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Kenney: Don’t Fall for Ken Block’s Misinformation

Sunday, May 20, 2018

 

Ken Block

Here we go again! Perennial RI political commenter, Ken Block, has lit up the internet and local media once again regarding fire departments in RI. While I sometimes agree and sometimes disagree with his opinions regarding the RI political scene, I cannot disagree with him more when it comes to his conclusions regarding the fire service in RI. The main reason for this is that I have over 35 years experience in the fire service and he wouldn’t know the difference between a booster line and a master stream.

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with that (most people in the general public wouldn’t know the difference either), this fact should preclude him from being taken seriously when attempting to influence fire department policy. I certainly wouldn’t expect him to take my advice on running his little golf equipment company just because I’ve read a couple of articles and studied a couple of surveys on the subject. I have my opinions on different issues but I seldom post these opinions online unless it’s on a subject that I have an expertise – like the fire service.

Mr. Block’s latest claim regarding fire departments in RI is that departments (currently Warwick Fire Department) could save 25% of their salary costs by switching from a 4 platoon system to a 3 platoon system.

I don’t know whether he was out of state when Providence attempted the same thing in search of salary savings and reductions in overtime costs. That ill-conceived venture failed miserably and cost the taxpayers of Providence additional overtime expenses as well as a settlement of over $6 million to make up for compensation denied firefighters by unilaterally increasing their base hours by 25% without a commensurate raise in base salary. There was no one more convinced that the 3 platoon system would save millions of dollars per year that Mayor Elorza and Commissioner Pare. They were warned by pretty much every firefighter who offered an opinion that the change would actually cost the City more money. Instead of heeding the advice of those who have experience in the fire service they assumed they were more knowledgeable in the running of a fire department than the experts – much the same as Mr. Block.

Now, two years later Mr. Block proposes the same changes for the Warwick Fire Department. He also claims that this same change could save all RI fire departments 25% of their salary outlay.

Mr. Block mixes a study that found many Warwick firefighters work 24 hour, 48 hour and in one case a 96 hour shifts (OK, what does that have to do with a 3 platoon system?) with other misleading information and erroneous personal opinions to support his case. He deliberately misinforms his readers that over 70% of the fire departments in the US “happily work a 3 platoon system”.

And this is just the beginning. He promises on his Facebook page that “I've got a lot of fire data coming in the next 2 weeks”! God help us all! Please view his opinions and so-called data skeptically. He’s got a long history of attacking RI firefighters and RI fire departments with erroneous conclusions based on irrelevant information. Don’t be fooled that this so-called magic bullet to savings will work in Warwick and the rest of the state when it failed so miserably in Providence. Learn from Providence’s mistake. Remember, those who ignore their history are doomed to repeat it!

Tom Kenney is a retired captain of the Providence Fire Department.

 

Related Slideshow: GoLocal: Benchmark Poll, October 2017

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Sponsor: GoLocalProv

Sample: N=403

Rhode Island General Election Voters Margin of Error: +/- 4.9% at 95% Confidence Level

Interviewing Period: October 9-11, 2017

Mode: Landline (61%) and Mobile (39%)

Telephone Directed by: John Della Volpe, SocialSphere, Inc.

Prev Next

Are you registered to vote at this address?

Yes: 100%

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When it comes to voting, do you consider yourself to be affiliated with the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, Moderate, or Unaffiliated with a major party?

Unaffiliated: 49%

Democrat: 32%

Republican: 15%

Moderate: .4%

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Next year, in November of 2018, there will be a statewide general election for Governor and many other state offices. How likely is it that you will vote in this election?

Will you definitely be voting, will you probably be voting, are you 50-50...

Definitely be voting: 78%

Probably be voting: 13%

50-50: 9%

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In general, would you say things in Rhode Island are headed in the right direction or are they off on the wrong track?

Right track: 39%

Wrong track: 45%

Mixed: 10%

Don't know/Refused: .6%

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What would you say is the number one problem facing Rhode Island that you would like the Governor to address?

