Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Blogosphere AKA Vallejo - Muncipalities can tear up contracts - Credit Writedowns

Muncipalities can tear up contracts - Credit Writedowns: "Marshall Auerback here. Remind me again what Larry Summers was talking about when he spoke of the US as being a “nation of laws”, where “sanctity of contract” is sacrosanct?"

Chicago, IL - Daley to police union: Get real


"Chicago taxpayers have been 'very good to public employees,' Mayor Daley said Tuesday, advising police officers preparing to embarrass him by picketing when the International Olympic Committee comes to town this week to enter 'the real world.'

'I just dedicated a brand new police station. No other city is building police stations….We spend an enormous amount of money. We're buying new police cars now. We have no apologies to make to any public employee,' Daley said."

Salinas, CA - City Council considers 6 police layoffs


"Six Salinas police officers could be laid off effective July 1 and an additional nine vacancies could be left unfilled if the City Council today approves a staff recommendation to start the reduction process.

The city had asked both public safety unions — the Police Managers Association and Police Officers Association — to take 10 percent pay cuts and defer 5 percent raises for two years. The requests were made to help the city overcome a projected $12.6 million deficit in the next fiscal year.".

Pasadena, CA - Our View: Giving 3 at 50 one more look - Pasadena Star-News Editorial


"In a pickle of far more than strictly local interest, the Orange County Board of Supervisors on Monday met in closed session to determine whether to press forward with its case questioning a prior board's decision to award early and large pensions to sheriff's deputies there.

It's all about the famous '3 at 50' provision, and since the pension deal is in place in 56 of California's 58 counties, it means a lot to taxpayers throughout the state.

In Orange County and virtually everywhere, hard-driving lobbying by law-enforcement unions over the last couple of decades convinced city councils and county boards that because we love the brave women and men who protect our safety so much - and we do, we do - we ought to reward them big-time during their retirement."

Washington, DC - US Seeks Power to Rewrite Employment Contracts Outside of Bankruptcy


"Employees who work for troubled companies and municipalities under contracts specifying pay, benefits and bonuses could see those agreements go by the wayside.

The U.S. government is seeking the power to rewrite employment contracts outside of bankruptcy court when it intervenes to help save troubled companies, the New York Times reports. The Treasury Department wants to be able to modify employee contracts when it seizes financial institutions, and President Obama’s auto task force wants to change union contracts at General Motors and Chrysler, according to the story."

Youngstown, OH - City budget looms; 34 workers face layoff


(Read the comments on the newspaper article. Most are based on POLICEPAY's research. The Youngstwon Police Association is a client of POLICEPAY)

City budget looms; 34 workers face layoff - Local & Regional News - Vindy.com, The Vindicator: "Police layoffs in Youngstown would compromise safety, an officers’ union chief says.

YOUNGSTOWN — Up to 34 city workers would be laid off, and about 14 vacant positions would remain unfilled in a 2009 budget that city council will consider today."

POLICEPAY.NET - Case Shiller - No Relief, Yet!



Standard and Poors just released its Case-Shiller Index for January 2009. All twenty cities in the index declined. This makes 30 months in a row that the Composite 20 cities have declined. The last gain was July 2006. Since 1999, the average annual growth rate for the Composite 2o has been 4.2%. The detail information for each city will be posted on our web site later today. The overview data can be seen now by clicking the link below. Read it and weep.

January 2009 - Case Shiller Index


Stockton, CA - Heavy police layoffs in plan


"STOCKTON - City Manager Gordon Palmer will propose unprecedented cuts today to balance the city's teetering general fund, including laying off 43 police officers and greatly reducing community policing, a model that for more than a decade has put officers on routine assignment in some of the city's most dangerous areas."

Oakland, CA - Dellums' presence as risky as his performance


Dellums' presence as risky as his performance:

"'I want to know why the mayor isn't on CNN or a national news show talking about what happened here,' said Sgt. Dom Arotzarena, president of the Oakland Police Officers Association. 'What the hell are we going to do about these parolees in our town?'"

Omaha, NE - You Just Thought Police Were Vindictive. The City of Omaha Takes It To A Higher Level


"It's a simple principle based in simple logic: Superiors should make more than the officers they command.

However, a recent labor court decision resulted in new Omaha police sergeants making less than their highest-paid subordinates.

The city's solution: Set the sergeants' pay at a penny more an hour than the highest-paid police officer.

The union's reaction: That isn't enough."

Denver, CO - Denver sheriffs to sue City/County


"The union representing 11 recently fired Denver sheriff’s deputies yesterday announced plans for a lawsuit to block the firing.

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 27 said the deputies were fired unfairly after the union rejected a demand by the mayor’s office that it give back 2 percent of wages and benefits from the current collective bargaining contract.

Starting salary for Denver sheriff’s deputies is $44,070, which is about what the fired deputies were making, according to Frank Gale, a sheriff’s spokesman."

