The town has spent $451,000 in legal fees related to the firefighter union since July 2011, according to a memo released Monday by Town Manager Mike Embury.
According to the memo, in fiscal year 2012 (July 2011 through June 2012), the town was billed a total of $155,641 for firefighter union-related legal fees. In FY 2013, the town was billed $200,928 for NKFF legal fees. So far in FY 2014 (which began July 1, 2013), the town has been billed $93,694 for NKFF legal fees.
In January 2012, the North Kingstown Town Council passed an ordinance mandating 24-hour shifts for the town's firefighters, increasing the work week from 42 to 56 hours, eliminating one platoon and decreasing firefighters' hourly wages. That ordinance was implemented in March 2012 and, since then, the town and fire union (Local 1651) have been embroiled in a series of court battles.
The town has said moving to the 24-hour shift schedule would save as much as $1.2 million in the first year and $900,000 in year two. Actual savings have not yet been made available.
Here's the breakdown of the bills:
Fiscal Year 2012
Unfair Labor Practice $564.25
Shift Implementation – Declaratory Judgment $79,112.04
General Arbitration $2,571.50
FY 2010 Contract Arbitration $12,008.40
FY 2011 Contract Arbitration $32,068.59
FY 2012 Contract Arbitration $14,960.65
FY 2013 Contract Arbitration $107.95
Labor Relations Board $3,598.10
Shift Implementation $10,372.25
American Arbitration Association $277.50
FY 2012 Total $155,641.23
Fiscal Year 2013
Contract Arbitration $84,674.83
Declaratory Judgment Work $29,932.40
Shift Implementation $54,156.38
American Arbitration Assoc. $4,136.00
Town Council Calls/Meetings $370.00
Unfair Labor Practice-Labor Board $18,696.00
Declaratory Judgment $8,962.18
FY 2013 Total $200,927.79
Fiscal Year 2014
Unfair Labor Practice $21,588.92
Declaratory Judgment $9,850.82
Arbitration – FY 2013 $61,897.50
Town Council Calls/Meetings $357.00
FY 2014 Total $93,694.24