When Little People Must Give More

Retired city firefighter Andy Fardy argues in a commentary that union leaders must stand up to the executive-level municipal salary increases while their people are asked for givebacks.

It’s time for the Bridgeport union leaders who caved to the Finch administration to grow a backbone and say enough is enough. The unions that held firm need to do so continuously.

The unions need to realize their employees who are in the lower tier of the overall city payroll have given enough and for what purpose. You have (Deputy Labor Relations Director Tom) McCarthy telling everyone he has given up his days but what he hasn’t said is how much his salary has increased over the years. Let’s look at the raises for top officials in the Finch Administration starting with 2009 and ending in 2014.






These are just five of the top officials in the Finch Administration who in the matter of four years received a total in excess of $88,000 in raises while union members took givebacks. If you add the total number of Finch Administration officials the pay raise numbers would be astronomical, all the while union members are giving back.

Even this year the Finch administration found money to hire their favorite bartender for the princely sum of $91,000 a year to look for potholes, he is not in office three months and wants to spend over $170K for a machine to fix potholes. I suggest the unions get their lawyers ready to sue the city for the wages they have already taken and to stop the city from perpetuating this fraud of having the unions give back under the guise of a budget deficit. In fact the unions should be suing for the previous years they took furloughs and deferred raises, all the while Finch Administration people got raises. What they did is in my opinion against the law or at the very least against everything that is decent.



    1. park city fan, are you talking about the City pension Andy Fardy paid 8 percent of his pay each week where that money was placed in the City’s General Fund and that money made no interest for the 20 years Andy Fardy placed his life on the line each day he worked?

  1. City firefighters make a defined contribution into a defined-benefit program. Conclusion: ACF operates under fantastic conditions and continues to badmouth the same mayor who robosigns every one of his checks! What’s good for his union is bad for Bridgeport.

  2. Yes Ron, that’s the pension I’m referring to. I was asking how much his pension benefit has increased over the same time span. Perhaps you could answer the question for me. How much has your pension benefit increased over the last five years?
    If I’m not mistaken, retirees get a raise when the collective bargaining agreement provides one for active employees.

  3. Ron,
    Please don’t reply to this post other than to simply provide the number. You and Fardy may have these people on here hoodwinked as to your years of heroic service but the men who have served know better. You may have been an employee of the fire department but you were no firefighter.

    1. park city fan, take Andy Fardy’s City pension where he paid 8 percent of his pay each week where that money was placed in the City’s General Fund for 20 years and let’s say those funds were placed in a regular bankbook savings account drawing interest, now how much do you think that account in Andy Fardy’s name would have made?

      1. Good question, Ron. There are a lot of variables. Let us assume Andy made an average of $51,544/yr, 8% of that in a passbook savings acct @1.5%, compounded monthly for 20 years would be ~$96,227.27.

        The city pension is far better than that. Social Security is even better than that. You would have to put in far more than 8% and/or get closer to 10% interest.

        1. BOE SPY, the City of Bridgeport took Andy Fardy’s weekly pension payment, put it in the City’s General Fund and it became their “slush” fund to use at any time to spend on anything. That money was used to pave streets, help build schools, paying the salary of other City workers instead of taking Mr. Fardy’s weekly pension payment and following the rules by the state and paying whatever portion of the City matching funds are and invest that money wisely. BOE SPY you will find firefighters nationwide never think about their pension or getting hurt during their career, you don’t become a firefighter for the money and firefighters don’t talk about what they have done or if they got hurt.

          1. Not investing Andy’s pension withholding toward future payments was a bad idea on the city’s part but not uncommon. The state does the same thing with pensions and the feds do it with social security. However, it is also irrelevant. If the city did put that money aside, taxes ‘back then’ would have been higher and we would still have a pension problem. The money the city withheld would not be enough to meet the payment needs and the health insurance cost is NOT included in these numbers. The amount of money we would need would be less but taxes would be higher because the city did not have the firefighter pension money and the city would still need to raise taxes to meet the pension/health insurance shortage. Overall the tax increase would be less but not by much.
            Here is an example. Not the real numbers but to convey the idea: Say the tax rate now is 40 mils. To meet the pension (including health) needs we need to raise it to 50. If the city invested the pension money the tax rate now would be 45 because they did not have the pension money to spend. We would have to raise taxes to 48 to meet the needs because the city would have the invested money to pay some of the expense but the higher taxes you paid over all those years would be about the same as the higher amount you will pay now.

