Saturday, January 31, 2009

Louisville, KY - About 50 city police turn in their cars

The Louisville Courier-Jpurnal

"About 50 Louisville Metro Police officers decided to turn in their patrol cars so they will not have to pay an increased fee for using them after work hours.

Police Chief Robert White announced in December that officers who take their vehicles home would have to pay a $100 monthly fee to help cut expenses in the department and help address a $20 million projected city budget shortfall. Officers who use their cars for off-duty employment will have to pay $160 per month."

Schenectady, NY - Newspaper Goes After Police Overtime Pay (Coming Soon To Your City)

Schenectady Gazette

"SCHENECTADY — Schenectady Police Officer Dwayne Johnson’s long hours on the job have placed him in the city’s record books.

With his overtime and other earnings, Johnson grossed $168,921 in 2008, which is nearly triple his base pay of $57,478. The patrolman, who is known for working multiple 16-hour shifts each week, replaced Sgt. Arthur Zampella as the city’s top-earning employee and is now considered the highest-earning police officer in city history."

Toledo, OH - Mayor Gives Police and Fire Veiled Threat of Layoffs

The Toledo Blade

"The Finkbeiner administration doesn't intend to lay off police officers and firefighters to fix the city's budget crisis, but the possibility is not completely out of the question.

Toledo City Council was told Thursday it must erase an $8.1 million deficit to close out 2008 - a shortfall many thought would be much smaller because council last month had redirected $8 million of unspent capital improvement money to help plug the hole.

Robert Reinbolt, chief of staff to Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, said officials 'are exploring a variety of options to balance the budget.'"

Vallejo, CA - Tentative pact with another city union

Vallejo TimesHerald

Another of Vallejo's employee groups has reached a tentative contract deal with city negotiators this week.

Confidential, Administrative, Management and Professional Employees (CAMP) members are scheduled to vote Monday afternoon on the agreement struck between city and union representatives Friday.

CAMP is one of four Vallejo employee groups asked by city leaders to adjust contracts set to expire in 2010. The move is an attempt to alleviate city general fund overspending and revenue shortfalls that pushed the city to file for bankruptcy protection in May.

The Vallejo Police Officers Association and the city struck a deal Tuesday night, with the City Council voting 5-2 in favor of a supplemental contract."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Providence, RI - Police, firefighters unions offer $5 million in contract concessions

The Providence Journal

PROVIDENCE — The police and firefighters unions have offered the city contract concessions totaling nearly $5 million to head off a projected shortfall in the city’s current budget, union officials said yesterday.

Following a private meeting with Mayor David N. Cicilline, the executive board of the Providence Fraternal Order of Police proposed a hiring freeze for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends in June, and extending into 2010. That would result in savings of at least $1 million, according to the union."

Vallejo, CA - City Council Highlights (The Loyal Opposition Speaks Out)

By Marc Garman and Katy Miessner
Vallejo Independent Bulletin

Tuesday's episode of the Osby Springer Show got off to a late start. Councilmembers emerged from the trenches of closed session at 7:40 PM. One can only imagine the heated vocabulary flung with energetic abandon across the boardroom table. A cloud of intensity and weariness hung over the dais.

The house was reasonably full...around 90 people present...but the tension was palpable.
Councilmembers Gomes and Schivley both looked elegant dressed in funereal black.

During the first community forum Frederick Taylor claimed he had been assaulted twice by Vallejo Police officers. First by Pepino Messina in an unprovoked attack. The second time Police wouldn't even give him the officer's name. Taylor continued to claim that he was essentially brushed off by Vallejo PD Internal Affairs. While we have no idea as to the veracity of Mr. Taylor's claims, the timing was certainly ironic. Councilmember Gomes spoke up referring to past experiences she has had with internal affairs and suggested that the formation of a Citizens' Police Review Board be considered and asked that it be put on a future agenda.."


Sacramento, CA - Bill would make cities ask for state approval before Chapter 9 filing

Times-Herald (Vallejo)

State Sen. Pat Wiggins has co-authored new legislation that would make it harder for California municipalities to sue for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.

The Democrat-sponsored Assembly Bill 155, introduced Monday and co-authored by Wiggins, would require a municipality to receive filing approval from a state panel.

The rules of Chapter 9 bankruptcy filings empower states to set their own methods for authorizing municipalities to file."

Vallejo, CA - City acts to keep new police pact

Times-Herald (Vallej0)

Vallejo's attorneys filed a request in federal bankruptcy court Wednesday to remove a plan to reject the city's contract with police officers.

The move came the day after the City Council voted 5-2 to approve an updated contract for the police labor group.

A court filing to reject contracts for the city's other employees, including management, fire and trades workers, remained intact. Bankruptcy Court Chief Judge Michael McManus is set to begin considering them Tuesday morning in Sacramento."

Photograph by Robert Schussel
. Note From Ron York - This is a very good article that clearly tells the story. I have seen where others have criticized Jessica's articles. Personally, I think they are very good. No, we are not related.

El Paso, TX - Sheriff Wiles to sign new contract with officers association

El Paso Times

"EL PASO -- Sheriff Richard Wiles Thursday will sign a new contract with the El Paso County Sheriff's Officers Association, according to a news release.

The contract has not been renewed since 1985, according to Deputy Jesse Tovar, a sheriff's office spokesman. 'This is the first time in 24 years that the contract has been changed,' Tovar said.

Wiles and Jose Marrufo, association president, are set to sign the contract at 8 a.m. Thursday at sheriff's office headquarters."

Peoria, IL - Police residency rule creates tension

The Journal Star (Peoria)

The city's police union is at odds with a decision to extend the residency rule requirement for the department's newly seated captain.

Robert Baer, 56, was promoted to the rank of captain last March. Per city policy, a 2002 City Council resolution, anyone promoted to a management position is required to move into the city within a year."

Baltimore, MD - Mayor Proposes To Cut Pension Benefits

By Stephen Janis
Examiner (Baltimore)

Prompted by hefty increases in pension costs for an already financially strapped city, Mayor Sheila Dixon said Wednesday that officials were considering cutting benefits and increasing employee contributions as part of an overhaul of Baltimore's retirement system.

'We are looking at changes,' the mayor said at a news conference. 'It's a juggling act.'

Dixon said her administration was drafting a legislative change to the city pension plan, but offered no timetable or specifies other than prospects of cuts to benefits and requiring employees to contribute more of their own money to future retirement benefits."

