Friday, October 31, 2008
Mesa police could be hard hit by budget cuts:
Regardless of whether Mesa voters approve a $170 million public safety and street project bond on Tuesday, Police Chief George Gascón warns that his department is charging toward financial pain that could include cutting back the SWAT team and motorcycle patrols.
'We are going to be severely impacted,' Gascón said of pending budget cuts facing the city.
Department and union representatives have met regularly to determine how to best shrink the department's $162.2 million 2008-09 budget $5 million to $15 million, Gascón said. Depending on how deep those budget will cuts run, layoffs are possible."
City contract talks stall; sticking | River Falls Journal | River Falls, Wisconsin:
Debbie Griffin River Falls Journal
Published Friday, October 31, 2008
Contract negotiations between the city and three groups of its unionized employees began late last year and appear headed for arbitration."
Mt. Vernon Register-News - FOP negotiations have come to an impasse:
By TESA CULLI
MT. VERNON — Negotiations between the Fraternal Order of Police and Jefferson County have come to an impasse and the FOP has asked for federal mediation.
According to Bill Mehrtens, the FOP field representative, at issue are health insurance, layoffs discipline and salary increases."
Thursday, October 30, 2008
California Cities Cut Police Budgets - WSJ.com:
VALLEJO, Calif. -- When the economic crisis deepened this fall, this city already was losing scores of police and firefighters because it could no longer afford the rich salaries and benefits it offered after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Now, with crime on the rise and tax revenue sinking, this San Francisco Bay area city faces more cuts in police and fire department budgets."
By: Ron York
The Real Gross Domestic Product goes negative for the first time since 2001. The 3rd quarter GDP declined by 0.3% on an annual basis from the 2nd quarter. The 2nd quarter had a growth rate of 2.8%. The 4th quarter of 2007 showed a slight decline, but only after several revisions of GDP.
The 3rd quarter 2008 GDP is up 0.8% from the 3rd quarter 2007. Most of softening in the GDP occurred during September. Unless there is a serious turn around the 4th quarter of 2008 will be negative also.
By: Ron York
Vallejo, CA - The California Court of Appeal has ruled today against the Vallejo fire union president, Kurt Henke, and in favor of former and current city officials. The case was sent back to the district court for the determination of the amount of legal fees that Henke will have to pay the defendants. Speculation is that it is in excess of $200,000. In addition, Henke will have to pay his attorney, Alan Davis of San Francisco. That too could be in excess of $200,000.
The decision was critical of Henke and his attorney's argument. Apparently they did not consult the United States Constitution concerning free speech. Based on the findings, the appeal arrived D.O.A. While the word frivolous was not used, the contempt for Henke's case was obvious. Many people in Vallejo have suggested the lawsuit was politically motivated.
Soon after the decision was rendered, speculation began as to where the money would come from to pay for the legal fees. The fire union was not a party in the suit, only Henke. Will union money be used, or maybe money raised for the bankruptcy case? Until it is actually paid we will not know. There probably needs to be an accounting of the funds raised for the bankruptcy case.
Henke's supporters have been chastising the defendants for not settling by agreeing to not counter-sue for legal fees and damages. The defendants were not interested in paying the large legal fees for a case that had no merit. Today's decision takes one more log off the fire that is consuming Vallejo.
Read the decision for yourself
OCEAN CITY - New police officers will make nearly $5,000 less under the contract City Council approved this week.
The contract with the Policemen's Benevolent Association Local 61 also reflects a move to the state health-insurance system. The city for years insured its own employees, but lately costs have increased by double digits.
The city plans eventually to move all its employees to the state insurance policy, Business Administrator James Rutala said.
'Cost-containment with the self-insurance program is difficult,' he said. 'I think it's a fair contract. The PBA worked very hard with the city to develop the terms of this contract. It will help the city contain costs in the future.'"
Discouraged by slow negotiations with the city, the police union wants to make its case directly to city residents with a plan to implement a ranking system to increase wages by comparing police pay to that in other cities.
By ANTHONY LONETREE, Star Tribune
Last update: October 29, 2008 - 11:38 PM
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Below are some of the postings we have on our blog in support of Vallejo police and fire.
Letter from the unions to the public
Letter from PORAC asking for support for Vallejo
Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2008 9:38 AM
To: 'Mathew Mustard'
219 W. Boyd St., Suite 205
Norman, OK 73069
tel: (405) 701-8616
fax: (405) 701-8631
mobile: (405) 535-1516
Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner's planned three-day governmental shutdown to help reduce a potential $10 million deficit for 2008 could include temporary layoffs of 'nonessential' police officers.
But the head of the patrolman's union yesterday promised steps to block the idea.
Mr. Finkbeiner on Thursday announced measures to save the city
$1 million by shutting down all nonessential government business for three days - Nov. 26, Dec. 26, and Dec. 31 - and said police and fire protection would not be affected."
By David Siders
Record Staff Writer
October 29, 2008 6:00 AM
STOCKTON - City Manager Gordon Palmer said Tuesday that he is reconsidering his week-old proposal to close a firetruck company and to lay off 11 police officer trainees, negotiating with police and fire officials about alternative measures to reduce Stockton's $23.5million deficit.
The City Council late Tuesday put off a hearing on the matter, affording Palmer time to review - and perhaps revise - his recommended package of spending cuts before the council acts on it, likely next week"
By BRAD KELLAR
GREENVILLE — The Greenville City Council Tuesday approved an adjustment to the police officer pay plan first adopted last year.
The measure is expected to mean a slight increase in local police pay, but will be the final adjustment taken under the plan, according to Director of Human Resources Barry Robinson
“That agreement really ends with the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, 2008,” Robinson told the Council during Tuesday’s regular session."
MERIDEN - The police union has approved a tentative agreement with the city on a three-year contract, a move that will likely prevent arbitration.