            The real problem is not as much how the city got money and what it did with that money. The problem is, with all government, the benefits were/are too generous and spending has outpaced monetary growth. The amount the city, state, federal government spends has grown faster than GNP, especially in BPT. When incomes go up 10%, government spending goes up 12%. They are spending money faster than we can earn it. Pensions receive an unfairly large amount of attention but pensions are one of the biggest bills they have.

          2. BOE SPY, you said, “The real problem is not as much how the city got money and what it did with that money. The problem is, with all government, the benefits were/are too generous and spending has outpaced monetary growth,” now was that Andy Fardy’s doing, did he and other firefighters cause those problems?

          3. No they did not, but pensions are the easiest way to solve it. Look, once the well goes dry the pensions will go away along with everything else. If we reform the pension, future and past, we can solve or, at least, put off the problem.
            I know you like the ‘tax the rich’ idea but that will not work. The rich will simply move. One of the founders of Microsoft(?) moved to Thailand because it was cheaper for him. Plus, you would have to tax them at such a high rate, the rich would become the poor.
            We need to cut spending. What programs should we reduce or eliminate: Welfare, T-19, section-8? Who would you throw out of the lifeboat? If the boat sinks we all go down with it. I am not judging because someone needs to go but pensions are the fat guy in the boat. We throw him out or 2-3 skinny guys.

          4. BOE SPY, the fat thing in the boat are the people on pensions so I guess your idea is no one gets a pension, do I have that right? Pensions are the fat guy in the boat? Let’s throw the pension people out of the boat and keep the lazy bastards who are either on the state, the city or the Feds. Of course a socialist point of view is screw the working guy.
            I noticed in your post not one word about the concessions made by the union and how they ended up in the cash balance and were not used to cut any made-up phony deficit. Try addressing the subject matter.

          5. Andy–I would be all for what you say but that will not happen. The ‘lazy bastards’ you speak of are the same people who vote in our current administration. They would be the 47% Mitt Romney was criticized for commenting on. Then you have to ask yourself how many times did you vote for a councilman who would be fireman/city worker ‘friendly’ at the contract table? Maybe someone who had a conflict of interest. Did you help to cause the problem that is currently stressing you? Did your union back anyone who fit these descriptions?
            Can you post proof the deficit is phony or is that just your opinion?

          6. SPY, it’s been posted time and time again by JML and myself. This past budget year they said they needed givebacks to prevent a deficit. Well it just came out there is a surplus in the fund balance. Furthermore for the past four years JML and I have pointed out Millions of dollars set aside for salaried positions they admitted would not be filled. Now they are hiding millions in OT accounts. The list goes on and on. Just so you know, pension plan A is getting smaller and smaller as we die off every day and that includes our widows. Just one more thing, of the 21 guys I first worked with, three are still alive.

          7. Sorry to hear about your friends but that is how these kinds of annuities work. The money is supposed to run out just about when the last collector dies. The problem is the money will be gone long before the annuitants.
            An upcoming election year and suddenly the city has a surplus. Go figure. Maybe the mayor will promise to give it back to homeowners as a $600 rebate? Did the mayor count the givebacks when he figured the surplus?
            You have posted about the ghost worker thing but that does not mean the city does not have a deficit. It only means the city spent the money on something they did not budget it for. This only shows the city has poor fiscal practices. The union members vote on the givebacks. Their only other choice was layoffs. Your idea the union did not protect its members is not true. The mayor presented options and the members vote.

          8. BOE SPY, the ghost positions and the benefits budgeted for doubled what the claimed deficit was so they did not need the givebacks if they did not budget for the ghost positions. The ghost positions that were budgeted for give the Finch administration a $5 Million dollar slush fund they could spend and not account for.

  4. park city fan, it’s too bad you are such a coward and don’t use your own name. Do you know what a firefighter is? I doubt it! Just to answer your question, in the past four years my pension went up a small amount.
    Now if you want to screw with me at least be MAN enough to use your identity. You are a coward and by the sounds of it, a Finch suck-up.

  5. park city fan, I figured it out. You are definitely a Finch suck-up and probably one of the deadbeats hired by Finch. You had not one word to say about the big raises for city officials and the givebacks by the union. Gee, do I scare you that much? I guess the pen is mightier than the sword. Right, little man.

  6. So Andy, the mayor’s salary has increased $13,000 over five years. So that means he has taken home somewhere around $30,000 more over that period of time. Nice job if you can get it.

    1. It’s nice when you have someone like Sue Brannelly calling for $500K more in union givebacks than you requested and it’s even better when you slip pay raises through for you and your buddies.