Chula Vista, CA - Unions agree to relinquish pay raises in budget crunch

Union-Tribune (San Diego)

"CHULA VISTA — Chula Vista employee unions are giving up their next two pay raises to help city officials avoid layoffs as they grapple with a budget deficit.

The first of the four unions to forfeit raises were the Chula Vista Employees Association and the engineers union.

Next week, the firefighters union is voting and is also expected to agree to forgo raises.

And although the Police Officers Association voted last week to give up their next two raises, negotiations soured at one point when the city refused to pitch in $100 per employee per month for a future medical cost fund.

Police officers set up the fund last year, and they agreed to pay for it themselves. When they were asked to forgo raises, they asked the city to make the payment for them."

Putnam County, NY - Deputies agree on long-delayed contract plan |

The Journal News (White Plains)

"After years of stalled negotiations and bitter rhetoric, Putnam sheriff's deputies and County Executive Robert Bondi's administration have reached an agreement that would carry them through 2011.

'There have been many years of frustrating negotiations, but the positive fact is we are getting reasonable increases in our standard of living,' Deputy William Meyer said yesterday. Meyer is president of the 75-member Putnam County Sheriff's Department Police Benevolent Association."

Denver, CO - Opposition To Public Safety Collective Bargaining Bill In Statehouse

Rocky Mountain News (Denver)

Another major union-backed bill is about to be launched at the Statehouse. If it passes the House and Senate, it would once again put Gov. Bill Ritter in a bind.

The measure would authorize police officers, firefighters and sheriff's deputies to engage in collective bargaining with the departments that hired them, regardless of what local voters might have to say on the subject."

Yonkers, NY - Laid-off police returning to jobs

The Journal-News (Yonkers)

"YONKERS - Eleven city police officers laid off at the end of last year are headed back to work because of savings from police retirements and reduced overtime costs.

The laid-off officers are expected to pick up badges and equipment today and will go back to work as early as tomorrow, mayoral spokesman David Simpson said yesterday.

The reinstatement means that 71 of 76 full-time city employees whose layoffs were announced by Mayor Phil Amicone in mid-December have been hired back. In all cases except for the returning police, the reinstatements were accomplished through union givebacks. Of 75 part-time city workers laid off, only seven have been rehired, Simpson said."

New Smyrna Beach, FL - Teamsters Get A Contract For Police

News-Journal (Daytona Beach)

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- After six months of negotiations, New Smyrna Beach officials and the police union agreed that 44 police officers should get a raise this year.

With a unanimous vote, the City Commission adopted a contract with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters giving members of the collective bargaining unit the same 2 percent pay hike other city employees received for fiscal 2008-2009. It is retroactive to Oct. 1."

Rockford, IL –Police union reacts to possible shift change


"ROCKFORD (WREX) - Rockford's police union says it's willing to change shift schedules if it would help fight crime. That comes a day after police consultant Alexander Weiss tells the City Council that the current 10-shift is inefficient and outdated."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

San Jose, CA - Police Union Agrees to Contract


"AN JOSE, Calif. (KCBS) -- San Jose has reached a tentative agreement with the Police Officers Association on a new contract, averting a costly and lengthy arbitration battle. The proposed deal includes a number of concessions from the police union.
Listen KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports

The union, which represents 1,400 officers, agreed to a 3.75 percent raise for this fiscal year, and a 1.5 percent increase for the next budget year, which begins July 1st."

Sacramento, CA - Unions Launch Legislative Attack

Effort in Sacramento to Raise Bar for Chapter 9 Bankruptcy
By Marc Garman
Vallejo Independent Bulletin

This just in. In an efort to do a legislative end run around the bankruptcy courts a bill is being pushed through the legislature in Sacramento. This is clearly a knee jerk response to Vallejo's bankruptcy and an effort to make filing more difficult. Senator Pat Wiggins is listed as co-author. We will have more analysis on this in the coming days. Open the "rest of the article" to see the document.

Note from Ron York - I do not share Marc's opinion on this topic, but he is the only one giving the story coverage. Keep checking with his site and he will keep you informed.

Vallejo , CA - Council backs contract deal, will cut number of police officers

Scenes from last night's city council meeting

Vallejo Times-Herald

"The Vallejo City Council voted 5 to 2 late Tuesday night for a controversial and heavily debated deal that will mean fewer cops on the streets, but also could save millions for the bankrupt city.

The vote followed a presentation from a city negotiating team -- including City Manager Joe Tanner -- that unanimously backed the new contract with the Vallejo Police Officers Assn. The deal, which rank-and-file officers okayed over the weekend also calls for the union to withdraw its opposition to the city's bankruptcy actionc filed last May.

Opposing the deal were longtime public safety union critics, Council members Stephanie Gomes and Joanne Schivley. They objected to the deal as not going far enough to erase the city's deficit, and also that its provision for a two-year contract extension."

Photographs sent to POLICEPAY by Robert Schussel
. Robert spoke out last night at the city council meeting against the agreement. POLICEPAY supports the agreement.

Columbus, OH - Mayor dismisses 27 police recruits

By Robert Vitale
Columbus Dispatch

A Columbus police recruit class of 27 officers has been dismissed to save money.

Safety Director Mitchell J. Brown met with the recruits this afternoon to tell them they have been laid off. They were to be sworn in on Friday as Columbus Police officers. Mayor Michael B. Coleman's administration is trying to save $13 million to avoid deficits in this year's budget.

The recruits will complete their training and will be paid for 30 days as civilian employees of the Police Division while they look for other work, according to a statement released around 5 p.m. The statement left the door open for the recruits to be re-hired if the city's economic outlook improves."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cypress, CA - City stands by decision not to pay officers' overtime

The Orange County Register

"The capacity crowd that packed City Council chambers Monday refused to sit down as they applauded five of the city's police officers who rescued an 84-year-old woman from her burning home.

But the stacks of heroism and bravery awards and several standing ovations for officers changed nothing in the minds of city officials who refuse to pay the officers overtime for hours they spent dealing with the fallout of the Nov. 25 fire."

Columbus, OH - Union, mayor reach a deal

The Columbus Dispatch

"Mayor Michael B. Coleman said yesterday that he won't lay off Columbus firefighters to balance this year's budget, after their union agreed to delay 2009 pay raises.

He refused to say, however, whether he might propose layoffs within the city's police force, which was spared in previous job cuts.

The police union, along with three other unions for city workers, refused the mayor's request to give up raises and yearly bonuses in exchange for a no-layoffs pledge.

