative" piece.
Is the question about what compensation should be provided if an injury or illness develops due to the type and nature of work?
Jez sez;

"Actually, I have no opinion about that at all. I don't know about a workmen's comp settlement. I don't know what the settlement was or is. Nor do I have any idea about a dollar amount"'

Why not call Tom & ask him?

I would guess it is a substantial amount if he is refusing to take only $122,850.00 per year until it can be resolved.

Then maybe you will have an opinion to share and enlighten us as to how he is looking out for "the guys" and the town he loved to work in?

I would like to know what he feels entitled to if the paltry $122,850.00 per year is not enough.

But ignore the man hiding behind the curtain.
solved it

Bridgeport, CT

#12 May 14, 2012
Why not privatize the pension fund?

http://www.moneychimp.com/calculator/annuity_...

If the town makes a one time investment of $1.8 million a year into an annuity for Tom it will net him $123,366.08 a year at only a 6% return on investment - according to MoneyChimp.com

If the town pays out $122,850.00 for 30 years - it will be $3,685,500.00.

Looks like at least a 50% savings by going private
Trantolaw

Shelton, CT

#13 May 14, 2012
I have a better idea---bring back JIM!

Since: Jul 08

Stratford, CT

#14 May 15, 2012
facturd wrote:
<quoted text>
Jez sez;
"Actually, I have no opinion about that at all. I don't know about a workmen's comp settlement. I don't know what the settlement was or is. Nor do I have any idea about a dollar amount"'
Why not call Tom & ask him?
I would guess it is a substantial amount if he is refusing to take only $122,850.00 per year until it can be resolved.
Then maybe you will have an opinion to share and enlighten us as to how he is looking out for "the guys" and the town he loved to work in?
I would like to know what he feels entitled to if the paltry $122,850.00 per year is not enough.
But ignore the man hiding behind the curtain.
I am going to take a wild guess and suggest that if Chief Murray wanted to litigate this case somewhere other than the DOL or Civil Court he would have spoken to the CT Post's crack reporter. I further doubt Chief Murray has a problem with speaking out when necessary.

You can't be serious when you ask for examples of Chief Murray's dedication to his firefighters and citizens, can you?

On the other hand, it seems like this administration has no problem at all putting out their half of a story.
follow the money

Bridgeport, CT

#15 May 15, 2012
Jezebel282 wrote:
<quoted text>
I am going to take a wild guess and suggest that if Chief Murray wanted to litigate this case somewhere other than the DOL or Civil Court he would have spoken to the CT Post's crack reporter. I further doubt Chief Murray has a problem with speaking out when necessary.
You can't be serious when you ask for examples of Chief Murray's dedication to his firefighters and citizens, can you?
On the other hand, it seems like this administration has no problem at all putting out their half of a story.
Jes sez:

"You can't be serious when you ask for examples of Chief Murray's dedication to his firefighters and citizens, can you?"

So let's be serious and ask - why is $122,850.00 per year - plus medical benefits - not enough of a lifetime pension for such a dedicated guy?

And how many dollars has the Town paid him in worker's comp claims?

And does it seems a very big coincidence that his pension request came right after a big workers comp pay outs that he wants factored in with his overtime too?

Well for me - action speak louder than words - it's all about the money.

He is dedicated - dedicated to putting that guy Ben Franklin in his pocket.

Since: Jul 08

Stratford, CT

#16 May 15, 2012
follow the money wrote:
<quoted text>
Jes sez:
"You can't be serious when you ask for examples of Chief Murray's dedication to his firefighters and citizens, can you?"
So let's be serious and ask - why is $122,850.00 per year - plus medical benefits - not enough of a lifetime pension for such a dedicated guy?
And how many dollars has the Town paid him in worker's comp claims?
And does it seems a very big coincidence that his pension request came right after a big workers comp pay outs that he wants factored in with his overtime too?
Well for me - action speak louder than words - it's all about the money.
He is dedicated - dedicated to putting that guy Ben Franklin in his pocket.
Once again, I have no knowledge of any "big worker comp" pay out. Maybe you can share that information with us since you seem to know.
But I am not sure what your point is. Are you saying the Town is not contractually obligated? Perhaps the hours weren't worked? The Town didn't sign the contract?
Or are you just whining that the Town made such an expensive mistake and now the taxpayers have to bear the burden....again.
enlighten me

Bridgeport, CT

#17 May 15, 2012
Jezebel282 wrote:
<quoted text>
I am going to take a wild guess and suggest that if Chief Murray wanted to litigate this case somewhere other than the DOL or Civil Court he would have spoken to the CT Post's crack reporter. I further doubt Chief Murray has a problem with speaking out when necessary.
You can't be serious when you ask for examples of Chief Murray's dedication to his firefighters and citizens, can you?
On the other hand, it seems like this administration has no problem at all putting out their half of a story.
"You can't be serious when you ask for examples of Chief Murray's dedication to his firefighters and citizens, can you?"

Yes - forgive me for not knowing all his good deeds - I am serious.

What has he done for the towns people when he was not being paid?

For me - coming in for long overtime hours & doing his job that he is paid for is not dedication, it is the job he applied for and was paid for.

Working after getting an injury - but being paid a large workers compensation settlement - means you were compensated for your injury per agreement.

If he worked to improve salaries and benefits for the other firefighters - great for the union folks - but was it cost effective for the citizens?

If he was an unpaid volunteer and worked to better the town for it's citizens - I am unaware - so please enlighten me.
Mistake

Bridgeport, CT

#18 May 15, 2012
Jezebel282 wrote:
<quoted text>
Once again, I have no knowledge of any "big worker comp" pay out. Maybe you can share that information with us since you seem to know.
But I am not sure what your point is. Are you saying the Town is not contractually obligated? Perhaps the hours weren't worked? The Town didn't sign the contract?
Or are you just whining that the Town made such an expensive mistake and now the taxpayers have to bear the burden....again.
So if it is a expensive mistake like you say, then you are ok with taxpayers bearing the burden? Wouldn't that fall under the GOT ETHICS?

Like Seneca says

ďIt is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.Ē

Since: Jul 08

Stratford, CT

#19 May 15, 2012
I'm not sure which name to respond to but I will state that I know of many many many things Chief Murray has done for citizens on his own time and with his own money. I'm only allowed 4,000 characters, so I can't list them all.

When Town officials make the mistake, we are the ultimate guarantors. The officials are usually given raises.

And again, I do not know of ANY large "workers comp" award.(By the way, it is call "workman's compensation").
Tippys Goldfish

Seymour, CT

#20 May 15, 2012
Jezebel282 wrote:
I'm not sure which name to respond to but I will state that I know of many many many things Chief Murray has done for citizens on his own time and with his own money. I'm only allowed 4,000 characters, so I can't list them all.
When Town officials make the mistake, we are the ultimate guarantors. The officials are usually given raises.
And again, I do not know of ANY large "workers comp" award.(By the way, it is call "workman's compensation").
David, you do have 4000 characters, since you can't list them all, try listing some of them. I am very interested in activities that do not include the collection of overtime funds.

The Town needs Jim Miron back before we're all broke due to the current clown's sdministration.

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