  7. Andy–How much has your pension increased in the last five years? Saying it increased a “small amount” doesn’t answer the question. If you are so put off by the actions of the firefighters union perhaps you would consider turning down any raises they have negotiated for you and others. You know, put your money where your mouth is! We both know that is not going to happen. Please, for the sake of argument, provide us with the actual dollar amount of the increase. If you need help with the math give your pal JML a call. We’ll be waiting.

    Ron Mackey–You are no longer deemed worthy of engaging on this blog as you fail to meet the minimum intelligence requirement. Simple concepts are beyond your grasp. Best of luck to you in your lifelong pursuit of sticking it to the man!

  8. park city fan; let’s get our information straight. The fire union does NOT and canNOT negotiate for me or any other retiree. Do you understand that? You are coming after me because your union believed all the Finch bullshit and caved in like a bunch of $2 hookers. As a taxpayer here in the city, which I bet you are not, I am thrilled by the fire union givebacks.
    If you want to know what my pension is, look it up, it’s a matter of public record. You see I understand the math and I know when someone is getting screwed. Your union should have spent time studying the city budget and maybe you would have grown a pair and said no givebacks. BTW did you get a kiss from Finch? If you get screwed, which you did, you should have gotten a kiss. Go bother someone else, you pissant.

  9. park city fan: Now that I have learned you are on the fire department your posts make sense. You are pissed someone pointed out the FD givebacks were for nothing. Is that my fault? I have posted time after time about budget issues but I guess you and your friends were too busy telling each other how busy you are. That’s funny, in 2013-2014 all fire incidents totaled 634.
    Back when Ron Mackey and I were just “employees” of the FD we did that many working fires in two months. I am not sure you and your friends could survive that. Oh well I am tired of screwing with a rookie, time to go.

  10. park city fan, just do the math question I gave you, you can get the amount from your friend Mayor Finch. Think about that, your money is taken from you every week for 20 years and you get no interest on that money the City took from you.

  11. Calm down, you sawed-off little shit, you’re gonna give yourself a heart attack. All I wanted was for you to tell us how much more you are making now than you were five years ago. Very simple thing to do. Who I am or what my name is, is of little or no consequence. I am coming after you because you deserve it. You piss and moan all day and night on this blog about anything and everything. For God’s sake man, go enjoy whatever time you have left on this earth and stop being such an old jerk.

    1. park city fan–This sawed-off little shit fought more fires in six months than you have seen in your little career. Heart attack from dealing with a light weight like you? Never happen. If we were back when I was on the job and if you passed your probation (doubtful) maybe just maybe I would let you carry my helmet to a fire. In fact my helmet saw more fire duty than you can only dream of. You are right, you are of no significance.
      What I blog about is budget issues and city issues Maybe if you and your fellow union members did the same you would not be doing givebacks that go to the fund balance and not erase the deficit. Shame on all of you for letting that happen. It is best you come after me using a handle like park city fan, bet you don’t live here. Which firehouse are you blogging from?

  12. Which firehouse am I blogging from? With investigatory skills like that it’s no wonder you never solved an arson case!
    Still waiting for the actual dollar amount of your pension increase over the last five years. Open, accountable and transparent is what you preach on here ad nauseum, so why the hesitancy to share YOUR numbers? You have no problem putting others’ information out there.
    Truth be told Andy, I actually couldn’t care less if you share the info or not. I’ve had fun getting you all worked up into a lather and my work here is done. Until next time. Talk to you soon, half pint.

  13. What a waste, my numbers are there for the public to see. When you leave the firehouse tomorrow morning go to city hall and you can get my pension numbers. You don’t get me riled up but you do make me sad to see what you and your generation have done to the job. Shame on you. Sure I put other city officials presently serving out there but I took the time to do the research. You guys and your union should do the same thing. I have said this a few times and no reply from you, I guess I am right. You see I don’t get worked in a lather when dealing with someone who is ignorant and afraid of the truth.

  14. park city fan,
    If you are a current firefighter, you have a book that shows your benefits and if you have been there a bit longer you will know the Plan B retirement plan before MERF. And you will have seen or heard comparisons to Plan A, what Mackey and Fardy retired with.
    Why are you teasing them about info that may be personal to them? Why not state the fact (at least as I understand it) their union representatives negotiated and they agreed to a plan that provided increases after retirement, not for inflation or CPI as many defined-benefit plans, but for keeping some type of parity as future negotiations for fire safety salaries increased. Then they would be eligible for an increase.
    They are not represented at the pension plan table as active public safety personnel are. How does that set with you? Why are you on them? They use their eyes and ears and usually their intelligence to provide info to the general public who are not getting anywhere near the full story from the administration, from the City Boards and Commissions, from the CT Post, etc.
    So park city fan, are you a Bridgeport taxpayer? Home? Auto? Business personal property perhaps? What taxes do you pay? How serious do you scrutinize what is ongoing in the City? Time will tell.

