So there I am this morning about 8:35 minding my own business, eating my breakfast, and having the latest in a long line of discussions whether or not the Freemasons control the NYCDOE when someone walks in the room asking to see me.
I knew what it was about at once but played dumb just in case I was wrong. It was to notify me that my 4 month suspension was to commence tomorrow, June 3, and I return to the ATR pool on December 4. All this without pay.
I will give the person at the Rubber Room at Zerega credit for not making me immediately leave the building and gave me a good 45 minutes to let me process what had just happened and say goodby to my colleagues. I am grateful for this as well grateful for knowing the people that I shared that room with.
I am grateful as well for keeping my job and only being suspended for 4 months. I know it could have been a lot worse.
I'm kind of lucky getting suspended when I did. My next check should be paid in full and my summer pay should be more or less unaffected. That means I am looking at September through December without pay. Fortunately, we were anticipating something like this and we planned accordingly. I am also going to apply for unemployment and that should help.
I have one major concern though. My health and welfare benefits.
I have been getting mixed messages from too many people at the Welfare Fund, UFT, and HR that either I have a 30 day grace period or my benefits end immediately. If I get the 30 day grace period I am good, but there is a but.
The 30 days should take me to the summer. I am not suspended during the summer, only during the school year. I will be getting paid through the summer and my deductions for the UFT and GHI will or have already be taken out. The problem is that no one can tell me whether or not I will be covered during the summer.
If I am being punished for 4 months (June, September, October, and November) why then if I can;t access my benefits during the summer will my punishment then be for 6 months? It does not make sense nor is it logical.
I am in the process of finding out this information right now. Several people that I trust are working on it and hopefully I will get an answer soon.
Then there is COBRA. The Welfare fund is about $225/month and GHI is about $1k/month. That comes to $1200 per month or $7,200 for six months or $4,800 for 4 months. We do not have that kind of money.
And we need coverage.
To begin, I am diabetic and need my medications as well as needing to continually see my endocrinologist. Along with diabetes comes a slew of other health concerns that can pop up at any time.
Worse off is my wife.
My wife has had two back surgeries over the last 16 years. One a laminectomy in 1999 and removal of a cyst in 2008. For the last 6 months or so her pain has been getting worse and shooting down her leg. We went to see one of the top spine surgeons in the area the last few week and she had an MRI as well. The diagnosis is not good.
Her back is a mess. Not only does she have several discs bulging out but she is scoliosis and stenosis as well. The cure is a 6 hour fusion starting at the L3 and going up to her thoracic region. But the doctor can't do surgery now.
She has a major Vitamin D deficiency which is precluding the doctor from surgery. He said at this point he can't be sure the bones will heal properly. But what she can do is physical therapy for the next 3 months and hopefully building up the muscle around her spine and her stomach will help her a great deal.
As some people know my wife had suffered a series of seizures early last year which those at Westchester Medical Center were never able to figure out the cause. After seeing a neurologist 2 weeks ago he speculated that the reason is the Vitamin D deficiency but can't be sure. She has an MRI scheduled this Saturday to see what is going on in her head.
She is also on a medication that she can't stop taking. If she does, she is dead. Heck there are medications I must take and it won't be good if I go without.
So, I will be out about $28k in gross pay and no insurance for either 4 or 6 months. Great.
Just gives me more to ask for from the City of New York in the lawsuit. For those that are interested court is next Wednesday, June 10, at New York Supreme Court on Chambers St. Contact me if you are interested in coming.
Thank you for allowing me my rant.