The first test could come Friday, when a class of 27 recruits graduates from the Columbus Police Training Academy. Coleman also refused to say yesterday whether the new recruits might be greeted with layoff notices."

Vallejo, CA -Tentative deal with city cops heads to vote

Vallejo Times-Herald

"Vallejo's tentative contract deal with its police officers may have come too little, too late or just in time -- depending on who's talking about it.

The deal, negotiated between city staff members and Vallejo Police Officers Association leaders, will be up for Vallejo City Council approval tonight. That's less than a week before a federal bankruptcy court judge in Sacramento could begin tearing up existing employee contracts. The police are the only employee group that has found common ground with the city on contracts thus far."

Monday, January 26, 2009

San Diego, CA - Police captain makes his officers feel important

San Diego Union-Tribune

"Capt. Walt Vasquez figured out the meaning of leadership 20 years ago on a dark street corner in southeastern San Diego.

A young officer at the time, Vasquez was fighting with a drunk and called for backup. Moments later, as he was putting handcuffs on the suspect, a squad car rolled up and the driver said: “Walt, you need my help?”

Vasquez about fell over when he looked up and saw his captain.

“No, sir,” he said. “I'm OK, but thank you.”"

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Springfield, MO - Concerns About Pension Funding

Omaha's Aaron Hanson give's his thoughts also.

Springfield News-Leader

"The woes faced by Springfield's wounded police/fire pension fund are daunting, but by no means unprecedented.

With current assets covering only about 33 percent of benefits promised its officers and firefighters, the city's fund is worse off than many other systems, according to a study from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College."

Saginaw, MI - Police officers strike pact with city

Saginaw News

"Saginaw's City Hall has resolved a third long-expired contract in a month: The police officer's union ratified a 6-year pact by a 56-16 vote Friday, police say.

Officials didn't have details available Saturday but said the deal includes a raise in wages and decreases in health care and pension benefits.

'We're recognizing the economic struggle of the city, and we knew we had to help out,' said Ruben Vasquez, an officer and union president. 'We got an increase that we thought was fair.'"

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Vallejo, CA - Police Officers Tentative Agreement


Below is a link to the Vallejo Police Officers Association tentative agreement. We will posting more information soon. The agreement is to be presented to the Vallejo City C0uncil. A vote by the POA is scheduled before the council votes.

Vallejo POA Tentative Agreement

Critique of the tentative agreement by city councilor Stephanie Gomes


The Columbus, OH -: 4 unions say no to mayor's pay freeze

The Columbus Dispatch

"Four of the five unions representing Columbus city workers rejected Mayor Michael B. Coleman's ultimatum yesterday that they give up 2009 pay raises or face more layoffs.

On a day the city sent layoff notices to 130 people whose jobs have been in jeopardy since November, the response raised the likelihood that more cuts are coming.

'There's a $13 million hole, and it has to be filled somehow,' Coleman spokesman Dan Williamson said."

Salina, CA - City workers can take a pay cut or face layoff, Salinas says

The Salinas California

"If Salinas city workers don't agree to pay cuts by March, 123 of them will be laid off, City Manager Artie Fields said Friday.

Those layoffs could include police and fire personnel, Fields said.

To staunch financial hemorrhaging during one of the country's most severe economic storms since the Great Depression, Fields says the city must cut every employee's paycheck and benefit package by 10 percent - or layoffs and furloughs will be necessary.

In a report issued Friday to the City Council, Fields and Finance Director Tom Kever outline the exact depth of the city's money woes - which Fields said is only worsening. The council is set to publicly review the report at its Tuesday meeting."

Portland, OR - Police union president sends e-mail to mayor asking for his resignation

The Oregonian

"Portland police union president Sgt. Scott Westerman sent a long e-mail to Mayor Sam Adams, briefly apologizing for immediately calling for his resignation without having spoken to Adams first.

But Westerman didn't back down from the union's resignation call, citing four sections of the city code that Adams may have violated.

In the e-mail, Westerman argued that Adams' lie about his sexual relationship with a teenager, and his enlisting of Mark Weiner to help in the coverup and coaching of Beau Breedlove to lie about the true nature of their relationship were significant violations of the public's trust and the inappropriate use of public resources."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Vallejo, CA - Details of Police Agreement

Vallejo Independant Bulletin



1) contract extended to 2010

2) wages based on average of 7 cities to start in 2010

3)minimum staffing requirement recinded

4)Healthcare capped at Kaiser rate.Vesting time for retiree health insurance increased from 5 years of service to 10.

5)Annual leave capped for new employees at 3 times annual rate--still 4 times for existing employees

6) sick leave cashout reduced for new employees.

7) Longevity unchanged.

claims for pendeancy claims will be paid
out at 333K per year for 3 years starting in 2012.

9) If City breaches supplemental agreement City pays VPOA legal fees.

10) VPOA withdraws BK appeal

Vallejo, CA - Police, city reach tentative contract deal

Vallejo Times-Herald

Vallejo and its police employees have reached a tentative contract agreement that could save the city $6 million over two years and keep officer staffing to a minimum.

The agreement requires approval from both the Vallejo Police Officers Association membership, scheduled to vote in coming days, and the Vallejo City Council, which will meet Tuesday night.

The deal is significant because it would remove the most powerful and largest employee union from the bankruptcy battle being waged in federal courts. It also could lead to a weakening of the remaining unions' fight because they were sharing the heavy burden of legal costs.


Vallejo, CA - Police Officers May Be Close to Deal With The City


The Vallejo Independent Bulletin (an internet blog) is reporting the a deal has been made between the Vallejo Police Officers Association and the City of Vallejo. The story says that the agreement will be presented to the Vallejo City Council on Tuesday. A hearing to hear objections to the city bankruptcy rejection of the union contracts in Vallejo. It is anticipated that the City of Vallejo will prevail in that hearing.

There are two other unions involved - IBEW and IAFF. IBEW will probably follow the lead of the police. It is anyone's guess what the IAFF will do. Hopefully, the IAFF will reach an agreement also and then the city file for a dismissal of their bankruptcy petition.

Click here to read the VIB article

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Louisville, KY - Officers given 7 days to decide on take home cars

WAVE Louisville

"LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The battle is far from over when it comes to how much LMPD officers will pay for take-home cars. Louisville Metro Police officers have just one week to decide if they will pay a higher fee or give them up. LMPD Chief Robert White says the new fees will take effect February 1st, but officers have to make a decision by January 29th."