Dublin, Ireland - Vallejo Becomes a Concern In Ireland (Who Moved My Contract?)

FINFACTS (Dublin, Ireland)

"Across the country, Vallejo, Calif., just got permission in bankruptcy court to tear up its contracts with firefighters and other workers. In Stockton, the city manager is studying whether to follow Vallejo’s lead".

Note from Ron York - And now? Concern about Vallejo spreads to Europe. A light bulb has finally come on for the financial markets - "If the City of Vallejo can jerk the rug on its employees, it might be able to renege on its bonds." It was okay as long as it was Henke and Company that got slapped around, but now that it could be Wall Street, things are getting serious.

I wonder why it took so long for those with the real money at risk (it's not the Vallejo employees) to realize that they might become "collateral" fatalities of the Battle of Vallejo. Have you ever had to foreclose on a 1,000 miles of residential streets? Wall Street is probably asking itself why it did not file an amicus brief - in support of the unions not the city. Oh well, two fat cats taken out with one bullet - big unions (welfare queens) and greedy capitalists.

Oh, by the way, did you know that it could also have a serious impact on the interest rates charged governments on bonds they issue? Not just Vallejo, but every local government - nationwide. Maybe, the League of Cities should have come out against the actions of the City of Vallejo, just as I did against the actions of the unions. I understand why they did not. It is very risky speaking out against your constituents. Trust me, I have been chastised severely, coast-to-coast.

Meanwhile, back in Sacramento the fate of all parties involved are being essentially decided by the actions of three people - three good, intelligent, and honest people, but still people and only three. Most of my adult life I saw myself in a battle with "the establishment", those in power. But now, I come to the point in life where my generation is "the establishment" and I am a part of it. Those that came before us have laid down their swords and are on the short journey to the big sleep. Just as they did, we will have to make decisions that long survive our own mortality. I hope it is the "right decisions", but I worry that it will not be.

"I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell..." - Blood, Sweat, and Tears


Vallejo, CA - Employment Contracts Are Now Viewed as Rewritable

(Note from Ron York: Read this article. It echos what I have been saying from the start about the national implications for public safety, and more, nationwide.)


Employment Contracts Are Now Viewed as Rewritable - NYTimes.com:

"Vallejo’s bankruptcy is being closely watched because its problems mirror those in many communities that have promised benefits that now look unsustainable. In many places the benefits have been locked in with statutory and constitutional guarantees.

“That’s why Vallejo is so important,” said James E. Spiotto, a Chapter 9 specialist with the firm of Chapman & Cutler in Chicago. “Chapter 9 and bankruptcy is the land of broken promises.” He said unions were better off negotiating concessions now than landing in bankruptcy court and ending up with no contract at all."

Monday, March 30, 2009

Oakland, CA - Mayor Dellums persona non grata by Oakland police


"Not a lot of love lost between Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums and the families of the four slain police officers who were laid to rest Friday.
None of the families requested that the mayor speak at the televised funeral - in fact, we're told, two families specifically asked that he not speak.

One of the slain officers went so far as to leave behind specific instructions in his emergency"

Hartford, CT - Arbitration Puts Public Unions In Driver's Seat


"With 12.5 million private sector workers standing in the unemployment line nationally, why are Connecticut's prison guards getting wage increases at the taxpayers' expense?

Last month, state legislators refused to follow Gov. M. Jodi Rell's call for them to reject a binding arbitration decision on the guards' contract, which will cost Connecticut taxpayers $86 million and give some state employees wage increases of 6 percent. This contract will set a precedent for future state and local government union contracts, including the agreements for about 22,000 state workers that are headed for negotiations soon."

Las Vegas, NV - Overtime sending budgets up in flames


"Overtime costs for Clark County firefighters keep flaring up like a stubborn blaze.

As the recession squeezes property tax revenue, the county is looking harder for ways to reduce firefighters' overtime, which last year grew to almost 15 times what it was in 2001.

Fire Department and union officials say some overtime is unavoidable, because fire crews must be ready to respond to emergencies 24 hours a day, year round. Overtime can be less costly than hiring more firefighters and paying for benefits and training, they say."

Chicago, IL - Daley: Won't Be Pressured By FOP

WBBM Newsradio 780

Mayor Daley says that neither he nor city negotiators will be pressured by the Fraternal Order of Police, even though the union will set up informational pickets just hours before the International Olympic Committee's site selection committee hits town.

'If they want to demonstrate, fine, they can demonstrate,' he said. 'It won't have any effect at all.'

Daley said the FOP has a right to bus officers to City Hall and conduct picketing, as it plans to do late Thursday morning."

Vallejo, CA - United States, Labour and Employment, Municipalities Can Void Public Employee Union Contracts Through Bankruptcy


"In a case of first impression that could have far-reaching implications, a bankruptcy judge in California recently determined that municipalities that file petitions under Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code (reorganization for municipalities) can reject existing collective bargaining agreements with public employee unions. In re City of Vallejo, Case No. 08-26813-A-9 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 13, 2009). Facing a $9 million budget shortfall, largely from collectively bargained payroll costs and benefits for firefighters and police officers, the City of Vallejo filed a petition for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 9 in May 2008".


