Roanoke Fire Fighters Association President Rodney Jordan brought up an interesting issue today in the Captains meeting. Apparently there is some discrepancy of who is and who is not included in the recent ICMA match suspension.

Roanoke City Council voted to suspend the ICMA match for employees to cope with the current fiscal year budget shortfalls. Yesterday, Cheif Hoback advised the A-Shift Captains that the ICMA would not be reinstated for the FY 2009-2010 year either. Roanoke City employees have had the benefit of receiving a City paid maximum $25 match in their 457k funds. This match has been in place for over a decade. The match went from $15 to $25 in 1999-2000.

The benefit is clearly defined in a .pdf found on the Roanoke City website detailing the benefits, work schedule, and career opportunities for firefighters. (roanokefireemsbenefits)

This benefit was one that firefighters and other City employees feel is part of their salary.

However, Roanoke City Council voted to suspend the match. Not everyone will see that match disappear though. Apparently,

Council appointed individuals, where as part of their respective base compensation package receive ICMA funding will not be affected.

That is what was stated in an email received by the Captains who attended today’s B-Shift meeting. The email was sent out to answer questions raised by Jordan.

Now, some firefighters feel as though this is reminiscent of the AIG scandal following the recent stimulus funds they received from the federal government.

There is speculation that one or more Council appointed members receives in excess of $13,000 in ICMA that is City paid, although that has not been confirmed.

Roanoke City has approximately 1200 employees. If all of the employees take advantage of the match it costs the City approximately $780,000 each year. Roanoke City has 26 pay periods, equating to $650 each year per person maximum.

We have not yet clarified who will still be getting the match once the suspension sets in on April 1st.

The Budget is on the forefront of news this week. City Council is trying to hone in on what will be the cuts for the future year. I am sure many of you remember we lost 6 or 9 positions last year (still unclear on the number). This year we already stand to lose 6 according to the Roanoke Times. Those 6 were once told they were going to take from Clearbrook and move to Station 8 to put Medic 8 in service. It will be interesting to see what happens. You can read the Roanoke Times article here.

Nine firefighters will retire this year from the Roanoke Fire EMS Department. The retirements stem from an incentive to leave before December 1st after giving notice by March 16th. The incentive comes just in time to beat the increase in health care next year which ranges from $100 to $200 per month depending on the health care plan. Forty-Six Roanoke City employees took advantage of the retirement incentive. Read more abou the retirements here. Congratulations to those who will be retiring. Estimates are that the guys leaving have around 230-250 years of service. I look forward to attending some of the retirement parties!

The City Council voted to suspend the 457 contribution paid by the City effective April 1st. The contribution was a match up to $25 per paycheck. I am not sure how many employees Roanoke City has, but based on 1200 if everyone took advantage of the match, Roanoke City will save 780k each year or 30k per period the match is suspended. The suspension was put in place to help Roanoke City cover a budget deficit this fiscal year. Hopefully, they will add it into the budget for next year. The news of the suspension was emailed out via City email.