Phoenix, AZ - PLEA Loses Donning and Doffing Suit

East Valley Tribune

"The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association has lost its federal lawsuit against Phoenix that sought pay for officers to put on uniforms and protective equipment, but Mesa police union officials believe that court's decision won't have any bearing on its similar lawsuit.

The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, which represents about 2,200 sworn officers, lost the civil lawsuit against the city in the U.S. District Court in Phoenix on Wednesday, according to court documents.

Police seek pay for putting uniform on, off

The issue, commonly referred to as 'donning and doffing', has been a hot-button issue for the Mesa and Phoenix police departments for more than a year involving officers suiting up with equipment such as guns and vests."

Louisville, KY - City To Begin Collecting Take-Home Car Fees Feb. 1

WFPL 89.3

"Effective February 1st, Louisville Metro Government will begin charging police and other
employees higher fees for the use of their take-home vehicles.

The fee hike was announced last month in an effort to close a $20 million budget gap, but the police union obtained an injunction to prevent the city from collecting the money. The injunction was vacated this week by the Kentucky Court of Appeals."

Columbus, OH - FOP Files Complaint Against Mayor's Office

NBC Columbus

"COLUMBUS, Ohio —A local police union is filing a complaint against the Columbus mayor’s office for leaking a memo to the media that asked for wage concessions.

Fraternal Order of Police President Jim Gilbert claims the mayor violated ongoing union contract negotiations and bargaining in good faith, NBC 4‘s Lauren Diedrich reported.

The FOP has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the City of Columbus to the state employment relations board.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Louisville, KY - Court lifts fee ban on police cars


"The Kentucky Court of Appeals has lifted a temporary injunction that prevented Louisville Metro Government from charging police officers more to take their patrol cars home.

Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert White said he will talk with Mayor Jerry Abramson before deciding whether to immediately institute the higher fees or wait until the issue plays out in front of the Kentucky Labor Cabinet, which has a hearing scheduled Feb. 10-11."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Louisville, KY - FOP Loses Latest Round In Take-Home Car Battle


"LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Louisville city leaders have won the latest battle with the Fraternal Order of Police over take-home cars.

Tuesday, the Kentucky Court of Appeals tossed out last month's ruling from Jefferson County Circuit Court. That ruling prevented the police department from raising fees for officers for their take-home cars.

The FOP claimed its members would be irreparably harmed by that move. The Court of Appeals disagreed."

Monday, January 19, 2009

January 20, 2009 - Martin's Dream Passes To Barack Obama


Today is the culmination of a four hundred year struggle with the devil for the soul of our country. Our family sin has at last has been forced to be reconciled with the high minded ideas we always professed to the world. Fifty years ago, the event of today would have seemed impossible, even five years ago it did not look possible. All the battles and the pain and suffering endured made it all possible. I wonder if Homer Plessy thought this day would ever arrive?

Today, Mr. Barack Obama becomes our 44th president. The trail was cleared by others who made the leap - Thurgood Marshall, Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice.

Welcome aboard Mr. President. At twelve noon today Condoleezza hands off Martin's dream to you. You will be put to the test of your life. There are those who would hasten your political demise. It is not going to be easy for you and Michelle or the kids. Do not let the naysayers get you down. There are a lot of us counting on you. Do not let us down. We are behind you.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

January 19, 2009 - The Dream Lives On


The dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lives on forty-five years after he first articulated it. Many think that the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States is the fulfillment of that dream. It is not. This is not the end of the long disgrace of our country. It may not even be the beginning of the end, but it is an advancement. Our country has never really reconciled the despicable acts of the past and of today with the values we claim to stand for.

Oh, the United States did not start the schism between Europeans and Africans. No, that had been going on long before the United States was ever thought about. What we did was to bring it to its lowest level. We so dehumanized Africans, we were able to treat them like chattel property. We still treat Africans and people of African descend as some kind of anomaly. Today, watching Liberal do gooders carry on like Africans are some kind of sacred cows is sickening. It reminds me of people who thought that albinos had magical powers - x-ray vision.

Can we not treat our brothers and sisters of African origin as our peers? After all, they are children of God just like us. I look forward to the day that Martin Luther King's dream comes true.

Chula Vista, CA - Police Officers Call Cuts 'Irresponsible'

NBC San Diego

"A nasty battle is brewing between the city of Chula Vista and it's police officers as the city struggles with a 20-million dollar budget deficit.

The Chula Vista Police Officers Association is now responding to a proposal approved by the city council on Tuesday to lay off 23-officers. The association says it's 'irresponsible.' The cuts would eliminate Chula Vista's K-9 units, and two drug and gang enforcement units."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Washington, DC - Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act

By James Sherk
The Heritage Foundation

What Is the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act (PSEEC)?

* The act would require all state and local governments to collectively bargain with public safety employees'--police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel--by creating a federalized collective bargaining system for public safety officers."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Columbus, OH - :Mayor Coleman to unions: No raises, or else

Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman

Columbus Dispatch

"More city workers will face layoffs if their unions don't accept pay freezes for 2009, Mayor Michael B. Coleman said yesterday.

Coleman asked the leaders of five unions representing about 7,000 city workers to give up pay raises and bonuses that he said would save Columbus $10 million of the $13 million that still needs to be cut from a new city budget.

He gave the unions until Jan. 23 to respond to his ultimatum. If they agree, he said, he won't add to the 130 layoffs already planned. If they don't, all bets are off."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Albany, NY - Salary increases, new computers spike pension costs

New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli

By Jay Gallagher

"ALBANY -- Salary hikes and paying for a new computer system were among the reasons the administrative costs of the state pension system shot up 13 percent last year even as the system's investments struggled, pension officials said Wednesday.

The costs of running the taxpayer-supported system jumped by more than $10 million last year, to just over $90 million, according to a report issued by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the sole trustee of the pension fund. The fund's value was estimated at about $124 billion last fall. DiNapoli was appointed to his job by the Legislature in 2007, but will face voters for the first time next year."

Atlanta,GA - Mayor Franklin Issues Open Letter to Police Union to Back Tax Increase (2009-01-14)

By Odette Yousef

"A day after proposing to raise the size of Atlanta's police force to two thousand officers, Mayor Shirley Franklin asked the police union to back a tax increase to fund it.

Franklin asked for support in hiring 200 more officers in fiscal year 2010. It was only on Tuesday that she said she'll renew her push toward the goal of 2000 officers, which would cost millions:

FRANKLIN: It is quite possible that between now and the end of my term that I will propose to the council an investment that will get the balance of 2000 by January or June of 2010."

