Norwalk Union Members: Don’t Trust Mayor | The Norwalk Daily Voice (formerly The Daily Norwalk)

NORWALK, Conn. – The deadline had come and gone, and Local 2405 was not in the running to collect Norwalk’s garbage, if the city decides to outsource the task.

“While we did have a serious discussion about the pros and cons about submitting a bid, we all agreed to a person that it was the principle and the proper position to take to not submit a bid and in essence be put in the position of bidding against ourselves and on our own work, so we will not participate in this process today,” said Larry Dorman, public affairs representative for Council 4 American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Union members and politicians attacked the administration of Mayor Richard Moccia for the way the process has been conducted.

Milt Giddeons, president of Local 2405, called the invitation for the workers to bid on the contract “cynical and “bogus,” saying it was “asking us to reapply for our jobs.”

“It’s insulting and demoralizing,” said Giddeons. “The mayor, as far we are concerned, is just stabbing us.”

The local has been asking for a meeting with the mayor for three years without success, Giddeons said. “As far as we are concerned, this has been planned from the get-go, to send this out to sanitation.”

Three Democratic Common Councilmen accompanied the union members in a Tuesday afternoon news conference. Council President Carvin Hilliard (District B) said the union members feel the process was unfair. “The fact that they feel there is a flaw in the process needs to be investigated.”

Matt Miklave (District A) said every member of the council made a statement that they wanted input in the process. “The process of a RFP involves serious policy decisions,” he said. “There was no input. A few people in the dead of night put out a 300-page RFP without any public input, without any public analysis, and gave 30 days for these guys to fight for their jobs. It takes a while to put together a 300-page RFP, and I am certain that this deal has been in the works for a long time.”

“Matt has put it to you straight,” said David Watts (District A). “Norwalk has turned into Wisconsin. There’s a lot of unrest between labor unions. It seems like a pattern to union bust. That’s unfortunate,”

Moccia did not respond to a request for comment.

Hal Alvord, director of the Department of Public Works, disputed Miklave’s statement, saying the 322-page RFP was issued in the afternoon of May 16.

“We never take RFPs or bid packages to the council for input,” he said. “That’s a staff function.”

Alvord said he spent an hour with Giddeons, handed him the paperwork and reminded him that AFSCME had submitted bids in other cities. He had hoped the local would do so here.

The deadline was Tuesday. The city has received proposals from City Carting and Finochhio Carting.

The matter would probably come before the council in August, Miklave said. “I think we have eight votes on the council,” he said. “Let’s put it this way, if everybody keeps their word this will go down to defeat.”

“So far, the Republicans have voted in lockstep with the mayor; they have not broken ranks,” Hilliard said.

Norwalk is trying to find the most economical way of providing the same level of service at a lower cost, Alvord said. If the city outsources, eight DPW workers will be offered other jobs in the department and take a pay cut. Alvord said the city would save $1 million a year after outsourcing was established.

The union would fight regardless, Dorman said. “The arbitration decision provides a mechanism for the city to attempt to privatize,” he said. “We would be out here, even if no jobs were at stake. We fight privatization wherever it is. … It’s a bad deal.”

via Norwalk Union Members: Don’t Trust Mayor | The Norwalk Daily Voice (formerly The Daily Norwalk).

Challenge to pension reform moves forward |

Labor unions have scored two separate legal victories in the past week in their push to invalidate San Diego’s pension reform initiative, which voters overwhelmingly approved earlier this month.

The two wins essentially lead to the same result: The state’s Public Employment Relations Board can now move forward with its investigation into a labor complaint that city leaders violated state law by helping craft Proposition B as a citizens’ initiative.

Proposition B calls for replacing pensions with 401(k)-style plans for most new city hires and proposes a five-year freeze on the pensionable pay of current employees.

Unions are challenging that latter provision, saying it flies in the face of the city’s legal requirement to negotiate with labor over benefit changes.

Proposition B proponents say the initiative was placed on the ballot through a signature drive – not by city officials – and therefore no such negotiations were necessary.

The legal tussle began in February when an initial review of labor’s complaint by PERB found there was “reasonable cause” to believe the law had been broken. The board then sought a court injunction — which was denied — to block Proposition B from appearing on the June ballot. The city then successfully sought a delay in the PERB administrative hearings, set to begin April, until after the public vote.

