Thursday, July 31, 2008
July 31, 2008
The just released report from the United States Department of Commerce shows that the Real Gross Domestic Product grew by 1.9% during the last quarter. That is after inflation is removed. Once again, the "gurus" of the press have been proven wrong. As usual, they confused the actual facts with what they want the facts to be. Most of the left-wing press is rooting for the economy to fail. They see that failure as rebuke to the evil George W. Bush. Somewhere along the line they forgot that their job was to call the balls and the strikes, not to be the cheering quad and fixer for one side over the other. When it became apparent within the last month that the second quarter was going to show growth, the press changed their reporting and began singing "Feelings."
Okay, for all you pundits here is test. It is easy. I provide the answers.
1 - In what quarter were the most goods and services produced in the entire history of the United States, even after removing inflation? Answer: 2nd quarter of 2008.
2 - During which year were the most goods and services produced? Answer: 2007.
3 - What was the 2nd best year? Answer: 2006.
4 - What was the 3rd best year? Answer 2005.
Just because you hate the current occupant of the Whitehouse does not make the economy bad. The big lie about the economy has become a frequent political ploy. Remember in 1992, when Al Gore was claiming that it was the worst economy in 50 years? The facts show that 1992 was the greatest year in history through 1992.
One of the things that has been exaggerated is the impact of housing. Housing only represents 5% of the economy. The housing bust is only a correction of the speculation orgy caused by the federal government being Santa Claus by providing cheap money in the form of too much liquidity. There is still too much liquidity. Much of the current lending is being done at real negative interest rates. The Fed will eventually correct this - I think. Arthur Burns didn't during the seventies.
While we are not in a recession now, we have not developed an immunization. There is probably too much stimulation in the economy now, which will set the stage for excessive growth, which will lead to a recession in about two years. 2009 should have good growth, but 2010 will probably be over-the-top, which will setup 2011 for a real recession. The one thing that could change this is the price of oil. The world's oil supply is very unreliable, with the Middle East as the biggest producer. We have 21st century economy dependent on a 7th century culture that does not always act even in its best interest.
"By CHRIS RICHARD
San Bernardino police officers late Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected City Hall's request for pay and benefit concessions to help plug a $4 million budget gap.
Police union President Rich Lawhead said union members voted 210-14 to refuse the city's $1.3 million request.
Proposed concessions included a 2 percent reduction in raises mandated under the city charter this year, as well as temporarily eliminating a uniform allowance and suspending a policy to pay officers for unused sick and holiday time, Lawhead said."
"ST. PAUL -- One hundred off-duty St. Paul police officers plan to picket and protest their salaries Thursday at 10 a.m. from the Xcel Center to City Hall.
They say they live in the second largest city in the state with the second highest crime rate -- but their pay lags far behind."
Record Staff Writer
July 31, 2008 6:00 AM
STOCKTON - The union representing the Stockton Police Department's rank and file has filed a claim against the city, saying a 9.5 percent raise budgeted by the city is not enough under the terms of a 2005 agreement.
A memorandum of understanding between the city and the Stockton Police Officers Association called for a survey in May of compensation at 12 other California police departments - six cities larger and six smaller than Stockton, by population.
According to the memorandum, the compensation of Stockton's officers should be in line with the 'bottom of the top one-third' of surveyed cities."
"Ventura officials have negotiated a new labor contract that would give sworn firefighters raises and a costly pension upgrade at a time of struggling city finances.
Officials say the enhanced benefits unveiled Wednesday are necessary to recruit and retain a work force in an area where other agencies offer sweeter compensation packages."
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
"July 30, 2008 - 7:22PM
The Beaumont Police Officers Association has filed a grievance saying the Assistant Police Chief in Beaumont has been getting a salary above his pay grade in what union members are calling a side deal with the city.
The Association says Weldon Dunlap's salary is in violation of the Union's Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The Beaumont Police Officers Association negotiates salaries based on pay grades."
E-mail | Biography
The Jackson Police Department is putting the call out for new recruits as more officers quit the force. Just this week, four officers turned in letters of resignation.
'Due to the fact that our manpower is very limited, and due to the fact that our overtime is very limited, we may have to do some creative things,' said Assistant Police Chief Lee Vance."
ORANGE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING
Good morning, Honorable Chairman and Board Members.
My name is Jack Dean. I’m president of FACT, which is an acronym for the Fullerton Association of Concerned Taxpayers. I’m here today to ask you to put this measure on the ballot.
Under the auspices of FACT, I publish a website called PensionTsunami.com which tracks — on a daily basis — the ever-growing number of financial crises popping up in states, counties and cities across the nation caused by overly-generous public employee pensions and benefits which were promised in the past by elected officials.
I could regale you with many tales of governments in trouble. For example, Atlanta, Georgia is in the news this week struggling to deal with its $1.2 billion unfunded pension liability. The city of Vallejo in northern California is currently in bankruptcy proceedings, and while most news reports focus on a $16 million budget deficit, it is instructive to note that Vallejo’s top two debts are its unfunded pension and health care benefits totaling nearly a quarter of a billion dollars.
But this is a digression from my purpose in being here today, and we have our own unfunded liability right here in Orange County.
I was motivated to launch the Pension Tsunami website four years ago in 2004 shortly after that Board of Supervisors voted to change Orange County’s pension formula, thereby giving employees an outrageous 62% increase in their pensions.
A year earlier — in 2003 — the Orange County Grand Jury had addressed the escalating costs of public employee pensions and
benefits in a report it issued titled, “Who Represents Orange County Taxpayers?” By their vote in 2004, it was apparent that the Supervisors then in office DID NOT.
While pension benefits legally granted by a previous board cannot be taken back, this board has an opportunity to let the taxpayers speak for themselves regarding any future benefit hikes.
Let the taxpayers see how much county employees are paid and how much their pension increases amount to.
And let the taxpayers decide whether the benefits are fair and whether they want to pay for them.
Ideally, the way to totally eliminate the potential for any future unfunded liability is to freeze the current defined-benefit plan and set up a second tier defined-contribution plan for all new hires. But since that option is not on the table today, FACT will settle for this charter amendment.
Please. Put this on the ballot. Let the taxpayers decide.
Note from Ron York
Jack Dean is part of the Libertarian Party movement. He has run several times for political office in California on the Libertarian ticket. He was a key player in Harry Browne's campaign for president as a Libertarian. In addition, he is closely aligned with the Howard Jarvis group. Concerning pay and benefits for public safety, he is the opposition. However, Jack is a decent and good person. You just need to pay attention to what he has to say. His opinion has a lot of influence on the other side.