San Jose, CA - Pension costs soar with added benefits

San Jose Mercury News

"As San Jose police battle for enhanced retirement benefits they say are crucial to recruitment and retention, a series of earlier sweeteners has helped push the city's pension costs for officers and firefighters up 167 percent since 2000.

That's twice the percent increase in pension costs for the city's civilian workforce. And it far exceeds the federal Consumer Price Index for the Bay Area, which has risen just 23 percent during that time."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jacksonville, FL - Nelson Mesmerizes Local Reporter

The Florida Times-Union

"Juicy tidbits from the Jan. 13 Jacksonville City Council meeting (including what you can't see on TV):

Some of the more controversial issues pending in the council weren’t on the agenda, but this still happened to be one of the more interesting meetings I’ve witnessed.

There was lengthy debate on the proposed 'J-Bill 1,' which would take some collective bargaining duties away from the Jacksonville Aviation Authority board. Under the proposal, the City Council would rule when there is an impasse between the Aviation Authority and one of its unions. It is a result of rising tensions at the Aviation Authority between managers and the police union.

In the end, the council voted 8-10 against the proposal. But that was after a couple of amendments failed, including one that would have expressed the council’s opposition to the bill. So essentially, the council didn’t vote to oppose the bill, but it also voted against supporting it. The Duval legislative delegation gets the final say, but its chairwoman told me last week that without the council’s expressed support this bill wouldn’t be pursued in Tallahassee."

Defiance, OH - City Council approves contract with city police

Sam Cabral, President of IUPA. Sam was a police officer in Defiance and retired from the Defiance Police Department.


"A new three-year contract with city police was accepted by Defiance City Council Tuesday night, but with a reopener provision.
An emergency ordinance approving the contract passed as did three other routine measures after council met in executive session for five minutes to discuss negotiations.
The police contract provides for 3 percent raises in the first year to the department's union employees, who include all officers except the chief and assistant chief. But contract negotiator Tom Grabarczyk of Toledo told council that a clause in the agreement allows wage increases to be renegotiated in the second and third years."

Kuna, ID - Dismal Economy Arrives In Kuna

Kuna Melba News

"Kuna City Council members Tuesday night agreed to reduce police services and cut city employees’ work weeks by one hour in a second round of emergency budget cuts.
City Council members agreed Tuesday night to cut about $34,000 from the city’s current budget, including reducing city employees’ work weeks by one hour per week, reducing employees’ cost of living raises from 5 percent to 3 percent, getting rid of coffee and water service at City Hall and cutting down heating, electrical and pest control services at the Kuna Senior Center."

Billings, MT - Police Officers Sue City

Billings police officers at today's meeting of the Billings city council

NBC Billings KURL8

"BILLINGS - Twenty-seven current and former Billings police officers filed a lawsuit against the city Tuesday.

When officers began reviewing contracts last fall to get ready for negotiations this year, they noticed a possible pay discrepancy. Their contract says the city will increase wages by adding longevity pay to hourly rates."

Portland, OR - Cop Union Prez Takes Another Swipe at Sizer over Chasse Case

Sgt. Scott Westerman, Portland Police Association President

Williamette Week

"Sgt. Scott Westerman, the Portland police union president, is taking another swipe at Chief Rosie Sizer for delaying her decision on whether to discipline the officers involved in the 2006 death of James Chasse Jr.

Using strong words in the upcoming issue of The Rap Sheet, Westerman writes in the union newspaper that one of those officers, Christopher Humphreys, has been 'publicly ignored and discarded by the administration.' The article was obtained by WW in advance. The new issue is expected to go online later this week."

Corpus Christi, TX - Council approves deal with firefighters


"CORPUS CHRISTI — The Corpus Christi City Council Tuesday unanimously approved a collective bargaining agreement with city firefighters.

The agreement, which the council authorized City Manager Angel Escobar to sign, gives firefighters a 15 percent pay raise over a three-year period. It also gives firefighters a $75,000 increase for their health benefits trust fund.

'This is an important message to firefighters, so they know we appreciate them,' Councilman John Marez said. 'It took us longer than we had planned to negotiate it, but in the end we came to an agreement.'"

Monday, January 12, 2009

Galveston, TX - Dolph Wins - Police Fold

Jimmy De Los Santos, president of the Galveston Municipal Police Association.

Galveston County Daily News

"GALVESTON — Members of Galveston’s police union have agreed to accept a 3 percent pay cut, paving the way for the city to save $600,000 in wages amid a hurricane-induced budget crisis.

Although the voting deadline isn’t until Tuesday, a majority of the 152 union members already have agreed to the salary reduction on Friday, said Jimmy De Los Santos, president of the Galveston Municipal Police Association.

As of Monday afternoon, 92 members approved the measure with only one vote against, De Los Santos said."

COMMENT FROM RON YORK -Sometimes you have to swallow the bitter pill. I am sure Jimmy and his guys did the right thing.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hammond, IN - Cops, firefighters sign contracts

Lake County Times

"HAMMOND | Police and firefighters are set for another four years through a pair of new contracts signed late Thursday.

The agreements provide for pay raises of 3 percent this year and next year, and of 4 percent in 2011 and 2012, for both groups of public safety employees.

'In light of the current economy, I thought we did pretty well,' said Tim Walczak, president of the Hammond Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 51.

Members of both collective bargaining units ratified the terms of the agreements after several weeks of negotiations, which were described by those involved as 'calm' and 'gentleman-like.'"

Galveston, TX - Cops’ greed offers city opportunity (This is the verbatim headline)

The Galveston County Daily News

"Members of the Galveston Police Department failed to do what they earlier promised to do — accept a 3 percent across-the-board pay cut. That’s a short-term problem, but it offers the city an historic opportunity to take a progressive step.

That important long-range step is an end to collective bargaining with Galveston’s police officers and firefighters."


This is why you have to get to the press before they print a "slam" article about you and your fellow officers. Start working on it Monday morning. If you do not know what to do give me a call.

Dolph Tillotson is the publisher of the Galveston County Daily News and a board member of the Galveston Chamber of Commerce.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Toledo, OH - Police union files complaint against mayor

Dan Wagner, the president of the TPPA

ABC 13 Toledo

"The Toledo police union has filed a complaint with the attorney general's office, accusing mayor Carty Finkbeiner of unfair labor practices.