The 4th District Court of Appeal ruled Tuesday that “the trial court erred” by delaying the PERB proceedings and that they should proceed. The ruling slapped down the city’s arguments that PERB wasn’t the proper venue to determine whether Proposition B was legal and said an unfair labor practice allegation falls within PERB’s exclusive jurisdiction.

In a separate ruling last week, the same appellate court denied City Attorney Jan Goldsmith’s request for it to consolidate the various legal challenges to Proposition B, skip a PERB hearing and rule on the issue.

Goldsmith said he hoped to avoid going before PERB because he believes the panel is labor-friendly and the outcome is predetermined. Any decision PERB makes would likely be appealed in court anyway and he hoped to expedite the legal process by skipping ahead.

“We tried to short circuit what could be months, years of who knows how many hearings,” Goldsmith said. “It’s pretty clear to us that PERB is a stacked deck.”

Goldsmith also said the PERB process won’t affect implementation of Proposition B because only a court can stop the city from moving forward.

Michael Zucchet, head of the Municipal Employees Association, which filed the initial PERB complaint, said it’s ironic that city officials are blaming unions for the delays when the PERB process would have been completed by now if the city hadn’t blocked it.

“I think it’s fair to say the city has expended a tremendous amount of resources over the last three or four months to avoid what apparently is going to be the inevitable of an administrative process at PERB,” he said. “So they may be downplaying it, but it doesn’t match up with the efforts they’ve put into it.”

PERB is expected to begin its hearing before an administrative law judge in July or August. The judge will make a ruling based on evidence from both sides and any decision can be appealed to the board. That ruling can then be appealed in court, all the way up to the state Supreme Court, if necessary. A final resolution could be years away.

Proposition B — crafted by Mayor Jerry Sanders and City Council members Carl DeMaio and Kevin Faulconer — was approved by 66 percent of city voters.

via Challenge to pension reform moves forward |

County’s Pension Reform Plans Move to Final Phase – Palm Desert, CA Patch

Riverside County supervisors moved ahead today to enact pension reforms expected to save the county millions of dollars annually, despite warnings from the sheriff that his recruitment efforts might be undercut because of the changes.

“We have been talking about pension reform for more than a year and a

half,” said Supervisor Jeff Stone. “We need to codify this and start saving

taxpayers money.”

The board voted 4-0 — with Supervisor John Benoit away on vacation — to approve a resolution formally notifying the Board of Administration of the

California Public Employees’ Retirement System that the county will be

implementing a “second-tier” pension plan effective Aug. 16.

Since 2010, the county Executive Office has successfully negotiated collective bargaining agreements with unions representing more than 16,000 workers to establish new retirement formulas for new hires and have all employees cover their own monthly pension contributions to CalPERS.

Under the second-tier plan, public safety workers hired after August 2012 will be covered under a defined-benefit plan with a pension formula of 2 percent at 50 — meaning compensation will be determined based on 2 percent of the average of the three highest-paid years of an employee’s career with the

county, multiplied by the number of years on the job.

Safety workers have to be employed for at least five years and must be 50 years old to start collecting benefits. Those who remain on the job beyond age 50 become eligible for a 2.7 percent at 55 pension and can receive up to 90

percent of their final year’s full-time compensation.

Sheriff Stan Sniff, who had expressed reservations earlier about the 2

percent at 50 formula, reasserted today that the change would attenuate his

department’s ability to recruit and retain career employees.

“This puts us at a disadvantage,” Sniff told the board.  “You risk turning this agency into a training ground. People will come to work for us and then fly off to other agencies for better benefits.”

He said 48 deputies had left the sheriff’s department this year, making

“lateral” transfers to surrounding agencies “because they sensed instability

in the county.”

“It’s the boots on the ground — the young men and women — we need to

keep here,” Sniff said. “I’d ask you to make haste slowly on this.”

Department of Human Resources chief Barbara Olivier countered the sheriff’s argument that pension modifications would make the county less attractive to potential recruits, noting that both the Los Angeles County and Ventura County sheriff’s departments have 2 percent at 50 retirement plans.