Escondido, CA - Police group files suit to force arbitration

San Diego Union-Tribune

"ESCONDIDO — The Escondido Police Officers Association has filed a lawsuit to force the city into arbitration, hoping to overturn a labor contract imposed on the union.

The city attorney and city manager were not available for comment yesterday. Councilman Dick Daniels said the courts should not side with the union.

“I am confident we will prevail,” Daniels said. “In our contract agreement, there is no provision for arbitration. We have gone through (negotiations) in good faith on both sides. The thing to do now is to find a way to look for revenues.”"

Chicago, IL - Ruling for cops could cost city big

Chicago Times Sun

"Chicago Police officers denied their requests to take compensatory time off could be in line for damages at a time when the city is strapped for cash, thanks to a federal appeals court ruling this week.

Denying the city's appeal, the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the Police Department can no longer cite manpower shortages to indefinitely deny requests from rank-and-file officers to use comp time awarded in lieu of overtime pay."

Columbus, OH - Police, Firefighters Dispute Cuts To Overtime


"COLUMBUS, Ohio — Police and firefighters union officials said the city faces problems in its attempts to reduce overtime.

The union leaders said crime and fires do not happen on a set schedule, and both divisions are facing a reduction in staff due to retirements, 10TV's Brittany Westbrook reported.

'Without hiring more police officers for the upcoming retirements, you're going to have to use overtime,' said Fraternal Order of Police President Jim Gilbert.

Firefighters union vice president Jim Davis said overtime is not out of control, it is out of necessity at a time when more firefighters are needed."

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Vallejo, CA - Firefighters have done their part for a deal

Printed by the Vallejo Times-Herald

Written by Kurt Henke, President of IAFF Local 1186

"Since January of 2008 your firefighters have been meeting with the city to try to come up with modifications to our existing contractual agreement in order to save money for the citizens, while protecting your safety and ours. The mayor (if he is truthful -- and we believe him to be) will tell you we were the first union to offer a pay cut of 6.5 percent, back before the city ever voted for bankruptcy in early May of 2008.

The firefighters have in fact cut our pay by 6.5 percent forever (this was money we were receiving and gave back), and we have waived 1.7 percent that was due to us retroactively for a previous raise. We have also offered to give up (forever) two guaranteed raises of around 5 percent each for fiscal years 2008-09 and 2009-10."

Friday, March 27, 2009

Message To Oakland Firefighters


Today was my proudest day as a firefighter. Seeing you saluting the funeral procession from the overpass was the greatest tribute that you could have given. Local 55 you are a class act. I will never forget today. Boys, you made an old hose dragger proud.

God speed to you. I will never forget today.

Ron York, IAFF Local 2041 (a long time ago)

Oakland, CA - A Day We Will Never Forget


I sit here tonight in Norman with my wife Darlene and think about the four police officers in Oakland. We can only think about our sons. We are so thankful that it is not our sons. I am sure that is a selfish point of view. The events of today are overwhelming. All I can ask is why.

I just read the blog in Vallejo. My heart is saddened by the remarks I read there. I find myself torn between Interesting and Captain - the only rational voices in the dial0gue. Interesting, don't give up the fight. Captain, you have all the questions. Don't quit asking the questions.

Heavenly father be with those who are suffering in Oakland. Help them to forgive. Give vision to the people of Vallejo to solve their problems, Amen.

Good night, Vallejo.

Oakland, CA - Live Video of Fallen Police Officers Memorial Service - 11:00 PDT

Broadcast live by KGO Television San Francisco. The link is up now, but there will be no video until shortly before 11:00 AM PDT. Click the link below or the headline above for live streaming video

Oakland Memorial Service

11:00 AM Oakland, CA
12:00 PM Denver, CO
1:00 PM Dallas, TX
2:00 PM Washington, DC
10:00 AM Anchorage, AK
8:00 AM Honolulu, HI
3:00 PM San Juan, PR


Wichita, KS - Police union calls for Riverfest boycott


"WICHITA, Kansas – A controversy is brewing over security at the upcoming Riverfest. In years past, the city has paid Wichita police officers to work the festival and covered them in case of injury. Now, however, the city is changing that policy and the police union is calling for a boycott.

Riverfest is a nine-day festival that attracts thousands to the Wichita riverfront. It’s a job that has always fallen on Wichita police officers, working overtime on the city clock, but not this year."

Oakland, CA - Law enforcement from across the country converge on Oakland to honor slain officers


Oakland Tribune

OAKLAND — Members of the Oakland Police Department and the families of four slain officers will take a step toward closure today following one of the darkest chapters of their lives.

They won't be alone.