Dan Wagner, the president of the TPPA (Toledo Police Patrolmen's Association), says the mayor is angry about AFSCME local 7 rejecting a second contract offer from the city. And he says Carty is taking it out on the police union.

When Carty ran for mayor in 2005, the police union had his back. But now, the TPPA says that respect has deteroriated into retaliation. Wagner told us, 'I think he's retaliating against us because of that, because we've had some contact with local 7 and we've tried to assist them in their movement.' Yesterday, the TPPA clearly supported AFSCME local 7 union brothers who rejected a second contract offer from the city."

Tempe, AZ - Unions agree to delay pay raises

By Dianna M. Náñez
The Arizona Republic

"As Tempe deals with a budget deficit projected to reach $50 million by June 2010, employees of three of the city's unions offered up their pay raise at Thursday's council meeting to help the city manage its financial woes.

The Service Employees International Union, the Tempe Supervisor's Association and the Tempe Firefighters Union would have received pay raises in January but in a move to help avoid layoffs, the unions voted to amend their contracts with Tempe and forgo the money.

Los Banos, CA - Union is very unhappy with layoff decision: Grievance will be filed against city for unfair labor practices

Los Banos Enterprise

"City officials indicate the department's union has been unwilling to compromise to save jobs. The union says the city has not bargained in good faith and rushed to pass the plan for layoffs instead of allowing appropriate time for alternatives to be reached.

At Wednesday night's City Council meeting, Mayor Tommy Jones scolded the police department's union."

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Louisvile, KY - Appeals judge says city can't raise fees

FOP attorney Dennis Janes


"An appeals court judge upheld a decision that temporarily bars the city from charging additional fees to police officers for off-duty use of Louisville Metro Police Department cars.

Judge Thomas Wine heard oral arguments from attorneys for both the Fraternal Order of Police union and the city during a hearing in Louisville yesterday. About 50 officers attended the hearing.

The city had asked the judge to lift an injunction issued by the Circuit Court so that it could begin collecting a higher fee for using take-home cars. The fee was imposed to help offset a projected $20 million budget deficit in the city budget."

Clermont, FL - Police Win Pay Hike

Daily Commercial

"CLERMONT--For local police officers, the new year began with contractual changes that not only mean more money but may also bring longevity to the department.

The International Union of Police Associations AFL-CIO, in a press release dated Jan. 5, said the 'very favorable' contract 'finally brings them up to par with neighboring jurisdictions.'

'They are all very happy of course. They've been waiting a while for this,' said Kate Cambridge, a spokeswoman for the union."

Washington, DC - Obama Sets The Stage For A Strong Recovery

The five living Presidents at the Whitehouse yesterday


President-Elect Barack Obama has masterfully prepared the way for a robust recovery in the economy - an economy with that fell off of its hobby horse by losing its confidence. The cure will be emotional and spiritual - not something familiar to the titans of industry and finance. There were no major fundamentals that set the present economic contraction into motion. The housing crisis was much over stated. It represents less than 5% of the economy.

Yesterday, President-Elect Obama gave the old Knute Rockne message to Congress - pass my stimulation program quickly or the economy will get much worse. This does two things. First, it lowers the expectations of the electorate and creates a sense of urgency. Without urgency, nothing gets done in Washington. Second, it setups a resurgance of confidence when his package passes - in one form or another. The combination of dispair and urgency will create an exuberance in the economy when the package it is approved and it will be approved.

I do not know if Obama is personally orchestrating this concerto, but it does not matter. What counts is that it is a very good plan. "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" - FDR. Roosevelt understood this, but made many well intended but poor choices concerning the economy. Barack Obama has the benefit of that history. His economic team is outstanding and appears to be very astute.

Some economist think that the economy will bottom out in the third quarter of this year and then begin a slow and weak climb back out of the hole. I think it will be sooner and it will come back with a roar. All of the fundamentals are there for a speedy recovery. I am enjoying watching Obama and company operate. I had low expectations for Obama. He has certainly proved me wrong.

Keep it up Barack.

Las Vegas, NV - REDUCING EXPENSES: City, workers give and take

Betsy Fretwell, Las Vegas City Manager


"A plan that reduces city of Las Vegas employees' cost-of-living raises by 1 percentage point while extending for five years contract terms under which many employees will see annual raises of 5 percent to 7 percent was unanimously approved Wednesday by the City Council.

Council members also said the city needs to revamp its compensation and benefits structure for new employees so personnel costs can be better controlled.

All this is in response to falling city tax revenues caused by the economic slowdown and the dramatic drop in growth in the city."

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Austin, TX - New APA President Speaking on behalf of the Austin police union

Wayne Vincent, APA President

The American-Statesman

"Wayne Vincent, 52, of Kyle took over the helm of the Austin Police Association on Jan. 1 after being elected president of the union in November. He joined the department in 1985 after working as a deputy jailer in his native Kentucky. Vincent earned a bachelor's degree in police administration in 1981 from Eastern Kentucky University . He currently holds the rank of sergeant, and has spent most of his police career patrolling Austin streets. The following are excerpts of answers that Vincent provided in writing to American-Statesman editorial writer Alberta Phillips:"

Omaha, NE - City, Police Union Seek Pension Spiking Change

Omaha Police Union President, Aaron Hanson

"OMAHA, Neb. - An Omaha police officer is set to make nearly $20,000 more a year through his pension than he made with his annual salary and it's perfectly legal.

It hasn't yet been changed in the union contract.

Jerry Baggett served on the Omaha police force for 22-years. Most recently he served as a sergeant with the Omaha gang unit."

Louisville, KY - Appellate judge hears take-home car issue

Judge Thomas B. Wine, Kentucky Court of Appeals


"An appeals court judge is considering whether to continue an injunction that temporarily bars the city from charging additional fees to police officers for off-duty use of Louisville Metro Police Department cars.

Judge Thomas Wine heard oral arguments from attorneys for both the Fraternal Order of Police union and the city during a hearing in Louisville this morning. He said he would try to get the parties a ruling quickly, but gave no specific time frame.

The hearing came after the city filed an appeal to a decision by a Jefferson Circuit Court judge that stopped the police department from imposing a higher fee for take-home cars as a means to help the city offset a projected $20 million budget deficit."

Las Vegas, NV - LVCEA Union’s concessions could start a trend

The Las Vegas Sun

"After a decisive vote from Las Vegas city workers to allow cuts in their future cost-of-living raises, three other unions may be primed to fall like dominoes and ratify similar agreements with the city.