Olivier reminded the board that the sheriff had objected to a “more

severe pension plan” that would have mandated a 2 percent at 55 formula for

safety personnel, and the Executive Office backed off the concept.

The board resolution calls for establishing a 2 percent at 60 formula for non-public-safety, or “miscellaneous,” employees hired on or after Aug.


Sniff requested that the safety half of the reform plan be set aside to give the sheriff’s office time to come up with possible alternatives for the board to consider. However, Olivier pointed out that such a move would force her office to “start over” on a new resolution to CalPERS, delaying enactment of reforms to October.

She said the county stood to lose between $400,000 to $2.8 million in

the next fiscal year because of the deferral.

“We don’t want to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory here,” said Supervisor Marion Ashley.  “We can look at other incentives (for the sheriff’s department), like signing bonuses and lateral bonuses. There are other ways to accomplish the (recruitment) goal.”

Supervisor Bob Buster recommended — and his colleagues agreed — that

the Department of Human Resources work closely with the sheriff to monitor

potential recruiting problems and come up with incentives packages that the

board can consider down the road.

“There are a lot of people in the private sector living with harsh realities, a lot of people looking for jobs,” Stone said.  “Something tells me we’ll be able to get along, and the sheriff’s department will continue to grow.”

The reduced retirement benefits will net the county around $206 million in savings over a decade, according to the Executive Office. Existing employees’ tier one benefits will remain unchanged: 3 percent at 50 for public safety, and 3 percent at 60 for miscellaneous employees, who include clerks, technicians, accountants and nurses.

The largest savings will be realized after all county employees begin paying their full share of member contributions into CalPERS. So-called  “employer-paid member contributions” have been a taxpayer expense since the early 2000s. For miscellaneous workers, the contribution amount equals 8 percent of gross earnings, and for safety workers, it’s 9 percent. That’s on top of the county’s matching contributions.

According to the Executive Office, by shifting the EPMC to workers, the county will save up to $650 million over 10 years.

The resolution advising CalPERS of the county’s intent to amend the pension plans includes an ordinance that will spell out the changes. However, all of the documents must be ratified after a second public hearing, which is set for July 17.

via County’s Pension Reform Plans Move to Final Phase – Palm Desert, CA Patch.

The American Spectator : Midwest Unions’ Desperate Last Stand

The voters of Wisconsin and California spoke loud and clear. They are tired of the special privileges and lavish benefits given to government unions and paid for by taxpayers. Apparently unions in Michigan did not get the message.

Last Wednesday, supporters of the so-called “Protect Our Jobs” Constitutional Amendment (POJA) submitted 684,286 petition signatures to the Michigan Department of State — more than double the amount needed to put the measure on the ballot in November.

If passed, the Amendment would enshrine collective bargaining in the Michigan Constitution.

POJA would effectively destroy any chance for Michigan to give workers the right to say no to a union and still keep their job — the main benefit of a right-to-work law. The proposal is already being billed as an anti-right-to-work measure, but the major impact would be the reversal of reforms to government union privileges. These reforms have helped Michigan turn the corner after a decade of economic malaise.

Supporters of the amendment say it is needed to help the middle class. In reality it will only help the roughly three percent of the Michigan population who are government union members, but will be paid for by everyone else.

The Amendment would make unions a super-legislature leaving them more powerful than the people’s elected representatives. It would remove the governor and the Legislatures’ (aka the voters’) ability to place any limits on government unions’ power except for strike clauses. POJA would mean Michigan could not continue, and would never achieve, the type of reforms that have saved Michigan taxpayers billions of dollars and turned states like Wisconsin around.

UAW member and President of Union Conservatives, Terry Bowman, calls POJA “an extreme measure that is unprecedented in labor history.”

He cautions “by submitting signatures to forever change Michigan’s constitution, union bosses have said that they are better equipped than the duly elected legislature to handle the economic future of the state of Michigan. …. They obviously believe that a union boss like Jimmy Hoffa or Bob King should have more control over the state’s economy than the Michigan legislature and Governor.”

POJA would immediately do away with the many of the public-sector reforms achieved over the last two years which have put Michigan’s fiscal house in order.

CNBC reported that according to Richard K. Studley, president and chief executive of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the ballot measure “would repeal more than 80 ‘cost-saving reform measures’ that the Legislature has approved…”

Studley also called the measure a “jobs killer” and a power grab because it would “impose unionization on every employer and every employee in the state of Michigan.”