Jobs and economy:  21%

Education: 12%

Taxes: 12%

Roads: 12%

State budget: 9%

Corruption/Public integrity: .8%

Healthcare: 3%

Governor: 3%

Homelessness: 2%

Immigration: 2%

Other: 7%

Don’t know: .9%

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Over the past three years or so, would you say the economy in Rhode Island has improved, gotten worse, or not changed at all?

Changed for the better: 35%

Changed for the worse: 16%

Not changed at all: 43%

Don't know/Refused: 5%

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Over the same time, has your family's financial situation improved, gotten worse, or not changed at all?

Changed for the better: 26%

Changed for the worse: 19%

Not changed at all: 54%

Don't know/Refused: 1%

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Recently, a proposal has been made to permit the issuance of $81 million in bonds by the State to build a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox. If there was an election today on this issue, would you vote to approve or reject issuing $81 million in financing supported moral obligation bonds to build the stadium?

Net: Approve: 28%

Definitely approve: 15%

Probably approve: 14%

Net: Reject: 67%

Probably reject: 19%

Definitely reject: 48%

Don't know: 4%

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Could you please tell me your age?

18-24: 7%

25-34: 15%

35-44: 15%

45-54: 20%

55-64: 17%

65+: 25%

Don't know/refused: 1%

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What was the last grade you completed in school?

0-11: 2%

High school grad: 16%

Technical/Vocational school: 1%

Some college: 23%

College grad: 34%

Graduate degree: 24%

Don't know/refused: 1%

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The next question is about the total income of YOUR HOUSEHOLD for the PAST 12 MONTHS. Please include your income PLUS the income of all members living in your household (including cohabiting partners and armed forces members living at home).

$50,000 or less: 27%

More $50,000 but less than $75,000: 13%

More $75,000 but less than $100,000: 13%

More $100,000 but less than $150,000: 17%

$150,000 or more: 13%

Don't know/refused: 17%

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What particular ethnic group or nationality - such as English, French, Italian, Irish, Latino, Jewish, African American, and so forth - do you consider yourself a part of or feel closest to?

American/None: 21%

English: 13%

Italian: 13%

Irish: 12%

Black or African American: 6%

Latino/Hispanic: 6%

French: 6%

Portuguese: 3%

Jewish: 3%

German: 1%

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Would you say that Donald Trump has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as President?


Excellent: 13%
Good: 12%
Fair: 14%
Poor: 57%
Never heard of:  0%
Cannot rate: 3%

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Would you say that Jack Reed has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a United States Senator?

Excellent: 22%
Good: 29%
Fair: 23%
Poor: 15%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate: 6%

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Would you say that Sheldon Whitehouse has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a United States Senator?

Excellent: 17%
Good: 22%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 28%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate: 7%

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Would you say that David Cicilline has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a Member of Congress?

Excellent: 9%
Good: 29%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 27%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate:  8%

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Would you say that James Langevin has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a Member of Congress?

Excellent: 7%
Good: 30%
Fair: 20%
Poor: 18%
Never heard of: 13%
Cannot rate: 11%

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Would you say that Gina Raimondo has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Governor?

Excellent: 6%
Good: 28%
Fair: 30%
Poor: 31%
Never heard of: 1%
Cannot rate: 3%

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Would you say that Daniel McKee has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Lieutenant Governor?


Excellent: 3%
Good: 16%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 8%
Never heard of: 26%
Cannot rate: 25%

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Would you say that Peter Kilmartin has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Attorney General?


Excellent: 3%
Good: 20%
Fair: 28%
Poor: 17%
Never heard of: 13%
Cannot rate: 19%

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Would you say that Seth Magaziner has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as General Treasurer?

Excellent: 4%
Good: 18%
Fair: 24%
Poor: 13%
Never heard of: 21%
Cannot rate: 21%

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Would you say that Nellie Gorbea has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Secretary of State?

Excellent: 5%
Good: 21%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 10%
Never heard of: 20%
Cannot rate: 23%

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Would you say that Jorge Elorza has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Mayor of Providence?

Excellent: 4%
Good: 24%
Fair: 24%
Poor: 22%
Never heard of: 9%
Cannot rate: 15%

 
 

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