Monday, June 30, 2008

New Hampshire Caps Pension Benefits

Gov. Lynch signs NH retirement system reforms - Fosters:

"Workers hired after July 1, 2009, can continue to include overtime and other income in their pay in calculating their pensions. Pensions will be capped at 100 percent of pay. The provision mostly affects police and firefighters, who rely on overtime to boost their pensions. Pensions will be capped at $120,000, which might affect some senior police and fire officials."

Munice Threatens Police,Fire Layoffs

Police, fire layoffs a real possibility | | The Star Press:

"MUNCIE -- Layoffs of public safety workers could be one of the only ways for Muncie to make up revenue loss from property tax caps on homes, rentals, farms and businesses.

And Mayor Sharon McShurley said declining revenue in 2009-10 will definitely have an impact on upcoming contract talks with police officers and firefighters."

Kentucky Cuts Pension Benefits

Gov. Beshear signs pension-reform bill - Business First of Louisville::

"With a stroke of the pen this afternoon, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear brought a special session of the Kentucky General Assembly to a close and relief to county and city governments across the state.

Beshear signed into law House Bill 1, the Pension Reform Act. Counties, cities and school districts are expected to receive immediate savings of about $56 million, and the state's unfunded pension liability is expected to decrease by billions of dollars, the governor's office said in a news release."

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Holy Moly - Now Napa Is Going To Run The Vallejo Play

Napa risks bankruptcy unless pensions, benefits reduced | Napa Valley Register:

"The city and county of Napa could risk bankruptcy if they do not reduce their generous pensions and post-employment benefits, according to a report by the Napa County Grand Jury.

In order to avoid a fiscal situation like that of Vallejo, which recently filed for bankruptcy, the grand jury said Napa County and the city of Napa must reduce the escalating costs of employee benefits."

Mesa Cops Ridiculed For Donning and Dofffing Lawsuit

Richarson: Mesa,
Phoenix police unions put their wallets ahead of public safety | Voices |

"My top three reasons why Mesa Police Association members think they should be paid to get dressed for work (inspired by a story in the Fresno Bee):

3. It's stressful looking in the mirror and wondering if the Glock on one hip and a Taser on the other makes your butt look big.

2. Doughnut fingers make dressing difficult.

1. Because they're greedy."

Friday, June 27, 2008

Vallejo Unions Fight Bankruoptcy Petition

City workers object to Vallejo's bankruptcy claim: "

(06-27) 17:03 PDT Sacramento, CA (AP) -- Vallejo police, firefighters and other city workers asked a judge Friday to reject the city's bankruptcy petition, which the employees argued was filed solely to wrest deep salary cuts from them.

The workers concede that the city is in 'financial distress,' but argued there were better ways to fix the financial problems than with a bankruptcy petition."

Prince George County Wants To Cut Police Pay Raises

Pr. George's Budget Shortfall Reported -

"Prince George's County is facing a new budget shortfall of at least $46 million and wants to trim pay raises for its unionized workforce to close the gap, said labor leaders who met with County Executive Jack B. Johnson behind closed doors yesterday afternoon."

US Capitol Police Considers No Confidence Vote on Police Chief

Union Considers Vote on Police Chief - Roll Call

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Vallejo Bankruptcy challenges due by noon Friday - Vallejo Times Herald

Bankruptcy challenges due by noon Friday - Vallejo Times Herald:

"Challenges to Vallejo's bankruptcy filing are due in federal bankruptcy court by noon Friday.

Bankruptcy attorneys for the city and employee unions will meet later in the afternoon before U.S. Bankruptcy Court Eastern District Chief Judge Michael McManus to set dates for further hearings. Tentatively, July 23 has been set aside for a hearing on the city's request to nullify its four employee union contracts in order to emerge from bankruptcy."

Naples unions surprised by talks of layoffs, contract renegotiations : Naples : Naples Daily News

Naples unions surprised by talks of layoffs, contract renegotiations : Naples : Naples Daily News:

"An announcement that the city of Naples would likely lay off employees in the coming months took union officials, who represent about 275 city employees, by surprise.

So did the request by city officials to renegotiate union contracts about a year before they expire."

New Jersey Considers Not Honoring Promised Pensions

NJ Voices opinions from New Jersey -

"Will participants in the New Jersey state retirement plan lose their pensions if the plan runs out of money? The answer I kept getting was that they won't because those benefits are safeguarded by the state constitution. After some research, I concluded otherwise."