Law enforcement officers from all 50 states and a handful of foreign countries are expected to pour into the Oracle Arena for an 11 a.m. funeral honoring the four officers killed in related shooting incidents last Saturday.

A list of tentative speakers includes acting police Chief Howard Jordan, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, state Attorney General Jerry Brown, and family and friends of the officers. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is scheduled to meet privately with the families before the service around 10:15 a.m., police said.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Toledo, OH - Are layoffs looming for Police?


"TOLEDO, OHIO -- The possibility of a major police layoff in Toledo is looming larger Wednesday. Federal job stimulus funds may not reach the city in time to avert the cut backs.

The question remains, how a lack of funding might affect police department operations. NBC24 spoke with Toledo Police Patrolman's Association President Dan Wagner Wednesday."

Chicago, IL - FOP may picket during IOC's visit


"Leaders of Chicago's police union are considering taking the growing acrimony over contract negotiations public at a most inopportune time for Mayor Daley -- picketing on the day International Olympic Committee evaluators arrive next week to see the city.
Fraternal Order of Police President Mark Donahue acknowledged that a picket line of cops while Olympic officials are in town April 2-7 is 'being discussed,' but he said nothing has been decided by the union and declined to comment further.

But multiple police sources familiar with union activities said that an 'informational picket' is being planned for next Thursday, the day the IOC's 16-member evaluating commission is scheduled to arrive in Chicago. The sources expected the picketing to take place at City Hall, but the location is among issues still being discussed."

Comment from Ron York - Things are not going smoothly in Chicago. Negotiations are stalled. The FOP is in a political fight with Mayor Daley. The FOP had a vote of no confidence in the Superintendent (the chief) at a meeting of only 160 officers. The Superintendent has been hauled into court and threatened with a contempt citation for not releasing information concerning police officers. Soon Chicago may be crowding California off of this blog. I wouldn't want to be Mark Donahue. Good luck, he's going to need it.

Salinas, CA -Salinas Police Face Pay Cuts

KCBA Fox35

"SALINAS, Calif.- High ranking Salinas police officers are taking major pay cuts to help save the city some money.

The Salinas Police Management Association signed a new contract deal with the city to extend through 2011. The Police Officer Association is still in negotiations.

Salinas is facing a $16 million budget deficit next fiscal year. Most city employees have had to make concessions, including pay cuts.

As part of the deal, officers like Sgt.. Jay Malispina will be deferring their 5 percent pay raise until July 2011."

Vallejo, CA - Capitol Weekly: Uncertainty lingers after ruling in Vallejo bankruptcy case

Capitol Weekly

"A federal judge made a groundbreaking ruling earlier this month that the labor contracts of the bankrupt City of Vallejo can be overturned, but he is pushing for a settlement that would avoid nullifying the contracts.

A lawyer for the city’s labor unions said this week that one of the sticking points in the ttalks is a city demand that new hires and retirees begin paying 25 percent of the cost of their health care."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Vallejo, CA - Is Vallejo the Flint Michigan of the Bay Area?

Vallejo Independent Bulletin

Most of you remember the 1989 film “Roger and Me”. In it, filmmaker Michael Moore relentlessly pursues General Motors CEO Roger Smith. Moore keeps confronting Smith over the impacts downsizing at GM have had on the factory town of Flint, Michigan. Smith was an easy target. GM was the largest employer in town and Roger Smith ordered the massive layoffs that left economic ruin in their wake. Much like Flint, Michigan...Vallejo seems to be a place that just can't grab a break.

As we now know, Touro University has decided to pull out of building a cancer treatment center on Mare Island. Just the latest in a long string of “missed it by that much” opportunities for the city of Vallejo. Unlike the premise of Moore's movie, there is no one culprit who is exclusively responsible for Vallejo's decline. Just a long string of greedy acts, incompetence, shortsightedness, corruption, missed opportunities, and plain bad luck.
Note from Ron York - Marc Garman is the editor and publisher of an online news blog that is primarily focused on lowering pay and benefits for public safety employees of the City of Vallejo. It should come as no surprise to you that Marc and I disagree on almost every point concerning this topic. However, having said that, I must say that he has been nothing but fair and cordial with me. He has reposted several editorials by me in the POLICEPAY Daily Update that he did not agree with and has caught heat from those who agree with him. Marc can best be described as the "Matt Drudge" of Vallejo, but delivered in a "Rush Limbaugh" style. I have a hard time separating his opinion from his sarcasm and humor. He says a lot things that most people only think.

Santa Rosa, CA - Firefighters, police give up raises to avoid layoffs

The Press Democrat

"Leaders of cash-strapped Santa Rosa on Tuesday gave police officers and firefighters a standing ovation after their unions agreed to forgo pay raises totaling more than $4 million over the next two years.

“My faith has been restored. You came through,” Mayor Susan Gorin said as she and other City Council members rose in unison to show their appreciation as the concessions were announced."