  15. Andy–the simple truth is anyone who can pass the test and fulfill the physical requirements can be a firefighter. As with any job, or taxes for that matter, it is easiest to get the most by charging a little to the largest number of people. When you ask for givebacks it is best to get them from those who have no choice. The average, easiest replaceable worker can giveback, face layoffs or go work somewhere else. Even if you are not one of the people who gets laid off you would still face an increased workload. The ‘top end’ workers, like the city attorney, can easily go somewhere else and make about what they make with the city. Even if these people gave up their entire paycheck it wouldn’t come close to meeting the needs of the city.
    You often post about the danger involved in your CHOSEN career but firefighter is not that dangerous.
    You also have the idea you chose to be a fireman. If you were unaware you would have to deal with stuff that was on fire, whose fault is that? I am sorry but a school teacher who stands a significant risk of being attacked by a student is one thing, that is not supposed to be part of the job, but a guy who chooses to be a fireman or a cop and then harps on how dangerous their job is gets old.

  16. BOE SPY, you have not heard me talk about the dangers of the job on this blog. Maybe the one thing you read was when I wrote eight friends died in the line of duty while I was on the job. Please, of course I know and knew the dangers associated with firefighting. That is kind of a flippant remark. Teaching is a real tough job I would not want to do even with 176 days off a year.
    You really think these city attorneys can make what they make on the outside in private practice? I don’t and I base that on my working with many large law firms around the country. I suggest you step back from your elitist point of view and tell me which of the higher-ups will find the same salary and benefits enjoyed by our department heads.
    You think it’s all right for lower-tiered workers to give up a week’s pay and for that money to go into the city fund balance and not to prevent any deficits? Really?
    Again I ask you to point out where I have made all those comments about how dangerous the firefighting profession is. It is you saying that, not me. I think you had better check your facts.

    1. I do not think it is fair ‘the little guy’ loses a week’s pay. It is just practical. I think it would be fair if there were not so much cronyism and nepotism in the city. It would be fair if there were not so many ‘do-nothing’ workers, pay rates were more in line with the private sector and union protected, ineffective workers were easier to dismiss.

      1. BOE SPY, all you write about is able to be done because of voter apathy. We allow this to be done to us by not going to the polls and voting these people out. The unions could have done more to protect their workers from these unnecessary givebacks but they did not. All the people I highlighted were non-union appointees.

        1. Not really. The problem was caused by the system. The Democrat administration was allowed to increase benefits and fill the city with people who are dependent on government assistance. The city builds projects and hands out cash to these people. These people vote to preserve the system. You assume the people who did not vote would have voted for someone who was not the people who are currently elected. So you think all the voters who did not vote would have voted for the Republican guy? The people who did not vote were happy with the system. People in BPT are more apt to vote when they are good and pissed off or when someone is paying them. Why do you think the cities/states with Republican leadership are so much better off than the ones with Democrat leadership?
          The unions are in bed with the city. Look at the union leadership and their connection to city leaders. If a political election can be fixed, what makes you think a union election can’t? The conflicts of interests on the City Council have nothing on the unions. Never mind the unions pay to get the politicians elected then the politicians give the union raises. How many times were the union contracts negotiated ‘in good faith’ when the unions had people on both sides of the table? The taxpayer had no one at the table.

  17. BOE SPY, that was an informative attachment you had. It’s great that firefighting is off the top 10 list. It means all the safety measures and new equipment are working, that’s great.

  18. I have been polite and bit my tongue on some of the stuff you posted but now you have gone too far. You are a GD idiot. “Most of the firefighters who died from a heart attack did so because they were too fat.” That is pure and utter bullshit and you have no freaking idea what you are blogging about. I am done dealing with an asshole like you.

    1. Andy, I said ‘almost half’ and ‘Usually a symptom of being too fat,’ but drug use, poor fitness and genetics can also lead to heart attacks. The same site I posted said 47% of on-duty firefighter fatalities were from heart attacks, but most deaths in this country are from heart attacks.

      www .webmd.com/heart-disease/features/weight-waistlines-heart-disease-risk
      The is an article four you.
      The heavier you are–period–the higher your risk of heart disease.