Representatives on each side of the table said they are relieved and feel the agreement will allow the city and department to maintain a strong relationship."
Vallejo takes steps to fill budget gap:
(10-28) 18:28 PDT VALLEJO -- Vallejo is asking most city employees to take unpaid time off work to help close an unexpected $3 million budget gap.
City Manager Joe Tanner also volunteered to take a 10 percent pay cut off his $316,000 salary to help the ailing city, which filed for bankruptcy in May.
The city council was expected to give preliminary approval of the cuts tonight."
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
NEW ORLEANS -
Mayor Ray Nagin on Tuesday described a city well on its way to recovery from Hurricane Katrina yet hard-pressed to maintain its operations after the financial blow dealt by Hurricane Gustav and fallout from a pension fund deal that predated his administration.
His 2009 budget proposal calls for raising property taxes to generate more than $24 million to help replenish an emergency fund depleted by Gustav. Having reserves is seen as crucial to proving to state and federal officials and to the bond market that the city is on its way to financial self-sufficiency."
Flint police demotes several to save money : News : WEYI NBC25:
FLINT -- The Flint Police Department is reorganizing. Tuesday morning, several members of the police department were told they were being demoted. Here's how the demotions breakdown:
They were given written notice that the moves were an effort to save money, about $100,000 for the deparment total. We're told the Captains and Lieutenants Union does plan to file a grievance. We will keep you posted as that happens."
Mayor Nagin proposes record $1.16 billion budget - Breaking News from New Orleans - Times-Picayune - NOLA.com:
Brimming with optimism about New Orleans' recovery, Mayor Ray Nagin unveiled a record $1.16 billion operating budget Tuesday that relies on continued borrowing from the federal government and a $24 million property tax increase that City Council members appear reluctant to support."
By MIKE LEE
FORT WORTH -- Jeff Halstead, a 45-year-old police official from Phoenix, has been selected to be Fort Worth's new police chief, City Manager Dale Fisseler announced Tuesday.
Halstead is currently the commander of the Phoenix Police Department's Homeland Security Bureau.
The City Council will vote on the recommendation Nov. 11.
'This has been a tough decision because we had a number of outstanding candidates,' Fisseler said.
The city has been searching for a new chief since Ralph Mendoza retired earlier this year after a 35-year career."
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index™, which had improved moderately in September, fell to an all-time low in October. The Index now stands at 38.0 (1985=100), down from 61.4 in September. The Present Situation Index decreased to 41.9 from 61.1 last month. The Expectations Index declined to 35.5 from 61.5 in September.
The Consumer Confidence Survey™ is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by TNS. TNS is the world's largest custom research company. The cutoff date for October's preliminary results was October 21st."
By: Ron York
The just released Case-Shiller Index shows that the bubble in housing prices has been essentially eliminated in most major cities. San Francisco has made it back to the long-term trend line. Phoenix and San Diego are getting very close. Las Vegas is slightly behind, but close. Charts For Selected Cities
There should now be considerable liquidation of housing inventories in those markets. This will result in an increase in new home construction. Most of the windfall profits made by speculators and flippers have been given back by the people on the wrong end of the frenzy. Growth in construction should be slow in the beginning. Not only are buyers reluctant, builders are "gun shy." A lot of Rollaids have been consumed during the last three years.
updated 6 minutes ago
NEW YORK - A closely watched index shows home prices tumbled by the sharpest annual rate ever in August.
The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city housing index released Tuesday dropped a record 16.6 percent in August from the year-ago month, the largest drop since its inception in 2000. The 10-city index plunged 17.7 percent, its biggest decline in its 21-year history."
Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL): Oakland to protect officials' salaries, police funds at workers' expense:
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
By: Rachel Reynolds
Budget cuts across the country
PSLweb/Liberation takes a look at the anti-worker offensive taking place across the country in the form of budget cuts.
For the past several weeks, the bailout of some of the country’s largest banks has been the focal point of the deepening economic crisis, yet the impact of the financial collapse on local revenues is hard to overlook.
In response to the local $42 million deficit, the City Council of Oakland, Calif., voted 7-0 on Oct. 22 to lay off 100 city workers and close nearly 60 currently vacant positions. The council also decided to close city offices one day a month through June, in addition to closing between Dec. 25 and Jan. 2. Council members shamelessly approved increased parking meter fees and street sweeping violation fines coupled with infinitesimal cuts to elected officials’ salaries."
TPD struggles to find qualified recruits | Crime and safety:
Sgt. Jeffrey McCarthy retired from the Tucson Police Department in April after 35 years on the job. The next day he was back at work, volunteering his time.
'I exchanged one badge for another - one that says reserve - and continued doing what I was doing,' he said.
Now, in addition to working the occasional patrol shift and overseeing a West Side anti-drug outreach program, he is helping to resurrect an old TPD program that brings retired officers back to work."
Monday, October 27, 2008
Bridgeport police officers protesting mayor's lay off plans
BRIDGEPORT -- Andrew Abate, the city's longtime director of the Water Pollution Control Authority, is still in his office.
So are the 10 police officers Mayor Bill Finch planned to lay off because some -- particularly those in the department's top ranks -- were racking up too much overtime.
In fact, it's hard to find any workers who have actually been laid off because of Finch's recent order that 31 employees be axed from the city's payroll. The list was to include 10 high-ranking police officers, five park police officers, Abate and 15 other City Hall workers.
The layoffs were announced at the end of September, and were scheduled to take effect last Friday. But the only people laid off as of Monday were five members of the city's parks police force. And under union rules, the senior park police officer 'bumped' a school police cop and took his job."