"By Christian Berthelsen, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
July 30, 2008
Orange County supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to place a measure on the November ballot letting voters decide if future pension increases for county government workers should be put to a public vote.
If approved by voters as part of the Nov. 4 general election ballot, the measure would amend the county's charter to require that retirement benefit increases for county workers be approved by a majority of voters, with a study of the benefits' cost published in ballot pamphlets.
The county could still award cost-of-living adjustments without voter approval. If approved, the new measure would take effect in January."
"By Rachel Carter
LONGMONT — Voters will decide in November whether to allow the city’s police and fire departments to unionize.
The Longmont City Council voted 4-3 Tuesday night to draft a city charter amendment for November’s ballot that would allow police and fire employees to form a collective bargaining unit.
Although the election is more than three months away, the discussion already had heat Tuesday night as tension mounted among union organizers, city officials and City Council members themselves."
By Justin Cox
Killeen Daily Herald
"Additions to the police department top the priority list for the city's proposed budget with 18 new officers and 15 new cars budgeted for next year, totaling more than $1 million in additional funding.
About 55 percent of the general fund is allocated to the police and fire departments.
After the departments presented their budget proposals, there remains $22 million in needs that are unfunded in next year's budget. Part of the money for next year will go to the 4 percent increase in an additional pay period next year. Every 11 years, entities that use a two-week payroll system pay out a 27th pay period instead of the usual 26.
Killeen Police Department salaries rank about 3 percent below the average in pay for cities of similar size. With the extra pay period, officers are just above average in starting pay at $39,154.
Several members of the police and emergency departments voiced their wish to the council that in fiscal year 2009-10, they balance the budget so that they maintain the pay for a regular year that they'll get next year. This past year they received on average $1,100 less."
By Joe VanHoose
"OCALA - Fear of layoffs and fewer benefits at the Marion County Sheriff's Office has led more than 70 deputies to push for a union, union leaders say. Two labor unions will compete for a majority vote in an upcoming election to represent about 250 deputies in the agency.
The Florida State Fraternal Order of Police and Florida Police Benevolent Association have both filed petitions to assume collective bargaining duties. There is currently no union representation. If either union gets a 50-percent-plus-one majority vote in a special election among eligible deputies, that group would become the exclusive bargaining representative."
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Ron Cottingham, President
Vallejo POA is in a battle that none of us ever want to be in, but the major question is; will your city or county try to do this to you? The city fathers of Vallejo are using bankruptcy to break the contract with Vallejo POA, Vallejo Fire Fighters Association, and municipal employees. The bankruptcy is self-created by the city and after numerous rounds of negotiations these employee groups have offered contract savings totaling $10 million in savings to the city. THE CITY WANTS MORE. The city wants to break the contracts. Vallejo POA members alone have given up 6.5% of pay. The city is also using the self-created bankruptcy to void a bargained 4% pay increase. The city is using self-created bankruptcy to set aside payments due retirees for accrued leave balances. Next the city wants to use the self-created bankruptcy to void the collective bargaining agreements. If this works in Vallejo could other cities or counties use the same tactics to break collective bargaining agreements?
What can they do? Vallejo POA is doing the only thing thev can do at this point; they are taking the city to federal court to try and prevent the bankruptcy. Vallejo POA members have been contributing 3% of their pay to this fight, but they are depleting the POA funds and the fight needs to continue.
What can you do? Steve Gordon, President Vallejo POA has asked for financial
assistance to continue this expensive battle. The PORAC Executive Committee has committed $25,000 from the state office to assist Vallejo POA, but that will not be enough. We are asking PORAC Chapters and Affiliates to assist in this battle. IF we stop this in Vallejo it stops it for everyone. Please read the attached letter from Steve Gordon for more details.
SEND CONTRIBUTIONS TO: VPOA Bankruptcy Fund. P.O. Box 4218, Vallejo. CA
Note: PIC Funds/accounts may be used for this contribution.
"(07-28) 21:12 PDT -- In the first six months of this year, 184 San Francisco city employees made at least $30,000 apiece in overtime, according to data obtained by The Chronicle.
And the top overtime earner of 2008 should be little surprise. Christian Kitchin, a nurse at the county jail, is on track to pull in even more pay than he did last year, when he made $216,000 in overtime, bringing his total earnings to about $350,000. So far this year, he's made nearly $128,000 in overtime."
By: Ted Costa
Published by: Laffer Associates
July 23, 2008
• California—predictably—appears poised to raise taxes and thereby exacerbate their economic slowdown. It is not a coincidence we’re seeing fiscal problems in one of the poorest-run states in the nation. This is precisely why it’s important to use the Laffer Associates State Competitive Environment rankings to guide your state-related investments.
Note from Ron York: California get ready. This is what is coming. The rest of the country you are next. The time to prepare is now.
By: Ron York
June 20, 2008
A plan to deal with the attack on pensions and pay for police officers and firefighters in California.
Click here to read the article
"Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 07/28/2008 09:38:10 PM PDT
SAN BERNARDINO - Police officers here may reject a 'cost sharing' proposal that's part of City Hall officials' efforts to solve a multi-million-dollar budget problem.
'It's probably going to go up in flames,' said Sgt. Rich Lawhead, president of the San Bernardino Police Officers Association.
Lawhead said members of the police union are slated to vote on the deal tonight.
During a telephone interview Monday morning, Lawhead declined to reveal specifics of the cost sharing plan because he had not yet provided that same information to members of the officers' union."
"Mayor Robert Duffy said his fight is not with the police union when it comes to disputing an arbitrator's decision to award $296,000 in back pay owed officers from 2006.
But the union has a bone to pick with him.
Duffy called a late-day news conference Monday to announce that the city would appeal the award, stemming from a temporary redeployment of 65 officers to stem a rash of city violence. Given that chances of overturning the ruling are slim, the mayor said he will ask the state to reform the arbitration system."
"By Sean F. Driscoll
Posted Jul 28, 2008 @ 10:34 PM
With the new school year just weeks away, the city and the Rockford School District seem to have reached an agreement over last year’s costs to provide police officers in high schools.
Under the deal, approved Monday by the City Council’s Finance and Personnel Committee, the School District will pay $705,000 for eight officers and a sergeant. That leaves the city paying about $18,000."
Monday, July 28, 2008
"Wage concessions aren’t in the future for the city’s unions.
Naples Assistant City Manager Roger Reinke said the city’s unions have declined to reopen negotiations. That means members of three of the city’s unions will not see lower wages next year."
Sunday, July 27, 2008
"Candidates for two council seats and the mayor’s job focus on the big topic: money
By Sally Connell
Even while there has been some shuffling of candidates in both the San Luis Obispo mayoral and City Council races, two issues at City Hall are already shaping up to be hot topics as the November election approaches.