And it may be the case that public sector unions throughout Clark County will feel increased pressure to make concessions because of the pact.

Monday evening, the Las Vegas City Employees’ Association ratified an agreement with the city by an almost 10-1 margin — 332 to 35. The contract is a three-year extension of its collective bargaining agreement, now in effect until 2014."

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Nashville, TN - Calvin Hullett Pleads Guilty



Today, Lieutenant Calvin Hullett of the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department pled guilty to charges of conspiracy and identity theft. It all stems from a fight over who would represent the Nashville police officers.

I personally know Calvin and have done work for the Nashville FOP when he was president. I have had a good time of fellowship with him at police conventions. Having turned sour on the FOP, Calvin led the Nashville police officers into a revolt against the FOP and affiliating with the Teamsters. What happened after that can only be described as a tragedy for the Nashville Police Department, the Fraternal Order of Police, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Zealotry, no matter what banner it is done under is a mistake. It only leads to destruction. One thing I have learned from working with police officers for many years is that they all bleed red. It is amazing how such brave and wonderful people can so cruel to each other. One thing I can say with certainty - God did not create the FOP, IUPA, NAPO, IBPO, CLEAT, PORAC, AFSCME, or the Teamsters. God has no favorite police union .

Tonight, one who dedicated his life to helping his fellow man goes down because of a misguided trust in man made institutions. Calvin is not an inherently bad person. He is a mere mortal who took his eyes off of the real purpose of being a police officer and became cynical and bitter.

I pray tonight for Calvin :

"Heavenly Father, our brother Calvin Hullett stands tonight in need of your love. Comfort him and his family in his time of need. Help him and us to let go of our hatred and contempt. Guide Calvin and us to peace and reconciliation. Give Robert, Danny, and Ed the strength to forgive him and to once again embrace him. I ask this as your humble and obedient servant - Amen."

POLICEPAY JOURNAL article that explains what happened

Article In The Tennessean (Nashville's Newspaper)

Press Release

Andrew Jackson Lodge of The Fraternal Order of Police

January 6, 2009


Nashville, TN—Former Teamster Representative Calvin Hullett plead guilty today in United States Federal Court to charges of Conspiracy and Identity Theft.

The charges stem from a June 2007 break in to the Andrew Jackson FOP youth Camp in Wilson County. Hullett, a former Metro Police Lieutenant, broke into the camp to install secret surveillance equipment. Investigations by the Nashville Police Department and DCS revealed no wrong doing by FOP members running the camp.

“The FOP is glad that Mr. Hullett has taken responsibility for his criminal actions that were intended sully the name of the FOP Youth Camp,” said Robert Weaver, President of the Andrew Jackson Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police. “The men and women of this organization have worked many years to benefit the community through our work and the charities we support, specifically the Youth Camp. We look forward to moving forward and continue to build relationships of trust with the community we serve.”

Sentencing for Mr. Hullett will take place later this year.

The Fraternal Order of Police is the world's largest organization of sworn law enforcement personnel, with more than 318,000 members in more than 2,100 lodges.


Superior, WI - Police criticize attorney's attempts to view union meeting minutes

Floyd Peters, City of Superior Police Chief

Duluth News Tribune

"The Superior Police Department’s union issued a news release today charging longtime Douglas County District Attorney Dan Blank, who is running for judge, with acting in a “subversive and unethical manner.’’

Wisconsin Professional Police Association Local 27 alleged that Blank attempted to obtain private union meeting minutes from a union member, according to the statement signed by WPPA Local 27 Union President Gary Gothner."

The union has endorsed Blank’s opponent Kelly Thimm for the Douglas County Circuit Court judgeship. Thimm works in Blank’s office as an assistant district attorney.

“I did nothing subversive or unethical,’’ Blank said. “Merely asked a union member if it would be appropriate for me to have access to the minutes of the endorsement meeting so I could satisfy my curiosity about how many people were there, what the nature of the discussion was, and in part, to find out maybe what was fueling the quote that he gave you — the union president gave you — on the day of my announcement.’’


Bridgeport, CT - Police contract wins final OK

Bridgeport City Councilor, Robert Walsh

Connecticut Post

"BRIDGEPORT - A new police contract that defers raises for two years and contributes $824,000 toward reducing this year's $20 million deficit has won final approval from the City Council.

While the wage pact for the Police Department's 434 officers passed unanimously Monday night, several council members worried the city will face millions in expenses in year three and four of the contract.

The police union narrowly approved the contract last month.

The contract, which avoids threatened police layoffs, calls for no raises in the first two years and 6 and 5 percent raises in the last two years. Those raises add up to $2.5 million over the two-year period."

Philadelphia, PA - Mayor Nutter seeks big concessions in police, fire talks

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter with President-Elect Barack Obama

Philadelphia Inquirer

"Mayor Nutter is seeking sweeping concessions on salary, work rules, health care and pension benefits in early contract negotiations with the city's police and fire unions.

With City Hall reeling from the fast-growing budget crisis, Nutter was widely expected to take a hard line. But the scope of his demands seems nonetheless to have surprised union leaders."

Link To Mayor's Proposal

Link To Union's Proposal

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Waco, TX - CLEAT has high profile in local disputes

Anne Cyr, president of the Waco Police Association

Waco Tribute-Herald

"Between infighting among local police and sheriff’s union members and wrongful termination lawsuits, representatives of the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas, or CLEAT, have been active in the Waco area of late.

Some in the law enforcement profession see CLEAT as a safe haven for legal representation and civil-service rights for officers. Others see the organization as meddlesome, bureaucratic and aggressive in its tactics."

Stockton, CA - Police sound staffing alarm

The Stockton Record

"STOCKTON - Not long ago the Stockton Police Department couldn't hire fast enough to satisfy the city's appetite for police, but last week it was forced by a shrinking budget to lay off four academy trainees who were about a month from graduating and joining the ranks.

Assistant Chief Blair Ulring, who has been in charge of the Police Department since November, said their dismissal is without precedent. Several retired Stockton chiefs with whom he had spoken recently could not remember ever laying off police."

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Austin, TX - City consolidating police services Monday

The Amercan-Stateman

Beginning Monday, the Austin Police Department will have 92 new officers patrolling the streets, serving warrants and guarding city buildings and landmarks.

The parks and airport departments will have none.

After years of discussion and months of planning, the officers who worked for those agencies will become employees of the Austin Police Department, an estimated $2 million merger that officials say should improve the city's overall quality of policing.