Michael Carter, police union president
KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana |Police union pres calls mayor's veto cronyism:
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - For months the Shreveport City Council has looked for ways to fund a police pay raise, 'This pay raise is so important, it's all about public safety, it's all about keeping the streets safe,' says Shreveport City Council Member, Bryan Wooley. He says the pay raise would come from freed up funds that had been used for police retirement, and that every officer would get a raise. Mayor Glover vetoed the plan last Friday. 'This is the same old cronyism, same old good ole boy politics that Louisiana is famous for,' says Police union president, Michael Carter, he believes the veto was politically motivated. 'If he didn't think of it, or cannot take credit for it, then he is against it,' says Carter."
President John Balcerzak - Milwaukee Police Association
Crime has not been an issue in the presidential race. But former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani made it the subject of automated phone calls in Wisconsin, on behalf of Republican John McCain.
Guiliani said Democrat Barack Obama opposes mandatory prison sentences for sex offenders, drug dealers and murderers – something the Obama camp said was dishonest."
Bernardsville mulling options in attempting to settle police contract | mycentraljersey.com | MyCentralJersey.com:
BERNARDSVILLE —The borough council is scheduled to meet with its attorney on Monday, Oct. 27, to discuss the town's next step in attempts to settle a police contract that is 10 months overdue.
On Sunday, Oct. 26, Mayor Lee Honecker said officials believed they had reached a settlement with the police bargaining unit about two weeks ago, but negotiations fell through. Police have been working under the terms of an expired contract since
the end of 2007."
A Rockford Peach (circa 1944)
ROCKFORD — The Rockford City Council tonight certified a labor agreement with city firefighters nearly three years in the making.
The agreement covers most of the last three years and expires Dec. 31. The labor agreement had languished in arbitration as firefighters continued to work under a contract that had expired in December 2005."
By: Ron York
Is overtime really welfare? Some people must think so. Printing in newspapers lists of city employees W-2 wages is very common. It is the the expose that is in vogue today. "Five people in the Springfield police department made more than $150,000 last year - greed." Question: What is required to obtain overtime? Work more hours. An employee working at a fast food restaurant earns $10 per hour, or $400 per week. If the same employee was willing to work two shifts every work day, he could earn $1,000 per week, or $52,000 per year. That's obscene, a hamburger flipper making more than a school teacher. Something needs to be done about this "greedy" fry cook. Is this fry cook better paid than one who only works 40 hours per week? He is if you consider the hours of his life worthless. Mr. Reporter are you listening.
Okay, maybe the fry cook is not "cheating the system", but overtime itself is irresponsible and a waste of hard working taxpayers' money. Actually, overtime is a good thing for employers. It saves the employer money. You do not believe that either, do you? Do you know why the overtime provisions exist in the Fair Labors Standards Act (FLSA)? What if I told you that it was not meant to reward employees, but to punish employers? You don't believe that, but it is the truth. The thought in the 1930's was that it was better for three employees t0 work 40 hours per week, rather than two employees working 60 hours per week. The 50% penalty was meant to discourage overtime. As well intended as it may have been, it was a poor decision. Today, FLSA is so ingrained into our labor law and culture we are probably permanently stuck with it.
With the growth of "fringe benefits" the severity of the punishment has been mitigated. Overtime compensation does not require an employer to pay more in health insurance and many times pension contribution. No additional paid time off (PTO) is required. For many employers the overtime penalty is now close to 25% or about one-half the stated amount. Even at a 25% premium, why would an employer use overtime?
Let's take a police department that requires 180,000 hours of police officers to cover all of its needs for one year. If the average employee works 1,800 hours (2,080 minus 280 PTO) a total of 100 police officers would be needed. If the work load was distributed evenly at 494.5 hours per day (assumes 52 week year) there would be no problem. Unfortunately, it does work like that. Some days may require only 300 hours, while others may need 1,000 hours (the President comes to town. There is no way that the normal 40 hours per week schedules can accommodate such wide variations.
A department can maximum its utilization of personnel by permanently setting a staffing schedule that is below minimum requirements and then cover the shortage through flex-schedules and overtime. Flex-schedules are for employees who willing be rove from shift to shift and day to day with short notice. These people are paid a premium for being flexible. When it is impossible to fill shortages with flex-employees overtime is used. A department that needs 100 FTE's could cover all of its positions by having only 90 officers, with 80 on regular schedules and 10 on flex-shifts. The balance could be covered using overtime. If the same department only used regular shifts and used no overtime, it would probably need 120 FTEs. Even with the premiums paid to flex-employees and overtime premiums the cost to the department is considerably less.
Still not convinced? I have a job for you that pays $20 per hour, but you will need to work 60 hours. This means your gross check will be $1,400. I am going to hire your buddy to do the same job and I will pay him $1,400 also, but he will only have to work 40 hours per week. I am paying you both the same, right? Oh, your life and time is not worth anything. You are both being paid the same, except that the extra $600 I am paying you each week is really "welfare."
Big Labor is hoping to have a big election next Tuesday, with a goal of building a majority to rewrite negotiating rules between unions and management. Though it has received little media attention, Barack Obama's pro-union agenda is the most ambitious in decades and has a real prospect of becoming law. His stated goal is to 'strengthen the ability of workers to organize unions' by doing the following:"
The city of Rockford's longest arbitration process ever will officially close Monday night, when aldermen are expected to certify a 2006 through 2008 firefighters contract. Here's what the deal means for the city's police union.
Rockford firefighters aren't the only ones breathing a sigh of relief now that an arbitrator has resolved their labor contract for 2006 through 2008. Police have also been working under an expired contract since January 06.
'We're very relieved, it's been a long three years and we're just glad that it's finally coming to a close,' says Rockford Police Union Vice President Bruce Brannum."
The City of Evanston is in financial crisis.
On top of a spike in foreclosures and a lull in commercial development, symptoms of the nationwide economic decline, the city faces a $140 million shortfall in the police and fire pension funds.