They are the costs of binding arbitration for police and firefighters, and the council’s contentious 3-2 decision to sell downtown parking lots at a reduced price to Copeland Properties, the developers building the Chinatown Project.
Four candidates are running for two open council seats, and three candidates are running for mayor."
"To put the Austin police union's request for a pay raise of close to 16 percent, plus a 4 percent pension increase, over the next four years in perspective, consider these facts from a recent survey:
• Austin police officers at every level of experience already are the highest paid in Texas.
• The maximum base pay of $80,539 a year is $21,033 higher than the state average and $12,500 higher than second place Fort Worth."
Saturday, July 26, 2008
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Police Chief Joe Mokwa offered to retire and the offer was accepted today, one week after a scandal erupted over his daughter's free use of previously impounded cars held by a company with a lucrative towing contract with the Police Department.
Assistant Chief Stephen Pollihan was named interim chief.
Fresno City Council Member Brian Calhoun says, 'What we have are 50 people out of a community of a half-million who are pleading for an independent police auditor.'
Calhoun knows better. Last June, the Central California Criminal Justice Committee delivered 1,800 signed petitions of people calling for the city council to establish an independent police auditor position. On Oct. 31, organizations including San Joaquin College of Law, Interfaith Alliance, Communications Workers of America Local 9408, League of Women Voters of Fresno, El Concilio de Fresno Inc. and NAACP cosponsored a forum at Pacific College, 'Does Fresno Need an Independent Police Auditor?'"
By Jack Moran
Published: July 26, 2008 12:00AM
Eugene’s fledgling police oversight system is receiving a shake-up with the disclosure that its leader — police auditor Cristina Beamud — will resign to take a similar position with the city of Atlanta.
City officials were notified this week of Beamud’s decision, Mayor Kitty Piercy said."
"As gas prices continue to rise, budget-minded Lawrence police officers are volunteering to shoulder some of the cost for their take-home vehicles.
A proposal before Lawrence Fraternal Order of Police members would take $10 to $20 from their paychecks, said FOP President Tom Ashcraft. Officers who live outside the city already have the payroll deduction. Paychecks are issued every other week."
"Conflict of interest also cited in Friday ruling
By JESSICA A. YORK/Times-Herald staff writer
Article Launched: 07/26/2008 07:55:09 AM PDT
SACRAMENTO - A federal bankruptcy judge on Friday denied as premature a request to designate Vallejo's employee unions' legal counsel to represent city retirees.
U.S. District Judge Michael McManus announced his decision at the end of the third day of the city's Chapter 9 bankruptcy hearing, as union attorneys' cross-examination continued to try to disqualify Vallejo from bankruptcy protection.
Hearings in the case began Wednesday, and challenges to the city's insolvency are expected to continue at least through mid-August. The city initially filed for bankruptcy"
"By Ann Kelley
MIDWEST CITY — After picketing city hall this week, the police union was offered a better pay raise from the city, union officials said.
About 250 police officers, firefighters and their supporters, held a peaceful demonstration Tuesday in an effort to get city council members to consider their requests for higher wages."
By Rachel Carter and Scott Rochat
LONGMONT — Police and fire department employees will try once again to unionize.
Organizers will ask the Longmont City Council on Tuesday night to put a charter amendment on November’s ballot that would allow the departments to form a union — efforts they vowed to continue after voters defeated a similar measure in 2004.
The proposal — if council puts it on the ballot, and if voters approve it — would allow the police and fire departments to form a collective bargaining unit and require the city to negotiate pay, benefits and hours with its sworn police officers and firefighters, as well as community service officers, technicians and dispatchers."
"NEWARK — In a year when the city has had to eliminate 50 full-time equivalent positions, force non-public safety personnel to take a 5 percent pay cut, and shut down City Hall on alternate Fridays, the Newark Police Association has agreed to a new contract that reflects the city's ailing finances.
The two-year agreement calls for no raises this fiscal year, a 1 percent raise in July 2009 and a 2 percent salary increase in January 2010."
Friday, July 25, 2008
Last updated: 12:40 p.m., Friday, July 25, 2008
ALBANY -- Police dispatchers rejected a proposed contract settlement with the city, their union president said today.
The 35 dispatchers have been without a contract for almost three years. The city offered 3 percent raises retroactive for 2006 and 2007 and 4 percent raises for this year and 2009.
Christian Mesley, president of the Albany Police Officers Union, said the dispatchers were frustrated because they had been told early on they would get an increase in base pay as well as the percentage increase"
"FLINT, Michigan -- The city has been threatened with a federal lawsuit if it doesn't lift its ban on chatty police officers within 10 days.
The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday sent a letter to Flint Police Chief David Dicks outlining five demands in the wake of the police department's directive that officers can't speak to the media without permission."
"It’s time to set municipal salaries again in Kendallville.
Which means it’s time for the city to give its police department the short end of the stick again.
On Tuesday, Kendallville City Council is expected to vote for the third and final time on a salary ordinance that would give all city employees — including its 15 police officers — a $750 raise for 2009.
The across-the-board pay increase comes despite campaign promises from several council members and Mayor Suzanne Handshoe to try to do more to compensate its underpaid police department."
"By Kathleen Moore (Contact)
SCHENECTADY — Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett’s aggressive effort to handle discipline of police himself is again in jeopardy.
This time, the Schenectady police union is taking the city to court — and the union has legal precedent on its side.
An administrative law judge with the Public Employment Relations Board has ruled that Albany cannot use an old charter, which dates back to 1903, to defend its recent decision to give its police chief disciplinary powers."
Thursday, July 24, 2008
My wife and I 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.
"By JESSICA A. YORK/Times-Herald staff writer
SACRAMENTO - Resurrecting negotiations with its employee unions could be Vallejo's next step in its Chapter 9 bankruptcy saga, attorneys for the city and unions agreed Wednesday.
The attorneys disagreed, however, on what that would mean for Vallejo's future.
Opening arguments in Vallejo's bankruptcy filing were heard in U.S. Bankruptcy Court before Chief Justice Michael McManus on Wednesday. McManus must first decide if the city meets the criteria for bankruptcy before he considers voiding employee union contracts, set to expire in June 2010."
By Andrew Ward
SACRAMENTO - Is Vallejo, Calif., broke or just unwilling to pay its bills? That's the first question Judge Michael McManus will have to answer in the San Francisco Bay Area city's bankruptcy case. Lawyers representing the city and its employee unions made opening statements Wednesday in the U.S. District
Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento.
"By Tony Plohetski
Thursday, July 24, 2008
The average salaries of Austin police officers and firefighters continue to outpace their counterparts in other Texas cities, generally by 20 percent or more, according to a study by an independent consultant.