San Diego, CA - Police and City Proposals, Far Apart

The Voice of San Diego

"The Mayor's Office wants San Diego police officers to participate in mandatory furloughs, drop paid vacation days and give up substantial retirement benefits. The Police Officers Association says the city already saves enough from vacancies in the department and says undoing its controversial DROP program could be illegal.

That's according to labor negotiation proposals from the city and the POA, copies of which were obtained by voiceofsandiego.org. The city's proposal was issued in mid-February and the POA issued a response to the city today.

The two documents are stark in their contrast."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lubbock, TX - Council turns down police pay increase

The Avalanche-Journal

"Police are not getting a pay raise in the middle of the current budget year as requested, and it was unclear Monday if there would be money for it in next year's budget.

Two City Council members - Linda DeLeon and Floyd Price - said they would consider a tax increase in the future to help pay for raises. But most of the City Council members Monday said they would not be in favor of raising taxes."

Vallejo, CA - Judge wants a settlement


"A federal judge made a groundbreaking ruling earlier this month that the labor contracts of the bankrupt City of Vallejo can be overturned, but he is pushing for a settlement that would avoid nullifying the contracts.

A lawyer for the city’s labor unions said yesterday that one of the sticking points in the talks is a city demand that new hires and retirees begin paying 25 percent of the cost of their health care.

Some think the ruling by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Michael McManus in Sacramento on March 13 may prompt other cash-strapped cities to consider bankruptcy as a way to break costly labor contracts."

Oakland Police Officers Association Mourn Their Loss

Message on the OPOA Website (no explanation needed)

Oakland, CA - Trust Fund Information for the Fallen Officers

Trust Fund Information for the Fallen Officers: "Trust funds established thus far are as follows:

Persons wishing to express contributions for the trust funds of fallen officers may do so by two methods:

1. Individual Checks made out to families and mailed to:
c/o OPOA
Attn: Rennee Hassna
555 5th Street
Oakland Ca, 94607

Make checks out to the following:

a. “Dunakin Children’s Family Trust”

b. “Romans Children’s Family Trust”

c. “Sakai Family Trust”

2. Wire transfers directly to Merrill Lynch Accounts…

a. “Dunakin Children’s Family Trust”
a/c #204-04065

b. “Romans Children’s Family Trust”
a/c #204-04066

c. “Sakai Family Trust”
a/c #204-04064"


Oakland, CA - Funeral for Fallen Officers

Funeral for Fallen Officers: "The funeral for the fallen Oakland Police officers is scheduled for
March 27, 2009, at 11:00 AM.

The services will be held at the Oracle Arena, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland. The services are open to the public. We are asking officers from outside agencies and attendees to arrive early.

Video cameras are not allowed inside the Oracle Arena. Arrangements are being made for a pool camera for a live feed to be shared by the media."

ESCONDIDO, CA - Police union may be following nasty blueprint

North County Times

"ESCONDIDO ---- City officials say they are concerned that last week's provocative police union mailer could be part of a nasty and aggressive negotiating blueprint recommended to unions across the state by a San Bernardino County labor attorney.

The blueprint, which is featured on the Web site of the union's attorney, recommends that police labor unions 'annoy decision-makers' and 'chastise them for their lack of concern for public safety.' It also suggests the union act 'like a quiet giant in the position of 'do as I ask and don't piss me off.''

Members of the City Council said some of the union's recent tactics appear to match advice contained on the Web site, which they called 'deplorable' and 'shocking.'"

Haverhill, MA - Police officers, firefighters refuse unpaid day off

The Eagle-Tribune

"HAVERHILL — The two police unions and city firefighters have rejected the mayor's request to take unpaid time off to help the city with its budget problems.

Mayor James Fiorentini asked the firefighters to take 24 hours of unpaid time off and police patrolmen and superior officers to take eight hours of unpaid time off.

The firefighters themselves suggested taking 24 hours off rather than eight because that was what was needed, at the time, to keep the Bradford fire station open until the end of the fiscal year June 30, the mayor said."

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cranston, RI - Police contract caught in crossfire

The Providence Journal

"CRANSTON — Mayor Allan W. Fung maintains that the contract he negotiated with the police union was a good one. It would save $1.39 million over three years, allow more officers to focus on gangs and community policing and raise the share that officers pay for their health insurance.

Now, tired of waiting for the City Council to approve the deal, Fung is going on the offensive."

Euclid, OH - Police officers get a deal with the city

The Plain Dealer

"Mayor Bill Cervenik said that four hours of talks with the union representing Euclid police officers today led to a tentative agreement that, if approved by union members and City Council, could avoid layoffs.

Cervenik said he and union president Dave Carpenter have agreed not to release details of the contract until the vote is held, probably Friday.

'I think both sides made headway and made some comrpomises,' Cervenik said. 'Letters will be going out (Tuesday) saying there will be no layoffs if the union and council ratifies this agreement.'"