Some of the reforms POJA could repeal include:

Protecting workers from having to give money to union political causes without going through a burdensome and confusing opt out process.

Pension reforms which have already helped Michigan taxpayers avoid $4.3 billion in pension underfunding since 1996.

Public school reforms including privatization of non-instructional services and the ability to remove poorly performing teachers.

POJA would also make future reforms, such as those seen in Wisconsin and Indiana, almost impossible for the Legislature to enact, putting the state at a further competitive disadvantage.

Taxpayers in Michigan already give government employees much better benefits than those in the private sector. Government employee insurance benefits are $7,149 better than those in the private sector and retirement benefits are $11,725 more per year.  read more…

via The American Spectator : Midwest Unions’ Desperate Last Stand.

Public sector labor’s next big test – Public Sector Inc. Forum

After losses in Wisconsin, San Diego and San Jose, the next big test on the horizon for public sector unions is the tax increase on the ballot in California this fall. (As usual with such measures, it is being sold as a”millionaire’s tax” that happens to hit individuals making more than $250k). Governor Brown and the unions know that the voters must pass this measure to address the state’s $16 billion budget deficit. Otherwise, the Governor has threatened to take an axe to state spending.

Recurrent fiscal crises and poor economic performance have recently characterized California. In response, Brown has favored accounting tricks, tax increases, and a modest pension reform to stave off a reckoning with the Golden State’s dysfunctional political system.

The tax measure is essential to preserving the status quo–especially when it comes to the pay and pensions of public employees. The measure is still ahead in the polls but public opinion may be shifting.

The status quo to be preserved includes some of the more generous public sector pensions in the country, a lousy business environment, and a tax system that is highly unstable. Indeed, by relying so heavily on income tax on high earners and capital gains taxes, state revenue has been remarkably unstable. Income taxes, mainly on the richest Californians, have grown from 10% of total revenues in 1950 to more than 50% today.  However, public employee unions, especially the powerful state teachers union, must defend their members interests in current arrangements.

If the tax measure fails, “trigger cuts” would have negative effects on schools, universities, and welfare recipients. Such a crisis might force the emergence of a pro-growth and fiscally prudent political coalition in California.

via Public sector labor’s next big test – Public Sector Inc. Forum.

Study: RI aggressive in pension reform

Updated: Tuesday, 19 Jun 2012, 5:40 AM EDT

Published : Tuesday, 19 Jun 2012, 5:40 AM EDT

By Dan Carpenter

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island’s pension reform efforts are drawing more national attention.

A study by the Pew Center into pension shortfalls nationwide found Rhode Island has been the most aggressive in overhauling its pension system.

It has accomplished that by cutting benefits for current and future employees, limiting cost-of-living increases, and raising the retirement age.

The study also shows Rhode Island is one of four states that has 55% or less of the money needed to fund pensions.

According to the study, the total amount of money states will owe to retirement funds in the decades ahead will be more than $750 billion.

via Study: RI aggressive in pension reform.

State: Pension reform talks continue without end in sight – The Daily-Journal

It’s said that misery loves company, and Illinois has plenty of company when it comes to its public pension woes, according to a recent report.

Illinois has the worst funded public pension system among the 50 states, according to a Pew Center on the States study released Monday.

The Land of Lincoln joined Connecticut, Kentucky and Rhode Island for having among the poorest funded public pension systems in the nation.

In 2010, the most recent year data for all 50 states is available for the study, each of those four states had an unfunded pension liability of at least 55 percent, according to the report.

“For states that do face really severe funding challenges … it’s a competition between raising taxes, cutting services or finding ways to reduce the costs for both current employees and retirees,” David Draine, senior researcher for the Pew Center on the States, a nonprofit that studies issues facing state governments.

It’s a sentiment that Gov. Pat Quinn and others have been reinforcing. Quinn often says that as public pension costs in Illinois rise, they squeeze out other areas of state government.

“How much more information do we need from independent, outside entities to tell us we must make this giant step?” Quinn said during a news conference Monday.

A plan that would have forced current public employees and retirees to choose between better cost-of-living adjustments and participation in a state health care program faltered at the end of the General Assembly’s spring session in May.