The maximum pay for Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services paramedics also remained higher than salaries in several other cities, including Boston, Denver and Baton Rouge, La., the study said."
"By Jennifer Jacob / staff writer
Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie doesn't think his officers are paid enough for what they do.
The Lauderdale County Sheriff's department recently received state accreditation, and Sollie said he called the other five state accredited law enforcement agencies in Mississippi and found that all of them have a higher base pay than Lauderdale County for deputies, sergeants, lieutenants and captains. Those agencies are the Picayune Police Department, the Hattiesburg Police Department, the Mississippi State Campus Police, the Madison Police Department, and the Starkville Police Department."
"By MARK BOWES
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
Chesterfield County has hammered out a new pay plan for its police officers that officials say should make the department more competitive locally and address long-standing salary inequities within its ranks.
Using budget funds totaling about $900,000, the new salary structure will raise the department's starting pay by $1,000 and provide raises of varying amounts to veterans, depending on their years of service."
"STAMFORD - The city will appeal an arbitrator's decision to reinstate an officer fired last year after he was accused of purchasing stolen goods from a friend, the city's director of legal affairs said.
Thomas Cassone said he would not say on what grounds the city planned its appeal.
Officer Joseph Rainone, a 22-year veteran, was fired by the Police Commission in September, and he appealed that decision. An independent arbitrator ruled last week that he should be fully reinstated with back pay."
"SCHENECTADY -- Schenectady Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett can continue to be the ultimate judge of officer discipline after the governor vetoed a police bill requiring the action to be negotiable.
The bill Gov. David Paterson rejected Wednesday would have also required arbitrators to handle all disciplinary hearings when government officials and police unions cannot resolve cases."
"COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Officers Association (CPOA) sent a press release Monday trying to pressure the committee to get a say on who's on the Citizens Review Board.
A six-person working group who reports to the full Citizens Oversight Committee met Wednesday to discuss the issue. The proposal is not due for two months, and the committee thinks it's too early for the police union to worry about details."
Police union OKs contract with Broward sheriff calling for 3% raises -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
"The union that represents 1,400 Broward Sheriff's deputies voted to accept a three-year contract with the Sheriff's Office after months of wrangling.
Tuesday's contract passed with more than 90 percent voting 'yes,' said Dick Brickman, president of the Broward County Police Benevolent Association. Sheriff's Office law enforcement deputies have been working without a contract since October."
"Smaller than normal year-end bonuses have stalled labor talks between Lawrence police officers and City Hall, and it appears likely that talks with Lawrence firefighters are also headed toward an impasse.
On Wednesday, representatives with both the Lawrence Police Officer’s Association and the city’s management team confirmed that negotiations over a new work agreement for police officers were declared to have reached an impasse last week."
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Police Union Second Vice President Joe Cruz said union members organized the demonstration to draw attention to issues in the departments' labor contracts, which are under negotiation with the city."
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
"The Wausau police officers’ union voted last week to reject a proposed 12-hour shift, Wausau Police Chief Jeff Hardel said today.
Hardel proposed switching from an eight-hour shift to the 12-hour shift to help reduce the amount of overtime the department incurs. A staffing shortage, crime and officers spending time in court testifying contributed to the $444,406 spent in 2007 for overtime, he said."
"SAN DIEGO -- Mayor Jerry Sanders announced Tuesday that he reached a tentative deal with three city unions for overhauling the pension plan for new hires without having to go to voters.
The City Council had been scheduled to vote Tuesday on approving a November ballot measure.
'One of the immediate benefits of the agreement is it will keep the measure off the ballot in November and avoid threatened costly litigation,' Sanders said."
"Their job is to protect and to serve but at what price? Officers from the union that represents the Midwest City Police Department say they are negotiating with the city but the two parties can't meet in the middle. Union officials are asking for a 4.4 percent raise, and the city has approved 4.08 percent.
'We're 18,000 apart, we've agreed to give up two personal days off which is equal to 27,000,' said Lonnie Bray, Union First, Vice President."
"by Rory Brown
The mass exodus of police officers from the city from 2005 to 2007 took a serious toll on the understaffed police department, according to the testimony of Menlo Park cops, city officials and City Council members.
It turns out the high turnover rate also took a toll on the city's budget."
"By DAN BAULCH/Staff Reporter
Beaver Dam Mayor Tom Kennedy feels the city's negotiations with its bargaining units could use a personal touch.
Kennedy went before the administrative committee Monday night and presented his ideas for the next round of union negotiations. Although the meeting with the city's labor attorney and alderpersons was held in closed session, Kennedy has made it clear that he thinks there should be a change in the way the city deals with its employees.
Kennedy told the Daily Citizen that he feels the majority of discussions should be held without the city's labor attorney or union lawyers. He said a team including himself and administrative director John Somers would meet directly with union presidents, such as Lee Smith of the firefighter's union."
"By Suzie Schottelkotte
Published: Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 6:33 a.m.
BARTOW | City commissioners in Bartow decided Monday night to reject a proposed contract with the Polk County Sheriff's Office and pump the necessary money into the city's Police Department to make it more effective."
"Jason Auslander | The New Mexican
7/21/2008 - 7/22/08
Last year at this time, Santa Fe's residential burglary rate was skyrocketing out of control amid a flurry of problems afflicting the Police Department.
This year, the story is different.
Recently released department statistics show the residential burglary rate dropped by 27 percent from January to June this year as compared to the same time period in 2007. The homes of Santa Fe residents were robbed 244 times in the first six months of 2008 versus 336 times between January and June 2007, according to the statistics."
"City wants to end special bonuses; union gives own proposal.
By Tony Plohetski
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Austin officials want to revoke a special pay raise they have given police officers during the past five years, saying they can no longer afford the yearly increases that have cost the city $33 million since 2004.
But police union representatives on Monday rejected the city's offer for how they would be paid during the next five years, saying that they still deserve certain bonuses because of the danger of their jobs."
"By: SLOAN BREWSTER, Press staff
MIDDLETOWN - Michael Marino, president of Police Union Local 1361, is perplexed at comments made by Common Council member Robert Santangelo during discussions for a new contract for city firefighters.
'They were perplexing in the sense that, is this police department and the men and women here less dedicated [than the fire department]?' Marino said. 'It just seems that we are the whipping posts of the Common Council. It's a morale killer.'"
"By Edward Iwata, USA TODAY
VALLEJO, Calif. — His roots run deep here. As a kid, 55-year-old contractor Randy Golovich played baseball, worked at the corner gas station, chased girls at the local soda counter. He helped his late father, a foreman at the old Mare Island Naval Shipyard, rebuild the family house.