Oakland, CA - How to donate to the families of the slain Oakland police officers

San Jose Mercury News

How to donate to the families of the slain Oakland police officers - San Jose Mercury News: "In the wake of the killing of four police officers by a lone gunman Saturday, the Oakland Police Officers Association has set up three trust accounts thus far for the families of the fallen officers .

Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40, of Tracy; Erv Romans, 43, of Danville; and Dan Sakai, 35, of Castro Valley, died Saturday after being shot in two related events by Lovelle Mixon, a 27-year-old parolee. Police later killed Mixon.

Motorcycle officer John Hege, 41, of Concord, was pronounced brain dead at Highland Hospital Sunday morning, police said. A fifth officer, whose name was not released, was grazed in the head and a bullet entered and exited his shoulder. He was treated and released Saturday."

Note from Ron York - There a lot more information on this site. There is a guest book for each officer that you can sign.

Oakland, CA - Doomed SWAT sergeants didn't expect an AK-47

San Francisco Tribune

"When Oakland police Sgts. Ervin Romans and Daniel Sakai burst into an apartment on 74th Avenue on Saturday, they knew they were entering a dangerous situation. After all, they were looking for a man who had already killed two police officers."

What they didn't know was that the killer, Lovelle Mixon, had somehow gotten hold of an AK-47 assault rifle, police officials say. All they knew was that the gunman who had shot motorcycle officers Sgt. Mark Dunakin and Officer John Hege about two hours earlier used a handgun.

Vallejo, CA - Bankruptcy judge suggests city and unions try mediation to break logjam

Vallejo Times-Herald

"SACRAMENTO - A federal bankruptcy judge said Monday he thinks a neutral mediator could help Vallejo and two unions out of a months-long contract stalemate.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Michael McManus made the comments in the first hearing since he ruled March 13 that he has the power to throw out union contracts for the city's fire and non-management miscellaneous employees.

City bankruptcy attorney Marc Levinson had told the judge that the city and two unions were far from reaching an agreement. Modified contracts have been forged in recent months with management and rank-and-file police employees."

Note From Ron York - After this weekend, the issues in Vallejo do not seem as important. There are certainly things other than money that mean much more.

Lubbock, TX - Police: Change costly, necessary


"Lubbock police say the department could experience severe staffing shortages within the next five years if something isn't done now.

But police association officials say beefing up the force could come with a $3 million price tag.

The Lubbock Professional Police Association is planning to propose Monday to the City Council a 15 percent pay increase over the next year for all officers. Officials say the pay increase would help get the department competitive and attract more qualified applicants, which has been a significant struggle."

San Jose, CA - What deficit? Hundreds of San Jose workers on track for automatic raises

The Mercury News

"Despite a growing deficit of more than $61 million, hundreds of San Jose employees will get automatic 5 percent pay raises totaling nearly $8 million in the city's next budget cycle.

Those 'step increases' allow workers to advance up the pay range for their position each year, and they come on top of the general cost-of-living increases negotiated in employee union contracts, which for most will be an additional 1.5 percent in 2009-10."


Friday I will be publishing on this Blog and on the POLICEPAY Journal the definitive, no holds barred destruction of the "Step Pay Increase Cost Myth." Yeah, I know, half of the department gets a raise, but there is more to the dynamics than that. WARNING - If you want to continue to believe the "Myth" do not read the article. You are going to hate it. For those of you who get hammered every contract cycle with this phantom budgetary cost, check back this Friday. I will be giving you the secret codes for the nuclear bomb on this issue. It will be laser guided and it will be dead on target.

Chicago, IL - Daley pulls 16.1% raise for cops

Chicago Sun-Times

"With tax revenues plummeting, the Daley administration has pulled off the table an offer to raise the salaries of Chicago Police officers by 16.1 percent over five years, according to City Hall sources.

The decision to withdraw a contract offer the Fraternal Order of Police deemed inadequate to begin with could further depress police morale, which is already so low the union took a no-confidence vote on Police Supt. Jody Weis.

It also could prompt the FOP to pull the trigger on arbitration, a potentially risky move for both sides."

San Francisco, CA - Justice Department to San Francisco Police Officers Association: Shut Up!

American Thinker

"Allegations that presidential pal Bill Ayers was involved in the murder of a San Francisco policeman appear to be running into something of a gag order from at the Department of Justice.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Justice Department and the San Francisco Police Department have contacted the San Francisco Police Officers Association and told them not to talk about the Ayers case."

Sunday, March 22, 2009

We Knew The Risk Was There - We Were Still Unprepared When It Arrived


At 10:00 PM. it still does not seem real. All I can say is why? Once I could have imagined myself in the position of the slain police officers in Oakland. At my age today, I think that this could have been my sons. Oh, I do not want to think those thoughts.

