2019 RI law driving up firefighter overtime bills

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WARWICK — Mayor Frank J. Picozzi says the city is studying its options after learning that a bill passed two years ago by the General Assembly paved the way for all firefighters in Rhode Island to use sick and vacation pay to trigger overtime.

A Hummel Report investigation, published in the Providence Sunday Journal, detailed the longtime past practice of Warwick firefighters using sick and vacation pay to boost a workweek, resulting in the city having to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in overtime. It is not formalized in the firefighters contract, and before 2019 state law would have allowed the city to end the practice with a 30-day notice.

Gayle Corrigan, district manager for the Central Coventry Fire District, contacted The Hummel Report after the story was published, pointing to the 2019 law saying that paid leave would be classified as hours worked.

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