The chummy, fast-talking Golovich also earned a good living in this waterfront suburb an hour's drive northeast of San Francisco. As Vallejo grew, his contracting business, Randu Originals Ceramic Tile, hauled in millions of dollars in sales over the years. The jobs kept coming. The economy kept booming. Traffic filled Tennessee Street outside his showroom."
With gas prices up, fuel has become a hot commodity among thieves looking for opportunities to steal it and no one is immune, not even the police.
Police cars parked outside the southwest precinct at 96th Street and Mockingbird Drive were apparently no deterrent to a gas siphoning thief.
“I don't know what would be going through the mind of a criminal that would be that bold to steal gas from a police officer's vehicle in a police lot,' says Omaha Police Union President Aaron Hanson."
"Baton Rouge facilities called inadequate
* By KIMBERLY VETTER
* Advocate staff writer
* Published: Jul 22, 2008 - UPDATED: 12:05 a.m.
Standing in a hot, unair-conditioned gymnasium where police recruits train daily, several law enforcement and Baton Rouge Fire Department officials on Monday endorsed Mayor-President Kip Holden’s proposed $989 million, 30-year bond issue."
"By Robert C. J. Parry
Article Launched: 07/21/2008 06:16:05 PM PDT
IN late May, as negotiations between the Monrovia Police Officers' Association and the city of Monrovia were once again heating up, I authored a column in this space urging the city to abandon its method of calculating police officer pay ('Monrovia clouds officer pay raises,' May 20). I argued that their method misrepresented the amount that truly ended up in cops' pockets because it included the city's contribution to the state retirement pool - the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS). While expensive - in fact far more expensive than what most other cities pay - that calculation placed Monrovia at a severe disadvantage in recruiting and retaining officers. Because no other city counts those funds that are sent to Sacramento as part of an officer's paycheck, MPD cops live on less than their counterparts."
"By Ann Kelley, Staff Writer
MIDWEST CITY — Members of the city's police union are asking supporters to pack city council chambers tonight in hopes of preventing a drawn-out battle over the union's employment contract.
email@example.com; (860) 425-4231
Posted Jul 22, 2008 @ 03:00 AM
Norwich, Conn. —
Norwich Police Chief Louis J. Fusaro Sr. told the City Council Monday night that he is now meeting daily with his command staff and has increased training hours per officer as part of changes instituted after a 2007 report uncovered problems with morale and discipline."
"By CHRIS RICHARD
Budget-balancing talks have stalled between San Bernardino officials and the city's largest union after officials refused to stop layoffs in exchange for employees' commitment to take unpaid leave, a union representative said Monday.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Sheriff's Office employees who live outside Martin County, FL and take company cars home will pay charge : Martin County : TCPalm
"Martin County Sheriff’s Office workers who live in the county won’t have to help pay fuel surcharges if they drive a county car home.
But those who live outside the county will."
"Dustin Speckels had plans.
His family is from Coleman, so he moved from College Station to San Angelo with his wife, who gave birth to a daughter. They bought a house. They settled down.
Twenty-eight months later, the San Angelo Police Department patrol officer is leaving."
Sunday, July 20, 2008
"A contract under which the city would pay the Polk County Sheriff's Office to take over police services in Bartow will be considered by the Bartow City Commission on Monday.
The 27-page contract, completed by the sheriff's office about 5:45 p.m. Friday, is for a three-year period, beginning Oct. 1 of this year.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
"ST. PETERSBURG -- St. Petersburg is cutting benefits for the next generation of police officers, firefighters and paramedics. In labor negotiations, it's called a 'giveback' -- and a lot of public sector workers will be giving back benefits in the years ahead."
"The Fresno Police Officers Association has dropped its neutral stance and come out in support of Henry T. Perea for mayor of Fresno.
The FPOA, which represents 11,000 current and former police officers, did not endorse a candidate in the June primary election"
Friday, July 18, 2008
"Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre says his decision to shift all patrol officers from the Northwest Substation was based, largely, on skyrocketing overtime costs he associates with recent raises. NBC 24 obtained the salaries and overtime pay for every police officer in the Toledo Department, and the figures were staggering. More than a dozen officers made more than $5000 in overtime in just three months. And one officer made more than $14,000 in that time--bringing home a paycheck even bigger than the chief's. The one you talked about is a sergeant', Navarre says, 'He waited till this year to take that and cash out his comp time payout. Because it's a higher rate of pay'."
"City employees picketed once again outside St. Louis City Hall on Friday morning, demanding raises and merit increases.
'It's time to stop playing politics with employees' pay raises,' said Ted Williams, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 410, in a statement. 'The unions have bargained in good faith, the citizens voted for a 1.5 percent sales tax increase trusting that the monies would be used for employees' pay raises.'"
"Each of us is committed to the responsible reform of the city of San Diego's current retirement system for future municipal employees. That is why we fashioned a proposal that is fair to both taxpayers and the future non-public safety employees to which this proposal will apply."
Thursday, July 17, 2008
"Lawton_The Lawton Police Officers' Union says that not only is a recent arbitration ruling unfair to its members, it's also invalid. On Wednesday, the union asked the City of Lawton for a 4.5% cost of living adjustment on the upcoming one-year contract, but a judge sided with the city and denied the request. The union says it will fight the ruling based on a technicality because it claims the arbitration judge failed to issue his ruling by a set deadline. They say that while the award was issued on paper, the judge failed to sign off on it in time."
"The city’s looming budget crunch has Mayor Tom Henry contemplating a salary freeze for city employees."
"Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called on the chief of the U.S. Capitol Police to ensure strong morale within his department on Wednesday.
“We don’t want an adversarial relationship within the department,” said Feinstein at a Senate Rules and Administration Committee hearing. “I very much hope that the chief [of police] will take some action to improve interaction.”"
"Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez has agreed to meet today with members of four sheriff's employee associations to hear their concerns a day after they blasted her for lack of leadership and inaction during the current budget crisis."
"Gov. David Paterson came into office in March with an invisible tag pinned to his lapel: friend of labor. The tag got there both because of Paterson's record in the State Senate and because his father, Basil Paterson, has served for years as a lobbyist for big public-sector unions. So, the governor's wisdom in dealing with this particular special interest group has been under a microscope from day one - and likely will be until he hangs up his spurs."
"The late spring headlines about labor negotiations in the San Bernardino County city of Rialto were absolutely stunning, considering the context. 'Rialto pension plan OK increases city obligations,' blared one local newspaper."
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
"Lawton_Representatives say the City of Lawton does not have enough money to provide a cost of living raise for the Lawton Police Officers' Union. For perhaps the first time in Lawton's history, arbitration sided with the city in the decision."