      Now, who doesn’t have any idea what they are blogging about?

  19. Read about the work a firefighter does and the conditions he does it in and then get back to me. You failed to respond to the topic that started this blog other than some idle musings. Read why heart conditions are covered by the state because of the work firefighters, police officers and correction officers do. You really don’t have a freaking clue.

    1. But I have, Andy. The city gave these people a choice. They can give back, face layoffs or find another job. The union presented these choices to the rank and file and they voted. The union leadership’s backbone has no place in this issue. Your idea of suing would simply be a fruitless effort that would squander money the city does not have. On top of that, if the city can show enough financial stress, all union contracts can be found null and void.

      The raises the top guys got are about the same percentage raise union people got, even with the givebacks. Larry makes about $140,000. About the same or less than most of the 45 principals and administrators in BPT’s failing school system. He got a $21,511 raise over 5 years. That is about 15.3% or 3% per year (non-compounded). In the same period you got a 14.8% raise once you compound the raises. You only commented when the BPFD had to give back and the people listed did not. Since your raises are tied to FD raises, if they give back do you give back? No one in the BOE has had to give back. Some people are exempt from these things. That is the way it is but I think everyone will get a turn. You say you want the city to reduce costs but criticize their efforts to do so. You do not want a tax increase. Your only alternative solution is to throw the poor and disabled off benefits.

  20. Getting givebacks from certain unions to put into the city fund balance is wrong. If the unions filed grievances and the problem ended up at the state labor board I think the unions would win. You should not be able to extort the unions with lies and threats.
    Sorry, your numbers are wrong. Point out a union that got 15% over the past 5 years.
    BTW the continuous hiring of political buddies at big salaries is wrong when you are taking away from the lower tiered workers, example Jose Tiago $91,000 plus benefits as a roadway inspector.
    Tell me exactly what Osborne does. He does not negotiate contracts, he does handle grievances. This office costs us in the area of $500K and is stocked full of politically connected people.
    The idea the city can show financial stress is a joke and could not happen because the city has made no real effort to cut costs. Did you ever hear of smoke and mirrors?
    To answer your question, I do not give back. The union cannot negotiate for retirees.

    1. The firefighters union.
      www .bridgeportct.gov/filestorage/89019/96373/104098/INTERNATIONAL_ASSOCIATION_OF_FIREFIGHTERS_AFL-CIO_LOCAL_834.pdf
      Page 22: 2.5, 3, 2.5, 3, 3. Once you compound these raises to get the total raise over the 5 years you would get a 14.8% increase.

      From the same contract: 25.12 Effective July 1, 2006 and in each year thereafter each employee in Pension Plan B shall receive 2% and each employee in Pension Plan A shall receive 2.5% of the shift pay earned in the 12 months prior to retirement toward their pension.

      They negotiated this for the retirees. I happen to believe that the city is in financial trouble.

  21. BOE, you are full of shit pure and simple. NOTHING was ever negotiated for the retirees and I have not seen a penny of which you speak plus many of us in pension plan A did not have shift differential.
    Now you can keep coming after firefighters but you never answer or comment on Finch or his employees and their raises. You are a Finch ass-kisser. Try blogging about something you know about. Oh yeah, we would only get a blank page. KMA.

    1. Andy–which one do you want to say: ‘NOTHING was ever negotiated for the retirees,’ ‘I have not seen a penny of which you speak’ or ‘many of us in pension plan A did not have shift differential.’? The shift differential, negotiated by the union, is right there in black and white. The other statements are self-fulfilling. If you never had the shift differential you wouldn’t get the retirement benefit. Duhh.
      As far as Finch goes, he probably will not win another term. However since I am moving, I will laugh long and hard if he does. Good luck with that. Your entire post is just Andy wanting what is best for Andy. I am sure it was the same thing when you voted for machine candidates and got your sweet contract raises approved. Your only mistake was doing what it took to reap the benefits of a crooked city and not moving to another city. Now that you are on the other end of the stick it is not so nice Sad for Andy. I hope the city straightens out and the budget deficit is fake. Then no one has anything to worry about. Time will tell.

  22. I for one am happy you are moving, you have been like an inoperable hemorrhoid just hanging around and being a pain in the ass. Whatever you are reading does not apply to those who retired before shift differential came to be.
    Just so you know, residency was part of our contract and I followed the contract. I love Bridgeport and did not leave when I could have because I still believe in the people of Bridgeport. Please stop posting about stuff you have no clue about, AH.


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