SanDiego.Moves To Cut Pension Benefits > News > Metro > San Diego's Pension Crisis -- Pension plan would cut back benefits:

"San Diego voters may get the chance in November to ratchet down retirement benefits for new city hires starting next year.

The changes would increase the minimum retirement age, reduce the maximum benefit payout and cut the taxpayer contribution to the retirements of city workers almost by half."

Omaha Police Union Plans Lawsuit Over Overtime - Omaha News Story - KETV Omaha

Police Union Plans Lawsuit Over Overtime - Omaha News Story - KETV Omaha:

"OMAHA, Neb. -- A lawsuit is about to be filed by the Omaha Police Union on behalf of four officers regarding overtime compensation claims denied by the city, KETV NewsWatch 7 has learned."

Seattle Police union contract wins panel's OK | Seattle Times Newspaper

Local News | Police union contract wins panel's OK | Seattle Times Newspaper:

"The proposed contract, which gives most officers a 25.6 percent raise over four years, would make Seattle officers the state's highest-paid. It includes recommendations to improve police accountability and changes to work shifts."

Chattanooga - Rural deputy pay low despite big duties, dangers

Rural deputy pay low despite big duties, dangers | Newsweek News |

"(MONTEAGLE, Tenn.) Grundy County sheriff's deputy Shane Tate, a father of five, was making $10.50 an hour when he was gunned down in the line of duty."

Ft. Worth Talks Break Off

City of Fort Worth rejects criticism by Fort Worth Police Officers Association:

"FORT WORTH — The City of Fort Worth rejects the criticism expressed today by the Fort Worth Police Officers Association on the progress of meet and confer negotiations. During negotiations on Tuesday, police union representatives offered a newly introduced one-year agreement and demanded that the city manager agree to this “last best and final offer” by the close of business that day."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Shreveport Police officers turning in their badges

SPD officers turning in their badges: "Some might call it a mass exodus. The Shreveport Police Union says officers are leaving by the dozens. It's a problem the union wants to make public."

Washington DC | Questions Surround Capitol Police Firings

MyFox Washington DC | Questions Surround Capitol Police Firings:

"WASHINGTON - The U.S. Capitol Police protect what some like to call democracy's greatest symbol—the seat of power in the nation's capitol.

Their officers are called on daily to protect congressmen and senators, but several weeks ago congressional and law enforcement sources say checks and balances were ignored. Officers were told they were hired despite the fact that some lied about past drug use had arrest records, or failed the psychological examination."

San Diego Council's key test

Council's key test | The San Diego Union-Tribune:

"Although significant progress has been made in restoring San Diego's financial health, the overhanging pension fund liability of $1.2 billion remains a pressing threat to long-term recovery. That's why it is absolutely imperative that the City Council adopt real pension reforms despite heavy counter pressures from public employee unions, which wield enormous influence over the council."

Tulsa World: Curtailing extra travel

Tulsa World: Curtailing extra travel: "Tulsa police officers as of July 15 will no longer be able to use their patrol cars for off-duty security jobs due to soaring gas prices, Police Chief Ron Palmer said."

Washington, DC - Chief Lanier lied about training of checkpoint officers says union

Lanier lied about training of checkpoint officers, union says -

"WASHINGTON (Map, News) - D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier gave “demonstrably false” testimony when she denied reports that untrained officers were dispatched to her controversial neighborhood barricades, a union representing D.C.’s rank-and-file police officers charged Monday."

San Bernardino County Cuts place jobs, benefits at risk

Cuts place jobs, benefits at risk - San Bernardino County Sun:

"SAN BERNARDINO - Confidential meetings between city employees and officials will play a significant role in determining which city services will be cut in order to balance the budget.

San Bernardino faces a $17.3million shortfall for the fiscal year beginning July 1, and just as cuts will affect the public, they will also impact those who work for the city.

Millions of dollars are at stake. Preliminary budget proposals include plans to lay off more than 50 full- and part-time city workers to cut nearly $1.4 million from the city payroll."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Louisiana - Police, firefighter raise OK'd

Police, firefighter raise OK'd | | The Advertiser:

"BATON ROUGE - The House voted late Friday to increase supplemental pay for police officers and firefighters but possibly not until July 1, 2009.

Lawmakers want to look at what's available for spending this year before promising an increase before 2009.