"This morning, Police Chief Rosie Sizer hit up the city council for $510,776 to cover cop overtime. This is about 'making hard choices,' Sizer says, as she tries to juggle a short staffed police force with things like cops' vacation requests and 'the visits that will occur with the fall election cycle,' i.e. providing security for Obama and McCain.
Sizer says she'll do all she can 'to live within our means' with this new money, while the bureau also focuses on recruitment to solve the problem in the long term."
"Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) expressed her concern over worsening morale within the U.S. Capitol Police Department Wednesday.
“We don’t want an adversarial relationship within the department,” said Feinstein at a Senate Rules and Administration Committee hearing. “I very much hope that the chief [of police] will take some action to improve interaction.”"
Testimony of US Capitol Police Chief, Phillip Morse
Testimony of US Capitol Police Labor Committee (FOP) president, Matt Tighe
Testimony of Department of Homeland Security Director, Richard M. Stana
Video Of The Hearing
"Fifteen of the 20 Buffalo police officers who would lose taxpayer-provided takehome vehicles under Mayor Byron W. Brown’s cost-cutting plan live in the suburbs, The Buffalo News has learned."
"As Buffalo’s police union temporarily fended off Mayor Byron W. Brown’s push to force 20 officers to return take-home cars, the union chief hinted that police won’t support Brown if he seeks re-election."
"The San Luis Obispo City Council prepares for what could be a heated debate on a ruling that will mean a raise for police officers."
"Y our recent discussion on “binding arbitration” and published viewpoints of Mayor Romero, Councilman Brown and public safety representatives Dale Strobridge and Erik Baskin (July 13) all are guilty of using improper terminology and as a result may have seriously misinformed your readers."
"Casper's Fraternal Order of Police lodge isn't a union, but it's trying to act like one. Its officials released a report about staffing and pay issues and tried, unsuccessfully, to meet with the entire City Council at a work session.
The council was right to refuse the request, but two members of the council with strong police ties privately met with the group: retired Casper police lieutenant Maury Daubin, a FOP member, and Kenyne Schlager, wife of a retired police officer. The meeting calls into question whether Daubin and Schlager are representing all of their constituents or this fraternal organization."
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
The Santa Rosa City Council will decide Tuesday whether to approve a settlement that would give back pay to police officers who weren't paid to dress or undress their uniforms off the clock.
Under the proposed $240,000 settlement, the 80 officers who sued the city would share $156,422.99, with $83,557.01 going for attorneys' fees."
"For the second time this month, Police Chief Tim Vasquez is set to approach the San Angelo City Council - this time to lay at its feet a recruitment problem that has vexed him for much of his four-plus years in office.
Citing low pay as the principal reason for a shortage that has the San Angelo Police Department down nearly 20 percent from its 159 maximum allotted officers, Vasquez said he will ask for money to finance signing bonuses for recruits and higher wages for the department's two lowest tiers of officers."
Retired city workers' insurance takes a hit | Gainesville.com | The Gainesville Sun | Gainesville, FL
"Retired city of Gainesville employees will begin to feel the impact of a compromise change made Monday night to their health insurance program - for some age groups, that could mean paying about $128 more a month in five years.
The idea of reducing the city's contribution to the health insurance of retirees was first brought forward in April, but opposition from retirees accusing the city of retracting on a contractual agreement delayed the commission's decisions."
Monday, July 14, 2008
"U.S. Capitol Police Chief Phillip Morse received overwhelmingly low marks from his officers, according to a survey released Monday.
Rep. Robert Brady (D-Pa.), chairman of the House Administration Committee, said the survey results were disconcerting and demanded a closer look.
“I am concerned about the dissatisfaction expressed by the union members,” Brady said in a statement. “I urge Chief Morse to continue to focus on communicating with the officers and to expand efforts to highlight the work of the force and the successes being achieved. Enhanced internal communications will only serve to increase the effectiveness of the organization.”"
McALLEN - City and police union leaders have reached an undisclosed settlement in a lawsuit that could also end their longstanding feud, attorneys said Monday.
McAllen City Attorney Kevin Pagan said he expected an announcement on a settlement in the next two or three weeks.
'I just want to wait and see,' he said.
The union's attorney sounded a bit more definite."
"U.S. Capitol Police Chief Phillip Morse received overwhelmingly unfavorable results in a survey of officers that was released Monday.
More than 300 officers responded to the online survey, which posed a series of statements centering on Morse’s job performance and asked participants whether they agreed or disagreed with them. Out of the ten questions, the chief did not receive higher than a 16 percent approval rating."
Star-Tribune staff writer
Monday, July 14, 2008 6:51 AM MDT
The city and members of the Casper Police Department are at odds over a report questioning staffing levels and salaries for officers.
More policemen are needed to lower the city's crime rate and higher salaries and benefits will make the department more attractive to job seekers, according to the Casper lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police.
'Our city just deserves to have better than what it does now,' said Casper police officer Scott Jones, president to the Casper lodge of the FOP."
"Mayor John Hickenlooper wasn't kidding when he reaffirmed his commitment to public safety earlier this month.
The top brass at the Denver police, fire and sheriff's departments are all poised to get 4.25 percent pay raises this year.
The heads of each department - police Chief Gerry Whitman, fire Chief Nick Nuanes and Undersheriff Bill Lovingier - as well as their top lieutenants are also all guaranteed 4 percent pay raises in 2009 and agai n in 2010 under proposals the City Council will consider tonight."
The posters are tacked up in stadium bathroom in cities where jobs are scarce or departments are laying off officers, said Officer Greg Carlin, chief recruiter."
Sunday, July 13, 2008
"BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Buffalo's police union is heading to court over Mayor Byron Brown's decision to cut take-home cars.
The case will go before a judge Monday."
Federal judges in the past year have issued a string of conflicting opinions on whether cops are entitled to compensation for 'donning and doffing.' The U.S. Supreme Court will likely weigh in years from now. In the meantime, elected officials in many jurisdictions, fearing unfavorable court rulings or the political muscle of employee unions, are caving and agreeing to pay their officers for what most of us do for free."
BY CHUCK WILLIAMS - firstname.lastname@example.org --
It's a challenge that Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington and Police Chief Ricky Boren hope they get an opportunity to tackle.
Hiring police officers today has proven difficult for many cities. Most city and county law enforcement agencies in Georgia and the Southeast are having difficulty hiring and retaining qualified officers."
"Despite the vocal denunciations by many city and business leaders of what binding arbitration will cost San Luis Obispo, there seems to be no solid campaign shaping up yet for a citywide ballot measure to undo the process."