Shifting responsibility

The main source of contention in the legislation was shifting the main responsibility for teachers’ pensions from the state to local school districts. The Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois is the largest of the five public pension systems administered by the state.

Republicans rejected that idea, saying school districts would either have to increase property taxes or cut classroom spending to pay for the pensions. But Quinn, who wants local school districts to pick up teacher pension costs, has said any impact on property taxes would be so small it would be “imperceptible.”

Sara Wojcicki Jimenez, spokeswoman for Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego, said every aspect of pension reform is still being debated between Quinn and lawmakers.

Cross headed a last-ditch effort this spring to pass a comprehensive pension reform plan. His measure kept many of the same elements of the stalled pension reform plan, but stripped the cost-shift element. It too stalled.

Patty Schuh, spokeswoman for Illinois Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, said the cost-shift issue is a nonstarter for Radogno at this point. Schuh said the leader wants serious reform to pass before revisiting the idea of making local school districts responsible for their teachers’ pensions.

The urgency to control Illinois’ public pension costs comes after years of the state borrowing from or skipping pension payments. The fallout from the Great Recession and decisions of politicians was evident, as the state’s annual pension payment jumped by $1 billion between this year and next, going from $4.1 billion to $5.2 billion.

Gap keeps growing

Currently, Illinois’ public pensions only have enough assets on hand to cover 45 percent of current and future pension benefits, according to the report. And without major changes, that $83 billion gap will continue to grow, as will the state’s annual contribution to its pensions systems.

Quinn’s office claims the pension reform that faltered in May, including a cost-shift element for the Teachers’ Retirement System, would put the state’s public pension system on the road to being fully funded in 30 years thanks to the money it would save.

Legislative leaders and Quinn will powwow Thursday in Chicago to try and hammer out some agreement, according to Wojcicki Jimenez. It is the second time this month such a meeting has occurred.

Quinn wouldn’t say Monday when he expected lawmakers to return to Springfield to take up any pension reform legislation.

Out of the four states with unfunded public pension liabilities of 55 percent or greater in Pew’s report, Rhode Island has taken steps to curtail its pension problems. The Ocean State suspended cost-of-living adjustments for retirees and increased the age of retirement for public employees.

“There are certainly some states that did make changes and have improved things” since 2010, Draine, the senior researcher for the Pew Center on the States, said.

Illinois was looking at increasing the retirement age for all employees from 65 to 67, but that idea fell out of favor because of concerns about its constitutionality. The Illinois Constitution promises that “membership in any pension or retirement system of the State … shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.”

via State: Pension reform talks continue without end in sight – The Daily-Journal.

Council president accuses mayor of excluding council : Portage News

PORTAGE | City Council President Sue Lynch

 believes it’s one of the council’s duties to vote on matters regarding the city’s finances.

She also believes Mayor James Snyder is trying to sidestep the council, preventing it from fulfilling its duties.

Snyder said Monday that Lynch is putting politics over what’s best for the city.

At issue is a contract with Portage Firefighters Local 3151, approved in April by the Board of Works, but never brought before the council for approval.

Lynch said the contract should have been brought before the council for approval because it brought about a monetary change in the employees’ benefits package. Lynch said she sought the opinions of the State Board of Accounts and the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns before making her concern public. She is putting it on the council’s July 3 agenda for consideration.

Lynch said she has the backing of the majority of the council.

“The council should put the contract on their agenda as they will have to appropriate nearly 35K ($35,000) in funds to cover the contract this year,” Snyder wrote in a statement, adding his administration had found the funds to cover the cost of the contract within the budget.

The issue of the firefighters contract comes after the council approved an ordinance at its June meeting, on a 5-2 vote, that would require council presence during contract negotiations. Snyder has said he will veto the ordinance.

Lynch said the mayor’s recent actions is one reason the council approved the ordinance.

“The mayor doesn’t think we should be in negotiations. I was involved in negotiations before this mayor. I think it is good to be involved,” she said.

“The notion that I do not want the council to be involved in union negotiations is simply ludicrous and Council President Lynch knows this. We as politicians should not be in the room, and we will not be in the room, and press releases like this further strengthen my point,” said Snyder, adding the City Council has never before approved a union contract.

via Council president accuses mayor of excluding council : Portage News.