The bill by Sen. John Alario, D-Westwego, originally sought to increase supplemental pay from $425 to $500 a month this year but concerns of what it would do to this year's budget caused the House Appropriations Committee to defer it.

Just before recessing for lunch Friday, Speaker of the House Jim Tucker called for a special meeting of the committee. At that meeting, he urged the panel to approve the bill but delay implementation until next year.

Tucker got unanimous approval of the legislation and pledged that he would look at the budget to see if it was possible to fund it this year. He said he could amend the bill in a conference committee if there is almost $17 million available to do it this year."

San Luis Obispo County’s website | 06/19/2008 | SLO, police spar over pay raise decision

San Luis Obispo County’s website | 06/19/2008 | SLO, police spar over pay raise decision: "With talk of a “chill” for hiring and travel expenses settling on City Hall, San Luis Obispo officials are digesting the results of an arbitrator’s ruling that made city police the highest paid public safety officers in the county.

The arbitrator’s decision, made public Saturday, increased officers’ annual salaries to a range of $71,800 to $97,700, as of July 1, from the existing range of $57,800 to $78,600.

In January, the top of the scale will reach $102,600."

San Luis Obispo County’s website | 06/20/2008 | SLO Chamber wants binding arbitration for police overturned

San Luis Obispo County’s website | 06/20/2008 | SLO Chamber wants binding arbitration for police overturned: "After a ruling on police salaries, SLO business group fears new sales tax revenue won’t be used as voters intended
By Sally Connell

The governing board of the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce has decided it would support, or even lead, an effort to change the city’s charter so public safety employees won’t be able to benefit from binding arbitration in the future."


The POLICEPAY Journal: "An Open Letter To Police Officers And Firefighters In California

"Recently the City of Vallejo filed a bankruptcy petition. An examination of the city’s financial statements shows that it is neither insolvent nor illiquid. The mayor and city council are quite candid about their motivation. They want to reject the contracts they have with their police officers and firefighters. Under Chapter 9 of the bankruptcy code, the court can grant this relief. Chapter 9 filings are for municipalities and are similar to businesses filing under Chapter 11. There will be no auction of the city’s assets. Business will go on as usual. If the city prevails, the only change will be the rejection of the two public safety contracts."

Philadelphia - SEPTA police ratify contract

SEPTA police ratify contract - Philadelphia Business Journal::

"After going 31 months without a contract, SEPTA police voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to ratify a new three-year pact.

Vallejo - Letter to editor from Ron York

It doesn't add up - Vallejo Times Herald

A letter to the editor from Ron York concerning the bankruptcy petition filed by the City of Vallejo.

So, the City of Vallejo claims it is bankrupt? The definition of bankrupt is insolvent (liabilities are greater than assets). By looking at page 13 of the latest Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) June 30,2007, it is obvious that the city is not insolvent. Total net assets (assets minus liabilities) were $624,524,666. Another characteristic associated with business bankruptcy (Chapter 11) is negative liquidity. The same page 13 shows current assets of $174,347,494 and current liabilities of $66,461,499. The City of Vallejo is not illiquid.
As for balancing the budget for FYE 2009, a look at page 124 of the CAFR sheds some light on this. The numbers on page 124 are for the governmental portion of the city's operations. For 2007, revenues were up by nearly $6,000,000, but expenditures were increased by more than $29,000,000. One interesting thing to look at is Community Development. The City of Vallejo spent $46,712,048 on Community Development for 2007, which is $7,000,000 more than what was spent on Police Services. I have read CAFR's all over the country, but I have never seen anything like that.
Look at Taxes under the revenue section. Taxes were reduced by more the $14,000,000 during 2005. No explanation is given, at least none I could find.
Maybe the police officers and firefighters are overpaid. Compared to where I live, everybody in Vallejo is overpaid. However, having prepared many wage surveys for police officers in California, including the San Francisco Bay area, Vallejo police officers are not overpaid. To effectively recruit and retain quality police officers, the City of Vallejo will have to pay wages that are competitive with other agencies in the area. I doubt that the city's strategy for dealing with high fuel prices is to insist that the fuel jobber charge less than the market price. I sure would not try that approach with the electric company. It is just as unwise to do it with public safety. Think about it.
My wife and spent a week last summer in Napa Valley and went to Vallejo, a very nice place. Best wishes to the Mayor and citizens of Vallejo. I hope things work out

Ron York