I have had only one encounter with the Oakland Police Officers. Two years ago, Matt and I were in Del Norte County and we came back through Oakland to go to a Athletics and Giants baseball game. The Oakland Police Officers were there raising money for a charitable cause. I think it was MS or some other medical condition. I loved them. They were all fired up and working the crowd. When I got to them I put a twenty dollar bill in their bucket and they all began shouting. One short police officer (I am short) was really into it. He was telling all the other people that I had given twenty dollars and challenging them to put in a twenty. We were laughing and giving high fives with them. It was a happy time.

In a few minutes I will go to bed and sleep soundly knowing that the Norman Police Department is keeping me safe. Steve, Jim, Paul and yes Phil are all working to protect me and my family. Just like John, Daniel, Ervin and Mark, they know that they may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice. Oh, I hope it never comes to that. I live in a bucolic setting in Norman because a small group of young people stand between me and those who would take it all away from me.

I wish there was a way that I could tell your story so that the public at large would know how difficult it is, but I cannot. I did not always realize it myself. To John, Daniel, Ervin and Mark, I thank you for being there to take my place. I am not sure if I am worthy. My prayers and thoughts are with your families. Your pain and sufferring are over. Their's has just begun. God speed his love to them.


Los Angeles, CA - Paul Weber's Statement On Oakland Killings

"Los Angeles - March 21, 2009 Paul M. Weber, President of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, issued the following statement about the tragic shooting today of four Oakland police officers.

We join our fellow police officers in praying for the families and friends whose hearts ache for their lost loved ones. We pray that God will continue to comfort and heal the residents of Oakland. The murder rampage today in Oakland should serve as a reminder that every day police officers bravely protect our families, friends, and neighbors from crime. Police officers in California and across the country work to improve the quality of life for all of us. For that, they deserve our sincere appreciation and respect.

The courageous officers in Oakland, like officers across the country, are an essential part of keeping our communities safe. We cannot forget that the safety of everyone is preserved and enhanced as a direct result of the vigilance and dedication of police officers. Across the county, nearly 900,000 law enforcement personnel keep our communities safe. Sadly, every year, a law enforcement officer is killed somewhere in the United States about every 53 hours, and there are nearly 60,000 assaults against police officers each year, resulting in over 18,000 injuries. We ask that community leaders continue to recognize the importance of the sacrifices made"

Oakland, CA - More Photographs From Yesterday

17 Photo Slide Show

Another Photo Slide Show

Governor and Mayor Sunday

More Video

Jerry Brown Speaks


Oakland, CA - Fourth officer involved in Saturday's shootings dies

San Francisco Chonricle

Fourth Oakland officer involved in Saturday's shootings dies: "(03-22) 12:15 PDT OAKLAND -- An Oakland Police officer shot Saturday during a series of gunbattles that claimed the lives of three other officers died this morning, Oakland police said today.

Motorcycle officer John Hege, 41, had been in grave condition after being shot during a traffic stop at about 1:15 p.m. Saturday. He was pronounced dead at noon today, according to Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason. Hege's fellow motorcycle officer, Sgt. Mark Dunakin, died at the scene of that shooting.

John Hege, 41.

Twenty-one photographs taken yesterday in Oakland (photo 21 is the perp)

The lobby of the Oakland, California Police Department today.


Oakland, CA - Three Police Officers killed, one critically hurt

(L - R) Daniel Sakai, Ervin Romans, and Mark Dunakin

By Jaxon Van Derbeken, Demian Bulwa,Carolyn Jones, Chronicle Staff Writers

San Francisco Chronicle

3 Oakland officers killed, one critically hurt: "(03-21) 22:55 PDT OAKLAND -- Three Oakland police sergeants were shot and killed and a fourth officer was critically wounded Saturday in a pair of related incidents that together rank among the deadliest attacks on law enforcement in California history.

A fifth officer, a member of the SWAT team that killed the suspect police held responsible for the shootings, was treated for minor injuries and released.

The first incident happened about 1:15 p.m. when two traffic officers were gunned down after what police described as a "routine" stop of a 1995 Buick in the 7400 block of MacArthur Boulevard in East Oakland, not far from the Eastmont Town Center.

Links to Videos and More

.News Conference By The Oakland Police Department

Statement from Oakland Police Officers Association

Video from the San Jose Mercury

There is an advertisement at the start. I could not strip it off - Ron

More details and Pictures from California Beat

Killer's family in shock

Las Vegas, NV - EDITORIAL: Police contract reflects tough times

Las Vegas Review-Journal

"After more than a decade of runaway paycheck growth, a public employee union has finally agreed to cut back the generous annual salary increases that have left local governments awash in red ink, pushing buyouts and preparing for layoffs.

But in bringing some long-needed restraint to the ever-rising labor costs imposed on valley taxpayers, the one-year contract negotiated by the union for rank-and-file Las Vegas police officers also demonstrates how much more must be done to bring public-sector compensation back into parity with the private sector."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Vallejo, CA - Negotiations Break Off as City Rebuffs Union Concessions

California Professional Firefighters

"Once again, Vallejo city negotiators have refused to take 'yes' for an answer.