"B inding arbitration provides a fair and balanced process for resolving disputes regarding wages, benefits and working conditions. The citizens of this community enacted this charter measure for a reason. Let us not forget why."
Saturday, July 12, 2008
The longtime head of the Rochester police union, Evangelista was as well known for his unwavering support of cops as for his battles with police chiefs, City Hall and, occasionally, community activists.
Evangelista, who retired last month after 27 years as union president and 40 years as a police officer, always had clear goals: Back the men and women of law enforcement, look out for those who defend the community in frequently trying situations and let the chips fall where they may."
Friday, July 11, 2008
"The West Yellowstone town council moved to include police services in a market survey to help the town and the Montana Public Employee Association come to an agreement on what is a 'fair wage.' The council also discussed the benefits of annexing the fire department with the Hegben Basin Fire District.
This decision will enter into the negotiation process as a 'fact finding' portion of the arbitration. A survey of public worker compensation in similar towns and competing markets the town moved to conduct on June 27 will now include police positions."
Mayor Nutter's kinder, gentler approach to contract negotiations with city workers had its first victory yesterday with the signing of a new, one-year pact with police.
Reaching the agreement without a hint of the acrimony typically associated with trying to make a deal with Philadelphia's municipal employee unions is a welcome change. It's the kind of positive change voters expected when they elected Nutter last year."
"NORWALK, Conn. — As cities and states struggle with ballooning retirement costs, accounting rule makers started an ambitious project Thursday to force state and local governments to issue better numbers and reveal the true cost of their pension promises."
That's what one Houston Police Sergeant earned last year, not in base pay but in overtime alone. His total pay was more than $180,000 that year, according to documents obtained and published by the Houston Chronicle."
Thursday, July 10, 2008
"An arbitration panel has awarded the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police a one-year contract that includes a 3.5 percent wage increase for officers, a 10 percent health care savings for the city, and a new labor-management committee to work on further health-care savings, Mayor Nutter said this morning.
Nutter called the award a 'triple win' for the police, administration and city residents."
Click below to read the summary provided by FOP #5
"Palo Alto's management employees this month got the largest raise in at least five years, under terms of a salary plan approved by the city council this week.
Effective July 1, all city management and professional employees received a 3.5 percent raise and became eligible to purchase their own life insurance."
"It's not unheard-of for cities and towns to pay their police officers a little extra for using their computers. Both Newton and Natick do it. But Town Meeting members in Framingham turned down a request for such a stipend, with some angrily denouncing, even ridiculing, the job perk."
"WILLINGBORO — Patrolmen in the township's Police Department will receive about a 4 percent raise annually over a four-year period.
The Township Council approved a contract with the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 38 during its Tuesday night meeting. The union, which represents patrolmen, has been without a contract since Dec. 31, 2006. The contract is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2007 and expires Dec. 31, 2010.
Mayor Jacqueline Jennings called the contract “long overdue.”"
"A state arbitrator this week handed the city of Oshkosh its only victory out of five arbitration hearings with city unions.
Arbitrator Milo Flayton sided with the city's proposal to give the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 316 raises of 2.5 percent retroactive for 2007 and 2.75 percent raises in 2008 and 2009. The city's offer sheet also included one percent increases to health insurance premiums in both 2008 and 2009."
"Some of the nearly 600 city employees named in the back-pay lawsuit have filed letters objecting to a settlement reached in May.
They will have the chance to testify about the matter during a fairness hearing Friday. At that time, 15th Judicial District Judge Ed Rubin is slated to review the terms of the agreement and determine whether it is a fair settlement."
"The Mobile County Personnel Board is expected to make a decision Thursday morning on changing overtime pay for city workers.
Police officers and firefighters would be among the workers affected.
Mobile Mayor Sam Jones is asking the personnel board to change overtime rules.
The mayor said under his proposal, the city would be able to save enough money to raise salary levels overall.
Jones said, 'It is what we have to do to be competitive as a city. It is what we have to do to provide for the 2500 employees at the city of Mobile.'"
"Fort Wayne police officers will pay a bimonthly fee to take their cruisers home at night or for other personal use starting in August."
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
"The Coral Gables Police union, at odds with city management for years over contract issues, might get some relief from an unlikely source: Mayor Don Slesnick.
While Slesnick acknowledged a strained relationship with the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 -- which endorsed a mayoral challenger in last year's election -- he said the union president might have some valid points in his arguments against the city's actions.
After meeting with union president Eugene Gibbons, Slesnick told City Manager David Brown during a special workshop June 30 that he needed answers to some of the union's allegations."
This article is worth reading - Ron York
"Coincidently, Muncie city controller, Mary Ann Kratochvil, shared with the audience that upon returning to her home on Friday, July 4, she found her home on fire. She thanked the Muncie Fire Department for their hard work and expressed sincere appreciation.
She said she was “eternally grateful” to the firefighters who helped salvage her house. But, she added that with budget cuts the city has few choices but to layoff firefighters."
Standard-Times staff writer
July 09, 2008 6:00 AM
They haven't always seen eye to eye, but Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson and the Massachusetts Correctional Officers Federated Union have reached agreement on a new three-year contract.
The pact calls for 5 percent annual salary increases for each of the fiscal years beginning July 1, 2008, and ending June 30, 2011."
"The number of applicants has decreased in recent years. In the past, Henderson said, the department might receive more than 1,000 applications, but that hasn’t happened lately. He said that’s because the market is competitive — places such as Dallas offer a $10,000 signing bonus — and because the department is seeing fewer recruits from the military."
"AURORA — The second and final day of arbitration between the city and the firefighters union ended Tuesday without an agreement, with wages and benefits the key points of contention.
Both sides now will make closing statements in a written brief, and the arbitrator is expected to make a final decision in a few weeks.
Firefighters are seeking 5 percent pay raises in 2009 and 2010, but the city is offering only a 1 percent salary increase each year."
L.A. trash fee increase isn't all spent on hiring police officers, controller says - Los Angeles Times
July 9, 2008
The city of Los Angeles collected nearly three times as much money from new trash fees as it spent on the first two years of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's plan for hiring more police officers, according to a report issued Tuesday by City Controller Laura Chick.
The trash fee increase, levied to add 1,000 officers to the Los Angeles Police Department, has generated $137 million since 2006, according to the five-page report.
The 366 officers hired so far cost $47.2 million over the same period, with the rest of the new money going toward other increases to the LAPD budget, Chick said."
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
"by Melissa Bailey | July 8, 2008 8:37 AM |
Diving into the fray of stalled police contract negotiations, aldermen put forth suggestions on how to keep pensions and other costs from “bankrupting the city.”
