Cicilline in the news

A variety of things today concerning the mayor of the celebrated city:

-- An arbitrator has sided with Providence firefighters in one part of their ongoing dispute with City Hall. Desite the resolution of this element, a reconciliation seems very unlikely at this time. From Greg Smith:

The arbitration award, which was made public yesterday by the firefighters union, settles employment terms for the period July 1, 2004 through June 30, 2005. The long-running and bitter confrontation between Mayor David N. Cicilline and the International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 799, now moves to arbitration of terms for 2005-2006.

Rank-and-file union members are “very excited” by the award, declared Firefighter 1st Class Paul A. Doughty, union president. “They think it’s really vindicated our position and exposed the mayor as the unreasonable one” in the acrimonious collective-bargaining relationship . . . .

Cicilline’s exasperation with the outcome was voiced by his appointee, lawyer Vincent F. Ragosta Jr., who complained in a written dissent that the award shows “a patent laxity” in its rationale and often fails to state a factual basis for its decisions.

“…Insulating Providence firefighters from co-sharing a relatively small fraction of the city’s onerous health insurance costs is nothing less than an affront to the city’s hard-working citizenry, many of whom are uninsured, and many of whom pay as much as 50 percent of the cost of their health insurance benefits,” Ragosta wrote.

-- Dan Barbarisi, meanwhile, reports on Cicilline wading into the battle over the city's Comprehensive Plan, which is poised to be approved on its first passage tonight by the City Council:

He stressed that the controls built into the plan will ensure that no local zoning changes will occur until the neighborhood plans are finished, and said that this is a critical time for Providence to have a strong plan in place because of the massive infrastructure changes happening in the city.

“There are very serious dangers if the Comprehensive Plan is not enacted,” Cicilline said, pointing to the possibility that the state will exert more control than the city in determining uses for the land opened up by the shift of Route 195.

“If the Comprehensive Plan were not enacted, local leaders would lose a great deal of control,” he said.

Cicilline said that the plan addresses issues of job creation and development pressure, and the public vetting process has been unprecedented in this state.

-- Cicilline was due to receive the recommendations this morning of a Poverty, Work & Opportunity Task Force that he discussed during his January 2007 inaugural address. He charged the group "with developing strategies to reduce poverty by creating more opportunities for low-income familes." As the city noted in publicizing this event, nearly 25 percent of Providence residents, and 36 percent of children, are below the federal poverty line, so making improvement in this area is vital.

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