City officials recognized the severity of the problem in 2006, when the city reviewed its estimates regarding the pension plans. Last winter, the Evanston City Council raised its portion of the property tax by about 7 percent and transferred $2 million from the city's General Fund to begin chipping away at the deficit.
The aldermen will begin working on the 2009-2010 budget in January, after interim City Manager Rolanda Russell releases her proposal."
GARY -- While Mayor Rudy Clay tried to cut employee paychecks by 20 percent, his attorneys raked in more than $14,000 fighting off the unhappy labor unions.
Billing statements released by City Hall document only the legal work done by attorneys Donald and Shana Levinson up to Sept. 12, as well as work done by Gilbert King as of Aug. 20.
The total cost of Clay's failed attempt to cut pay for police and firefighters won't be known until all bills are available for inspection. The courtroom battles lasted well into October, though, meaning the final tab could be much higher."
Sunday, October 26, 2008
The nation's largest public pension fund, known as Calpers, is unloading stocks in a falling market to make sure it has enough cash to meet its obligations.
The pressures come as the California Public Employees' Retirement System has had to raise cash to fulfill commitments to private-equity firms and real-estate partners. The giant fund's predicament is another sign of how the market selloff is tightening the screws on pension funds nationwide. Many other pension funds have similar partnerships and could also confront liquidity strains."
|Sheriff Ed Dean|
In spite of times, Marion deputies refused union | Ocala.com | Star-Banner | Ocala, FL:
OCALA - Sour economic conditions and employment uncertainty apparently were not enough to drive Marion County sheriff's deputies into the arms of union leaders.
Nearly three months ago, some 75 deputies — nearly a third of Sheriff Ed Dean's patrol force — were agitating for unionization. Voter-mandated spending cuts brought on by the passage of Amendment 1 in January required Dean, like leaders of other local government agencies across Florida, to slash millions of dollars from his budget — generating angst among the rank and file, as might be expected in tough economic times."
Someone apparently needs to tell Schenectady Mayor Brian Stratton and Corporation Counsel L. John Van Norden that if they’re ever going to negotiate any changes in the notoriously generous contract with the police union that they’ve got to get on the same page. No, not Stratton, Van Norden and the cops; Stratton and Van Norden.
As Friday’s Gazette story made abundantly clear, the mayor and members of the city’s negotiating team — which included a costly outside counsel — were at odds with one another during the last go-round. That ended up with the cops declaring an impasse last October, and an arbitrator siding with them to the tune of 8-plus percent over two years, and no concessions."
Saturday, October 25, 2008
|Chief Rusty York|
No raises better for police than layoffs, officials say The News-Sentinel - Fort Wayne IN:
That’s the logic of Fort Wayne’s police chief and the president of its largest police union regarding the effect of a citywide municipal wage freeze on police officers.
“If things don’t change at the state level, certainly we’ll be looking at people next year,” Police Chief Rusty York said.
“We run a lean department and officers are safe (in keeping their jobs), but departments all over are losing officers.”"
Shreveport Mayor vetoes police pay raise; proposal goes back to council | ShreveportTimes | The Times
Mayor Cedric Glover (left) Councilman Bryan Wooley (right)
The Shreveport police pay raise is back in the hands of City Council members after Mayor Cedric Glover vetoed their $2 million plan.
Glover announced Friday at a news conference that he could not support spending that is 'imprudent and unwise.'
City leaders are struggling with an $8 million cash shortage this year while trying to lay out next year's $455 million budget."
Friday, October 24, 2008
Also released today is a report showing that existing home sales were at their highest level last month in five years. The increase is the result of declining home prices. Tuesday, the Case-Schiller Index for August will be release. It should show that housing prices are approaching the long-term trend line. Most of the large California cities are nearing the end of the real estate bubble correction. Based on the loss of confidence by consumers prices will most likely go below the long-term trend line before home construction can return to a normal level. In the mean time, local governments will continue to see stagnant sales tax revenues.
As soon as the election is over, there will be an about face by the press concerning the economy. "Be Afraid, Very Afraid" will be replaced by "Be Optimistic, Very Optimistic." Oh well, that will be big improvement over what we are being subjected to now.
"WASHINGTON - A real estate trade group says sales of existing homes rose by the largest amount in more than five years in September. The data is a possible glimmer of hope that the housing slump could be starting to bottom out.
The National Association of Realtors said Friday that sales of existing homes rose by 5.5 percent in September compared to August, the best showing since a 5.6 percent increase in July 2003, during the five-year housing boom."
"WASHINGTON - The White House said Thursday the economy will remain gloomy through at least the end of the year, inching closer toward a recognition the United States is in a recession.
'We expect our GDP (gross domestic product) number next week not to be a good one and the next quarter to be tough as well,' White House press secretary Dana Perino said."
After an initial refusal and delays, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski shared with City Council this week his dealings with outside legal and financial firms hired to assist in the ongoing negotiations with the city's police union.
But the packet of contracts with these outside firms came with a stern warning from the city's solicitor: Don't share the information with taxpayers or the press because it might hinder ongoing negotiations.
Council President Michael D'Amore reviewed the material and responded with a message of his own to Pawlowski and the city solicitor: Release the information to the public."
"SCHENECTADY — A lack of leadership left the city floundering during the last police contract negotiations, city officials said, blaming themselves for the recent arbitration that forced them to hand out pricey raises and get no concessions in return.
Police officers got retroactive raises for 2006 and 2007 — 4 percent each year — but no long-term deal. Now both sides are preparing to restart negotiations.
Mayor Brian U. Stratton said he will push for the same concessions he tried and failed to get last time. But this time will be different, he vowed."
Today is the deadline for Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover to veto the Police Department pay raise, a City Council-approved measure the mayor believes the city can't afford.