The action, a letter sent Monday night by a group of aldermen to key players at the negotiation table, took place as the city continued to haggle with its police union over a new contract. The last one expired on June 30.
The aldermen’s action brought two debates to the fore: One over long-standing bedrocks of the city’s police contract, the other over the historic role of aldermen as alleged “rubber-stamps” of unpalatable City Hall decisions."
email@example.com [more details]
Published: July 08. 2008 6:00AM
The city of Erie is nearing the point where it must bring back what turned out to be a costly retirement program for its police officers and firefighters.
Erie County Judge John Garhart has rebuffed the city and affirmed an arbitrator's ruling that the city must restore the Deferred Option Retirement Program, or D.R.O.P."
Article Launched: 07/07/2008 11:30:48 PM PDT
SAN BERNARDINO - The City Council moved closer to filling its budget gap Monday, but critical decisions remain.
By a 6-1 vote, with 6th Ward Councilman Rikke Van Johnson being the lone dissenter, the council approved a package of budget moves that included a 5 percent pay cut for management.
The pay cut is expected to save more than $718,000.
The council also voted to spend $195,000 to keep 34 part-time crossing guards.
Votes on new taxes, whether to fund six police positions and other potential layoffs have yet to be cast."
"By Tom Saul | Sunday, July 6, 2008 11:49 PM CDT | (
The firefighter worked for eight months with the Rock Island Fire Department beginning in late 1999 before quitting when an offer from the East Moline department came along, he said. The reason? East Moline allowed him and his family to live where they already had roots."
University of New Mexico Police Officers Want Better Pay - Albuquerque News Story - KOAT Albuquerque
"ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- U.N.M police say they need better pay, but the university won't budge.
Contract negotiations for the Police Officer's Union are in full swing. The union's president said the university is only offering a two percent pay increase mandated by the state legislature. Union leaders said they need competitive pay to keep officers from leaving higher paying departments."
"RIALTO - A new contract between the city and its police officers union will provide officers with raises and a more generous pension package.
The general terms of the agreement were approved by the City Council in May, but the final draft of the version applying to Police Department managers was not made public until Monday. The version that applies to rank-and-file officers is near completion but hasn't been signed."
Monday, July 07, 2008
"Santa Fe city councilors are about to take on a happy task: deciding how to spend millions of dollars in unexpected revenue.
A mysterious increase in gross receipts tax money this spring gave the city $4 million it hadn't counted on."
"Hollywood - As officials grapple with closing a $14 million gap in next year's budget, and negotiate contracts with all of the city's unions, one commissioner says now is the time to take a look at employee benefits.
'When you look at the salaries, I feel they are more than justified,' said Commissioner Beam Furr, who has been decrying the high compensation costs for years. 'But when you start looking at other things such as pension contributions, that's the real kicker.'"
Sunday, July 06, 2008
"A California city’s bankruptcy filing is sounding a warning bell for cities across the land.
Minnesota and North Dakota cities, listen up.
Vallejo, Calif., is a city of 120,000 on the north end of San Francisco Bay. It’s neither especially rich nor especially poor; in 2004, it enjoyed an average household income of about $64,000, and about 10 percent of the population lived below the poverty line.
But Vallejo now stands out in one important way because it’s the biggest city in California ever to have filed for bankruptcy. The city filed for Chapter 9 protection in early May, citing labor and pension costs."
Friday, July 04, 2008
"The Declaration of Independence
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light"
For entire text, click the link at the top.
"Every day should be celebrated like the Fourth of July, complete with fireworks, flags, marching bands, a heralding of troops past and present, and a gathering of family and friends with all the hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and potato salad you can eat.
As a young girl, the Fourth of July was Christmas in July. No presents under a tree, of course, but lots of family and friends gathering together to eat, drink and rejoice. My grandmother Frances loved the Fourth of July. The daughter of former slaves, this celebration of freedom held a special meaning to her."
Thursday, July 03, 2008
"Vallejo's bankruptcy status may be determined as soon as the end of the month.
A federal bankruptcy judge will weigh in after five challenges were leveled last week against the city's Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing. A hearing is set to begin in the coming weeks.
Delaying a request to dissolve contracts between the city and its employee unions, Vallejo's bankruptcy attorney said he wants to have the bankruptcy question resolved sooner rather than later.
'We want to go forward as soon as possible,' attorney Marc Levinson said Friday, according to federal bankruptcy court records. 'The attorneys fees are mounting up and staggering on our side and I'm assuming (union attorney) Mr. (Dean) Gloster's side is running up fees as well.'
Levinson referred to the issue of employee contracts as the '800-pound gorilla in the corner.'"
"The county ended contract negotiations Tuesday with the organization representing Humboldt County public safety personnel, which recently rejected two offers to increase their salaries and benefits."
Police officers and firefighters often work a lot of overtime to make ends meet, which is understandable. They and other public employees also work a lot of overtime for the purpose of boosting their retirement pay. That's become a big problem for the state.
Click for Editorials & Op-Eds
Malisos prided himself in working so much overtime. His license plate read, 'OT KING.' As a public employee, Malisos' pension was based on his three highest-earning years, including overtime."
"PORT ST. LUCIE — Ongoing negotiations between police officers and the city over a new collective bargaining agreement have officially reached a standstill.
Negotiators for the International Union of Police Associations Local 6015 called off afternoon contract talks with the city's negotiating team Friday. Later in the day, union attorney Matt Mierzwa declared an impasse with the state Public Employees Relations Commission."
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
"Jul. 1--The Missouri Supreme Court ruled Monday that the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners violated state law when it made changes to the health insurance plans offered to retired police officers.
In 2006, the police board changed the health care plan, increasing deductibles, co-payments and coinsurance maximums for a basic coverage plan without a premium. Retirees also could get the more extensive coverage offered to current police officers for a $251-a-month premium. The St. Louis Police Officers Association sued, claiming the changes violated state law."
"For the next generation of troopers, it will mean working 25 years, instead of 20, before they get a pension that pays them 50 percent of their final salary in retirement."
"SAN BERNARDINO - The City Council has approved millions in spending cuts and other measures, but more work remains to be done before the city officials can say they have balanced the budget.
'We have $10 million taken care of. We have several million dollars to go after,' 6th Ward Councilman Rikke Van Johnson said by telephone Tuesday.
The cuts, approved during a special meeting on Monday night, not only amounted to slicing nearly $10.3 million from the fiscal 2008 budget but also marked the council's most significant action yet to solve a projected $17.3-million shortfall."
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
"JACKSONVILLE, FL -- Sheriff's officers who take their patrol cars home and use them for personal business could face paying a fee to help offset the cost of gas.
Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford is proposing a fee that would be determined by where the officer lives."