Portage mayor, city council clash over contracts approval process – Post-Tribune

PORTAGE – What honeymoon existed between the City Council and Mayor James Snyder is officially over. A major battle appears to be erupting between the two over city department labor contract negotiations.

Both sides say they feel betrayed with what has taken place.

The city council approved an ordinance at its last meeting requiring council presence at negotiating sessions and formal council approval of contracts. Snyder intends to veto the ordinance.

The issue came to a head with a contract amendment recently concluded between Snyder and Portage Firefighters Local 3151. The contract was re-opened when the city changed its health insurance provider.

Snyder says the switch will save the city $250,000 this year and nearly $500,000 next year. The city will now pick up the tab for firefighters’ health insurance premiums at an additional cost of $35,000.

That, according to council president Sue Lynch, “brought about a monetary change in their benefits package,” and so requires a vote by the council. Snyder does not dispute that but contends previous councils did not approve even one union contract.

The city board of works has already approved the contract changes.

Lynch thinks the issue is more complicated and extends beyond mere council approval of contracts. “We object strongly that the council is being excluded from the negotiations,” she said.

Lynch and fellow council member Matt Scheuer, Clerk-Treasurer Christopher Stidham and Snyder were involved in a Friday night negotiating session in late March with Local 3151. Apparently frustrated with how things were, going Snyder left.

Snyder and A.J. Monroe, Director of Public Works, concluded negotiations the next day, Saturday, without council members or Stidham being present, and that has clearly annoyed Lynch.

“(Snyder) had different ideas about what the contract should be,” said Lynch. “He gets upset when we disagree with him.”

Snyder responded, “The council should be grateful, as they would not want what they agreed to without the mayor of Portage in the room to be publicized. What I learned from this experience was that politicians have no place in union negotiations, and I have learned from my mistakes.”

To keep politicians out of the negotiations, Snyder put Monroe in charge, “And he’s doing a heck of a job.”

“The council president and I shook hands on an agreement that we would agree on any negotiation before it went to ratification, and then she voted in a partisan fashion to be in the room,” Snyder said, “The council members can ask for updates at anytime.”

“I have a problem when people keep saying it’s a political vote. Maybe it’s the other party that’s playing politics,” said Lynch.

“We’re going to keep pushing him until he understands that we are the fiduciary body of the city,” she added. He has to respect our role just as we respect his role.”

Snyder said he firmly believes that, as executive of the city, certain tasks are his and his alone, just as the council has a defined role in running the city. “Maybe some of the council members ran for the wrong job,” he said.

via Portage mayor, city council clash over contracts approval process – Post-Tribune.

Ridgefield Park, police union agree on three-year contract –

RIDGEFIELD PARK — The Village Commissioners and local police union have agreed on the terms of a new three-year contract but are not revealing details despite approving a memorandum of understanding.

Village Commissioners voted last week to authorize the terms and conditions of a new contract in a memorandum of understanding with Policemen Benevolent Association Local 86. The terms and conditions, according to the resolution, will be incorporated in a new contract which will stretch from Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2014.

Town officials have been negotiating a contract for more than a year and met with arbitrators three times, said Mayor George Fosdick.

The mayor said he was advised by Town Attorney Philip Boggia to not release information about the agreement. He declined to say what major issues led to the lengthy negotiations.

“We hope to finalize this in the next few weeks,” he said.

Boggia said last week he would not release a copy of the memorandum of understanding, which is dated June 6 and should have been attached to the resolution. He said that there could be modifications, and that the memorandum of understanding would only be available once the contract is finalized.

The resolution, which was approved unanimously, states that the parties have engaged in collective negotiations for the purpose of developing a contract covering salaries, hours of work, and other conditions of employment and that they have reached a “mutual agreement with respect to those issues of employment.” The issues of employment, the resolution states, have been memorialized in the memorandum of understanding.

The police union, which has about 25 members, voted to ratify the terms in the memorandum, according to the resolution. Det. Sgt. Anthony Sgroi, the chief negotiator for the union, did not return calls seeking comment.

The police union’s contract expired Dec. 31, 2010.

via Ridgefield Park, police union agree on three-year contract –