Glover hasn't said what he'll do, but he has threatened to veto the plan that bumps the base salary for officers from $33,000 to $36,000 a year, starting Jan. 1"
Thursday, October 23, 2008
"BROOKFIELD— Brookfield police are again trying to form a union.
Selectmen Tuesday discussed a petition they received on behalf of the three full-time officers in the Police Department.
The petition was sent to selectmen Oct. 17 by the New England Police Benevolent Association.
Selectman James W. Allen, the board’s chairman, refused to name the officers in the petition. He said he wanted to check with town counsel first."
"The head of San Jose's police officer union said Wednesday that negotiators have reached an impasse in their high-stakes battle with the city over a new labor contract, raising the likelihood that an arbitrator will decide pay and benefits for the 1,400-member force.
City officials said the union has called for a membership meeting today. The stalemate comes as San Jose grapples with rising crime, police recruitment difficulties and an eighth consecutive year of budget deficits. There is risk to both sides in asking an arbitrator, whose decision would be final, to settle San Jose's police dispute. But historically it's been a better bet for the unions.
City officials complained bitterly last year when an arbitrator settled the firefighters' contract by awarding richer pensions for earlier retirees. City Manager Debra Figone said the contract would cost San Jose up to $5 million a year more than the administration had hoped for, though the city still prevailed on wages and health care contributions."
"Over the next four years, the Clark County Commission will either move its government onto a fiscally sustainable path or allow its employee unions to finish burying taxpayers under the crushing burden of public-sector salaries and retirement benefits.
No issue today is more important for commissioners than the county's runaway personnel costs. County workers typically get annual pay raises of between 7 and 10 percent regardless of their performance. The salaries of many positions, including janitors, security guards, maintenance workers and clerical staff in some cases double those of their private-sector peers, without considering their option to retire early with a generous pension and health care subsidy. The financial outlook for the county is so bad that even with revenue up 6 percent -- a windfall in today's economic climate -- commissioners are scrimping on a number of services so they can dole out the largess promised to the county worker unions."
"Thursday, October 23, 2008
By Van Darden
Tribune-Herald staff writer
The Waco Police Association has paid for two billboards on Interstate 35 to bring attention to what it calls the escalating number of murders and overall violent crime rate in the city.
The billboards, located in Bellmead and near the New Road exit, read, “The Murder Rate Is Up! Waco is the 7th most violent city in Texas!”
The signs have drawn the ire of local business owners and others who say they are bad for tourism and do nothing to solve Waco’s crime issues. City officials also dispute some of the contentions made by the police association in its media campaign."
Published Thursday, October 23, 2008
Issue 23 / Volume 89
Yesterday, the University of California reached a new three-year contract agreement with the Federated University Police Officers Association - the organization representing UC police officers.
The deal, which is currently awaiting approval from union members, will provide the UC’s police force of more than 200 officers with general salary increases and the same health and retirement benefits as other UC employees."
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
"NEWARK, N.J. - The head of the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union called Wednesday for the State of New Jersey and the City of Newark to more closely scrutinize the conduct of police.
Deborah Jacobs, head of the ACLU in New Jersey, said the public continues to suffer from the absence of state licensing for law enforcement officers and the absence of an independent monitor of the Newark police department with subpoena power.
She spoke before a group of about 55 people who walked through downtown Newark with signs that read, 'accountability' and 'humane policing.' They handed out pamphlets calling attention to the issue of police brutality, and several alleged victims of police misconduct were scheduled to speak."
"A new three-year contract agreement between the University of California and its Federated University Police Officers Association was announced Wednesday.
The association represents the 10-campus U.C system’s police force of more than 200 officers. That includes U.C. Berkeley, the Oakland-based system’s flagship campus opened 140 years ago.
The pact, which expires Sept. 30, 2011, must still be ratified by union members. According to university officials, it will include general salary increases ranging from 2 percent to 8 percent retroactive to Oct. 1, with the size of raises dependant on the campus."
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Local News: New Schenectady PD chief Mark Chaires: 'History will be the best judge' | schenectady, department, police : WRGB CBS 6 Albany:
Schenectady Police Chief Mark Chaires
"He's no stranger to the Schenectady Police Department and is aware of its troubled past, but new Schenectady police chief Mark Chaires says the department that he's been in charge of for just over a month is already making progress. He cites as examples the implementation of new technology to help improve response times and his initiative to have consultants evaluate the way drug crimes are investigated.
Chaires takes on the job of Chief after starting as a patrol officer nearly 20 years ago, when the city and the neighborhood he called home was a different place."
ACLU plans march in Newark - Newark, New Jersey Local News | Newark Live - NJ.com:
"by Chanta L. Jackson/The Star-Ledger
Tuesday October 21, 2008, 5:21 AM
The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey is setting up checkpoints on Wednesday at various locations throughout the city.
The checkpoints are being established to recognize the International Day Against Police Brutality. In addition, the ACLU-NJ will hold a march at the checkpoint sites in hopes of improving police practices across New Jersey."
"STAMFORD - Earlier this month, homicide investigator Sgt. Anthony Lupinacci was working on the city's most recent unsolved murder, the shooting death of 26-year-old Jonathan Green, whose body was found in September in a grassy lot behind Garden Street.
Then police administration told him and 300 other Stamford police officers they could no longer work beyond their set shifts, except for life-threatening situations or crimes-in-progress. Without Lupinacci working overtime, he said the investigation fell behind by two weeks.
He couldn't travel outside Stamford to meet people at odd hours. Trails went cold. He had to tell the Green family why."
ALTON - To meet legal obligations to the police and fire pension funds, the city began the process Monday night to sell about $60 million in general obligation taxable pension bonds in two increments.