Muskegon Heights, MI - Gunmen hit Heights after cop layoffs

Muskegon Heights Mayor Darrell Paige

Muskegon Chronicle

"A downtown Muskegon Heights business owner was robbed at gunpoint Friday afternoon just one day after the city's police force was cut nearly in half."

According to Muskegon Heights police, the robbery took place at 67 W. Broadway, an apartment building which includes the offices of Moore Property Co., owned by Sandra Moore. There was at least one person inside the apartment building office when the robbery occurred, but no one was injured in the incident, police investigators said.

Las Vegas, NV - Civilian Union (LVCEA) accepts reduced raises to help in crisis

Oscar Goodman, Las Vegas Mayor

Las Vegas Sun

"As Las Vegas struggles with its worst budget crisis in years, the city has reached an important agreement with the union representing about 1,500 municipal workers.

The unions had hired Beth Kohn-Cole of Reno to get an independent estimation of the city’s finances before agreeing to reduced raises.

According to the two-page Dec. 26 report, there are “pockets of funds” the city has failed to take into account when claiming its need to cut employee pay hikes.

Chris Collins, executive director of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, which represents city marshals, said he hadn’t seen the Kohn-Cole report.

Yet Collins said he’s seen other reports that have concluded that the city’s revenues are up and not down, as the city contends. Add that to what he’s heard about the Kohn-Cole report, and he said he still needs to be convinced the city’s demand for reduced raises is warranted.

He quickly added that his union is ready to sacrifice its fair share if necessary.

“Can the union justify at this point in time giving the money back?” Collins said. “We want to do our part if they need help.”


Friday, January 02, 2009

Boston, MA - Riled Mayor Thomas M. Menino: Reports of cop layoffs untrue

Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association President Thomas Nee

Boston Herald

"Grappling with a severe fiscal crisis, Mayor Thomas M. Menino has vowed to protect cops from the budget ax, making public safety his top priority, a top Menino aide and police union official said.

Menino was enraged by reports yesterday that 200 Boston police officers might face layoffs and moved swiftly to make clear he would not take such drastic action.

Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association President Thomas Nee said Menino directly reassured him in a telephone conversation yesterday."

Boston, MA - Mayor Menino Dismisses Massive Police Layoff Report

Boston Mayor Tom Menino


Boston Mayor Tom Menino says a report that 200 police officers could be laid off because of major budget cuts is very premature.

Menino told WBZ Radio that there will be cuts in city services after the governor's announcement that the state is dealing with a $1 billion shortfall.

But what will be cut?

Menino said that's still being discussed."

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Austin, TX - Police chief warily offers potential budget cuts

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo

The American-Statesman

"Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said he has reluctantly found ways to slash the department's budget by $5 million, but he warns that the cuts could affect 'basic police services' in some instances, according to a draft memo obtained Wednesday.

The cuts also would shift costs to other city agencies or require City Council members to depart from earlier decisions or curtail long-standing practices. They include delaying a cadet training academy in March and putting off a council-mandated merger with the park police and airport police that is scheduled to begin Monday."

Muskegon Heights, MI - Police layoffs take effect

The Muskegon Chronicle

"Not everyone is celebrating the New Year.

Eleven city of Muskegon Heights police officers were officially laid off as of 6 a.m. today.

But whether this is really goodbye is still uncertain.

The police union on Tuesday filed a grievance demanding that the officers be reinstated, Jim DeVries, business agent for the Command Officers Association of Michigan and the Police Officers Association of Michigan, said on Wednesday.

Muskegon Heights Police Chief Clifton Johnson, Mayor Darrell Paige, City Manager Natasha Henderson and City Attorney Ted Williams could not be reached for comment."

Vancouver, WA - Police guild will not forgo ’09 raise

The Columbian

"Vancouver’s police officers won’t follow the lead of city firefighters and give up their raises for 2009.

Members of the Vancouver Police Officers Guild, the largest of the city’s 10 unions, will receive a 5.1 percent pay increase during the final year of a four-year contract.

“Our position is we are due to start negotiations in June,” Sgt. Scott Creager, secretary of the 183-member guild representing officers, corporals and sergeants, said Wednesday. “We aren’t interested in opening the contract for six months.”"

2008 Saw The Passing Of An Icon In Oklahoma Public Safety - Tom Riddle


2008 would be the last alarm for Oklahoma City firefighter Tom Riddle - known affectionately to many of us as the "Riddler". I first met Tom in the late sixties when I was a firefighter. At that time he was the right hand man for the president of the Oklahoma City Firefighters Association - Pete Stavros "The Greek." Tom worked, most the years I knew him, at the station at 16th and Pennsylvania. It seemed that he was always in trouble with the chief - more than one.

Tom was a part of the lobbying activity that eventually got the Oklahoma Arbitration Bill passed. I was there and worked side-by-side with him. Tom and I were there together when the Oklahoma Professional Firefighters Association was formed in George McCaffery's office in 1971. We had no money, so we passed the hat and each of us one-by-one put in what little cash we had. Ray Catlin from Lawton, John Hubbard from Tulsa and of course The Greek and The Riddler were there. Tom was always there.

Tom was hardheaded. Sometimes I think he just argued for the fun of it. I remember once listening to him go on all morning in an arbtration hearing in Okmulgee about a mute point. He finally wore down the city and the hearing proceeded. He was a bulldog. Long before the cities used Tony Puckett, they had a guy by the name of Jim Lindsey. Tom would get so mad at Jim he would nearly blow a fuse.

I was suprised to learn that he was 79. He sure seemed younger. I can honestly say that The Riddler had more impact on collective bargaining for Oklahoma firefighters than anyone. Andy Miller led us out of the wilderness, but it was The Riddler that took us to victory.

I sure hope Saint Peter likes a good debate. I am certain he is getting one. Farewell Tom.

Gaza Strip - Those weren't U.S. Capitol Police officers

Powerline Blog

Cynthia McKinney apparently was uninjured when an Israeli patrol boat collided with the vessel she was aboard, which was attempting to bring supplies to the Gaza Strip. "Free Gaza," the outfit that sent the supply boat, claims the Israelis "gave us no warning" and "rammed us three times." The Israeli government described the incident as an accidental "collision" that occurred after the aid vessel drew near to an Israeli military craft and was warned away.

The State Department thus far has not issued any protest. Its spokesman said, "When you enter a zone of conflict, then you have to realize that it's very, very dangerous."

No other Americans were on the "Free Gaza" boat.