Members of the aldermanic Committee of the Whole unanimously recommended City Council approval of a resolution that allows aldermen to consider establishing a trust to pay the annual contribution to the pension funds."
Monday, October 20, 2008
Police Chief Rick Braziel
By Ryan Lillis
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento Police Department is severely cutting back service as a last resort to avoid laying off cops.
Police Chief Rick Braziel said Friday the cutbacks are necessary because of historic budget shortfalls and that the only way to slash more money 'is to take people off the payroll.'
'I'm hoping for a miracle,' he said."
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Pressed to say whether the U.S. economy is in a recession, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke refused to say. Bernanke, testifying to the House Budget Committee on Monday, said it 'doesn't matter' if we call this a recession, because 'recession' is really a technical term used by economic historians and has no bearing on which policies ought to be pursued. 'We are in a severe slowdown, with severe consequences,' Bernanke said. Earlier in the hearing, Bernanke endorsed another round of fiscal stimulus to help the economy grow faster. At one point in his career, Bernanke served on the committee of academics who make the judgment about whether the economy is in recession or not."
Gail D. Fosler, Executive Vice President and Chief Economist, The Conference Board
The Conference Board announced today that the U.S. leading index increased 0.3 percent,
the coincident index decreased 0.5 percent and the lagging index decreased 0.2 percent in
• The leading index increased in September, the first increase in the last five months. Real
money supply, consumer expectations, the interest rate spread, and the index of supplier
deliveries all made large positive contributions to the index in September, more than
offsetting the negative contributions from building permits, stock prices, initial claims for
unemployment insurance (inverted) and the average workweek in manufacturing. From March
to September, the leading index decreased 1.3 percent (a -2.5 percent annual rate), declining
modestly slower than the 1.7 percent decrease (a -3.4 percent annual rate) that prevailed in the
previous six months. However, the weaknesses among the leading indicators have remained
widespread over the past six months.
Figures released Monday by MDA DataQuick show foreclosure resales amounted to half of all transactions.
The high level of foreclosure resales helped push the median sale price in the six-county down to $308,500 in September, the lowest since it was $305,000 in May 2003.
Last month's median was 33.2 percent lower than $462,000 in September 2007."
By: Ron York
Binding arbitration is a good way to resolve disputes between local governments and their employees. We have "binding arbitration" everywhere in commerce. Maybe you do not recognize it. It is called "civil lawsuits" and arbitrators are called "judges." Arbitration without the word binding in front of it means that one or both of the parties can veto the decision. Binding arbitration is a less expensive and expedited way of resolving disputes. Arbitration is not inherently bad. What if customers had no recourse against large retailers and the retailer unilaterally decided all disputes?
That's all theory. The practical purpose of arbitration is to force both parties to negotiate fairly and seek an agreement. Most negotiations I am involve in reach impasse and are submitted to arbitration. Very few actually go to arbitration. Just the filing for arbitration causes both sides to get serious about reaching an agreement. Declaring impasse and asking for arbitration does not mean that one side kicks over the table and storms out of the room. It is normally a formality.
Many cities feel that arbitration works against their interest, but it doesn't. Several years ago, the Connecticut teachers commission an independent study to determine the impact of binding arbitration. They found the employees won 60% of the time, but that contracts that were won by arbitration yielded considerably less then agreed to contracts. This would appear to be prima facie evidence that arbitration favors employees, but further investigation shows that not to be the case. Considering the dynamics of arbitration, employees should win 80% to 90% of the time.
The party asking for arbitration is almost exclusively the employees, not the employer. When the employer wants arbitration he can simply stonewall until the end, forcing the union to call for arbitration. This occurs when the city's administrator or council do not want to take the political heat for increasing pay or benefits. By going to arbitration and making a strategical defense the employer can get the desired results and blame it on the arbitrator, leaving the politicians with clean hands.
With the employees being the ones pulling the plug on negotiations, they are the ones making the decision as to which cases should be arbitrated. From the union 's perspective, there are four categories of potential arbitration cases:
1) Slam dunks for the union
2) Favorable for the union
3) Favorable for the city
4) Slam dunks for the city
Strictly from a utilitarian view point, the slam dunks for the city and those favorable to city are settled rather than actually going to arbitration. Those favorable to the union are vetted very carefully. The slam dunks for the union are taken to arbitration. There are times when a union might take a potential loser to arbitration. This would be when the union felt it needed to play to its membership. This often happens when a union is facing a decertification vote. They want to give the appearance of standing up to the employer. The life of the organization is given priority over the quality of the contract.
Occasionally, you will hear of a decision in favor of the employees that seems unreasonably high and unjustified. There is a reason for that and it can easily be avoided. First, most arbitration is done on a "last offer" basis. This means that each side submits its final offer. The arbitrator has to select one or the other of the offers. He cannot award a compromise decision. The arbitrator makes his decision by determining what the outcome should be based on the evidence presented to him and the totality of his entire life experience. There is no criteria for or suppression of evidence. He then compares the two offers and accepts the one closest to his opinion.
Okay, but what about the "unreasonable awards?" Two things can cause this. One is an unrealistic final offer by the city. Forget about the sanctity and sovereignty of the city council. The arbitrator is not buying that "line of crap." That was debated and decided by the legislature when the arbitration bill was enacted. Arbitration is some what of a chess match. You have to anticipate your opponent's moves.
The second thing is obnoxious lawyers making the city's case. I have seen some real rude dudes arguing for cities. They normally go down in flames. They are easy to spot within minutes of the start of hearing. They are making objections and raising points of order. There are no rules in arbitration, other than what the arbitrator imposes. The arbitrator has absolute power over the conduct of the hearing. Most arbitrators come from an academic background, even those with a law degree. That is a world far removed from the rules of conduct and fine points of law. It has been my experience that arbitrators do not warm up to "pompous jackasses."
If you are the mayor of your city and you want to win at the arbitration game I would recommend that you do three things:
1) Select your fights and settle the others
2) Make intelligent final offers
3) Do not use "pompous jackass" lawyers
From an economic stand, arbitration for public safety wages and benefits makes a lot of sense - more than in the private sector. Police and fire services are command economy functions, rather than market economy activities, but they are still market driven. Half of the market, the supply side (employees), is very market driven. Unfortunately, the demand side is not. This is the result of the exclusionary principle breaking down and allowing the "free rider." Let's assume that there is no law enforcement in your small town. One day you and some of your neighbors get together and decide to each chip in money to hire a constable. Since not everybody in town attended, you start going to the others and asking them to contribute. The first person you come to explains that he has no motivation to pay because he will benefit just as much as everyone else without paying. Thus he becomes a "free rider." Word spreads and suddenly there are very few contributors and the money is not enough to hire the constable. Eventually, a town government is formed and a tax is imposed that is not optional. The constable is hired.
Another issue is that there is no objective way of measuring the outcomes from police and fire. You may have one of the best police departments, but one of the highest crime rates - Los Angeles. You may have the most incompetent police department and still have the lowest crime rate - Mayberry RFD. There are many more factors that go into the causes and prevention of crime. Collective bargaining. along with arbitration, provide an alternative way to challenge the elasticity of demand for police officers. In stocks there are two schools of analysis - fundamental and technical. Pure market economics determine demand curves through the fundamental approach. With a command economic function the fundamental method is not available. Instead, an alternate method is used - technical analysis. Technical approach is measuring and tabulating what others are doing and creating an artificial demand curve from the information collected. If left to itself, cities will understate the demand curve. This is because cities are political entities with many constituencies. In the short run, the city's resources are limited, but demands for the resources are virtually unlimited. The struggle with the union provides the challenge and discipline that is required.
I think that an objective and unemotional evaluation of binding arbitration will lead you to be a supporter. And Mr. Mayor, get smart and start playing it "cool" with arbitration and you can avoid the distasteful awards to the unions.
Police union: Cut 'upper-level fluff': "They say that every crisis brings with it opportunity. That's certainly how Phoenix's police union sees it.
The city may be trimming up to $250 million from its general fund, but the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association is taking the news in stride. Its officials have identified a series of budget cuts that they say are long overdue.
'It's this upper-level fluff that needs to go,' said Mark Spencer, PLEA's president, pointing at the white board in his office."
CHICAGO PUBLIC RADIO -WBEZ
Print: "FOP Chief: Contract Finalized Within a Year
The head of Chicago's police union says he thinks officers will have a new contract within the next year.
Chicago officers are working off a contract that expired more than a year ago. That means Fraternal Order of Police President Mark Donahue has one big goal.
DONAHUE: Get this, get this contract resolved as soon as possible."
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Ed Siemen is a cop. He has devoted his last good years to protecting the residents of a small town in the northwest Valley.
Now, he's hurt, sick and may be dying, and on Thursday, the town fired him after one of his doctors acknowledged that he can no longer do the job.
'The town cannot continue to hold open your position . . . ' wrote Youngtown Manager Lloyce Robinson, citing the fact that it's a small town and needs to fill Siemen's spot with a healthy officer. 'The town has no other vacant positions at this time for which you may qualify.'"
(Not part of article. Added by POLICEPAY.NET)
Chief of Police
(By rank, seniority, special assignments and assigned division)
Robert Gauchat - Patrol Lieutenant
Dave Evans---K9/Police Patrol Sergeant
Greg Hunter---Police Patrol Sergeant
Randy French---Police Officer/FTO/Rangemaster/Senior Officer/Patrol
Edward Siemen---Police Officer/FTODetective/Investigations
Deanna Weaver---Police Officer/FTO/Patrol
Sean Hennessy---Police Officer
Sharonda Dean---Police Officer
Thomas Durham---Police Officer Joe MacKenzie --Police Officer Sean Tobin--Police Officer
Friday, October 17, 2008
SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - A proposed pay raise plan for Shreveport police is dividing the department.
Sgt. Colette Kelly opposes the plan and is circulating a petition within the department in hopes of convincing Mayor Cedric Glover to veto it. The plan was approved by the council this week.
Cpl. Michael Carter, president of the Shreveport Police Officers Association, supports the plan and calls Kelly a 'rogue member of the department.'"
Thursday, October 16, 2008
By: Ron York, President
The Battle of Vallejo is lost. The unions have completely lost the public opinion battle. They cannot win on the legal front. They had their chance and they fumbled it. They continue to make the wrong decisions. Any money given to the Vallejo unions from here forward is wasted. It will only go to legal fees to prolong the hostilities, without changing the outcome. The fire union is running the show and they will run the bus over the cliff. What needs to be done - a negotiated truce and the dismissal of the city's bankruptcy petition, which does not require any money. The principals can do this themselves. It is not going to happen, but it should. Maybe the IAFF will rein them in, but I doubt it.
I have stated my opinion several times on whether the city meets the criteria for bankruptcy. That issue no longer matters. What does matter is what is done going forward. The Vallejo guys need to be left alone to deal with their problems and the rest of us need to move on to damage control. The Vallejo fiasco leaves us with a very low threshold for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. A legal argument that marginalizes Vallejo needs to be articulated. I am not sure what it would be.
The next important hearing in the Vallejo case is December 2nd. The bankruptcy judge will decide whether the union contracts will be voided. Unless the parties arrive in court with a settlement, the unions will be on the wrong end of a "cram down." Money determines where things go after that date. As long as there is money, the firefighters will stay on the attack.
Attention needs to be shifted to other cities that could be potential candidates for bankruptcy - Gary, Indiana and Duluth, Minnesota. The dynamics are ripe in these two cities for filing a petition. Both have vocal constituencies that want to reduce pay and benefits. A "smart" public relations (not lawyers) effort needs to be started now.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
It looks like more negotiations are needed for members of Allentown's Finest. The police union voted against a new contract Tuesday night. The Fraternal Order of Police says there is one main sticking point to iron out. The union's not saying much about the talks, but does say a contract was *not* approved after this latest two-day voting session."
Shreveport police pay raise battle heats up:
The battle over pay raises for Shreveport police officers took center stage at Tuesday's council meeting.
Under Councilman Bryan Wooley's proposal, officers would receive a starting salary of around $36,000. The mayor has criticized the plan, saying the money is not available. And, after a long debate, the council approved the pay increase, by a vote of four to three.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The Voice of San Diego
By: David Washburn
Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008 |
In what was essentially an emergency State of the City address, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders on Tuesday warned city residents of significant, perhaps even drastic, service and program cuts -- and he said they are coming soon.
Current projections show the city $43 million in the hole just three months into the fiscal year as the plummeting economy continues to hit the city's three main revenue generators -- tourism, sales taxes and property taxes -- as hard as they've been hit in decades.
'These are uncharted waters, and I don't pretend to know where the economy is heading,' Sanders said to a packed ballroom at the Kona Kai Resort and Spa on Shelter Island. 'But I can say this -- we almost certainly will need to curtail programs and close facilities that enjoy broad public support.'"
"BRIDGEPORT -- With the approach of Oct. 24, the last day on the job for 15 police officers laid off by Mayor Bill Finch, both the police union president and several members of the Board of Police Commissioners are suggesting alternative ways to close the city budget's ballooning deficit.
'Redeployment would fill holes in certain areas of the Police Department and it would in turn lower overtime costs,' said Officer Frank Cuccaro, president of the Bridgeport Police Union Local 1159.
He proposed that the mayor stop hiring of administrators paid $80,000 a year or more throughout the city, as well as stop using private lawyers to handle some of the city's litigation."
Monday, October 13, 2008
By: Ron York, President
This year is the 40th anniversary of the age of "the big lie" by the national press in this country. It began in early 1968 with Walter Cronkite and his on site minion, Dan Rather, conspiring to defeat President Lyndon Johnson and the American military in Vietnam. The American military never lost a battle in Vietnam, including the "Tet Offensive" which destroyed the Viet Cong. The one enemy that Lyndon Johnson was unprepared for was CBS and their Joseph Goebbels - Walter Cronkite.
Cronkite was often lovingly referred to as "Uncle Walter", but he was really "Uncle Benedict Arnold." Cronkite and Rather conspired to perpetrate the big lie that the Tet Offensive was a major defeat for America and the war was lost. Ho Chi Minh and his cadre of murderous communist were reeling in defeat - down and out, but suddenly appeared a savior - Walter Cronkite. Unable to defeat America, the murderous tyrants suddenly had a new weapon - the CBS microphone. Support for the war and President Johnson collapsed overnight. Wow, a journalist could actually kick the President's butt. That was really heady stuff. Every reporter and journalism student wanted to be just like Uncle Walter.
This journalism of mendacity became the new paradigm. However, 2008 is the last election victory for the mainline press. They have been able to sell the big lie one more time, but it will be their last. The panic of 2008 is a product of the press attacking the very bedrock of confidence that the American people have. Some so called journalist have been claiming the economy is in recession for eight quarters in a row and have been wrong eight quarters in a row. Just like Joseph Goebbels, they repeated the big lie so many times, people began believing it. We now find ourselves financially stalled because of the big lie. Let me say this slowly "We are not in a recession." We may be in the great depression tomorrow, but we aren't today. To declare a recession requires some hard facts - they aren't there. All we have is Keith Olbermann and others ranting.
A lot of damage has been done by the panic created by a journalistic frenzy. Four years from now, the alternative press , the internet, will have driven out the journalism liars. 2008 will be their last major victory. So long Joseph - sig heil. It's not a recession! It's a lie. For brave capitalist like Audrey McClendon who suffered huge loses as a result of the panic created by the press, being right is no consolation. A lot of damage was done to our economy last week. Come on folks. How long are you going to listen to the lying scoundrels? Think for yourself. The people printing the lies would turn our country into another Cuba if they had their way.
We live in a pop culture that thinks Michael Moore is an authoritative source and Jonathan Alder and E.J . Dione are prophets. Even with his character flaws, I would trust Lyndon Baines Johnson with my life before I would the press. I would not trust the press with my garbage. Oh, integrity where have you gone. Oh, honesty why have you forsaken me. Save our country from the envious deceivers.
The BIG One - WTAM 1100:
CPPA President, Steve "Big Loom" Loomis
Cleveland) - A program championed by former Cleveland Police Patrolmens' Association President Bob Beck has upwards of 170 officers set for retirement in January of 2011 according to the union and current President Steve Loomis says the city is doing nothing to prepare for those retirements.
Loomis says the program allows officers to supplement their retirements as part of the program through the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund. The officers must retire in less than three years or they lose a lot of the money they have put in over the past six years through penalties."
The State Worker: Pension tension: Rule change delayed:
The IRS said today it would delay applying Notice 2007-69, a potentially far-reaching rule change altering tax law that defines the 'normal' retirement age. The new date: 'on or after' Jan. 1, 2011.
As they did a year ago, Los Angeles officials are turning to the last public official with any credibility with voters: Police Chief William Bratton.
Bratton, who recently has denied that he was thinking of taking over London's police force, will emerge in the next month as the spokesman for Measure A, the $36-a-year parcel tax to pay for anti-gang programs.
It will be Bratton on billboards, Bratton on radio, Bratton on television - if they can raise enough money to pay for the spots - to talk about the need for the tax to develop prevention and intervention programs"