In a Friday bargaining session ordered by a federal bankruptcy judge, the city's negotiators rejected even the most fundamental concession -- a relaxation of minimum staffing requirements -- and rebuffed a number of other concessions proposed by Vallejo Firefighters Local 1186.

The city's hard-line stance comes days before a federal bankruptcy judge is expected to void the city's union contracts. Judge Michael McManus last week claimed for himself the unprecedented power to invalidate lawful collective bargaining agreements with Vallejo's unions. McManus deferred the power grab for a week and urged negotiators to come to agreement."

East Brunswick, NJ - He Who Dares to Mention Police Pay

New York Times

"ANOTHER budget season has arrived in the tense municipal chambers of New Jersey, the first since the economy began its slide toward who knows where, and with it a fresh set of worries about what to do when the bills come due.

Layoffs loom. Revenue gaps widen. The word “furlough” has entered daily conversation. So unsettling have the numbers proved, in fact, that some elected officials have begun to ask aloud a question that previously was uttered only in private: How much more can we afford to pay our police?"

Vallejo, CA - Last-minute bargaining fails

Vallejo Times-Herald

"Despite a federal judge's prodding, Vallejo and two holdout unions failed Friday to reach new contract agreements, setting the stage for a courtroom showdown that could dissolve the employee pacts more than a year before they are to expire.

And no further bargaining is planned before Monday's scheduled hearing before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Michael McManus, who ruled last week that he is empowered to throw out city firefighters' and general non-management employees' exiting contracts, at the city's request.

McManus delayed dissolving the contracts, asking for information on city bankruptcy expenses spread to restricted funds and suggesting a new round of settlement talks."

Friday, March 20, 2009

Vallejo, CA - Marc Garman Interviews Robert McConnell

This is another good discussion with Robert McConnell. No matter which side of the issue you are on, you will benefit from hearing what Robert has to say. Marc does a great job with the interview.

Ron York

Sacramento, CA - California PERB Blog: Layoffs Are a Management Right

California PERB Blog

California PERB Blog: Layoffs Are a Management Right: "International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 188, AFL-CIO v. PERB (2009) __ Cal.App.4th __. (Challenge to City of Richmond (2004) PERB Decision No. 1720-M.)"

Denver, CO - ,Police reach deal on cuts - The Denver Post

The Denver Post

"The union representing Denver police officers today reached a tentative agreement with Mayor John Hickenlooper's administration to accept cuts to their negotiated contract to help the city close a projected $56 million budget gap.

The agreement does not affect base pay or base health care benefits but still reduces the contract for police officers by 2 percent this year and saves the city about $2.1 million, said Lt. Vince Gavito, president of the Police Protective Association."

Vallejo, CA - Negotiators meeting today with two holdout unions

Vallejo Times-Herald

"Vallejo city and union negotiators are scheduled to meet this morning in a renewed effort to hammer out new employee contracts, city spokeswoman JoAnn West said Thursday.

Meetings will be held separately with representatives of the International Association of Firefighters, Local 1186, and International Brother of Electrical Workers, Local 2376, a week after federal bankruptcy Judge Michael McManus ruled he can legally dissolve city labor contracts.

The IBEW's Ken Shoemaker said negotiations are moving in a positive direction."

Sacramento, CA - CalPERS’ lost decade: From boom to bust


"A new CalPERS staff report shows a remarkable reversal of fortune for the giant public employee pension system.

The pension fund had a huge surplus in 2000 during a high-tech driven stock market boom, 138 percent of the funding needed for future obligations. After the stock market crash last fall, the funding level dropped to 66 percent in December.

That’s well below the 80 percent funding level regarded by some as a minimum for pension funds."

Note from Ron York - Guys, this is a problem. A problem that is not going away. It will have to be addressed. If it is not, there will eventually be a groundswell of public opinion against public safety pensions. Today, it is only the standard bearers making the charge. Soon it will be the talk at the barbershop, the bars, at church and on that pesky talk radio. This topic must be removed from the public arena and relegated to a bunch of boring actuaries.

Orlando, FL - Card-check proposal would hurt workers and businesses

Orlando Sentinel

Mitch Needleman of Brevard is a former state representative and is a life member of the Florida Police Benevolent Association

"Elected officials must reject initiatives that threaten economic recovery and discourage employment growth. The Employee Free Choice Act represents just such an ill-conceived initiative.

Despite its name, EFCA limits the choices and rights of workers and would increase the clout of big labor at the expense of employees and businesses. EFCA fails employers and employees on several counts. First and foremost, EFCA takes decision-making away from local unions and rank-and-file workers by instituting early and inflexible federal intervention in contract negotiations."

Salinas, CA - Police Officers narrowly reject pay cut

Monterey County Weekly

"The Salinas Police Officers Association Wednesday narrowly voted against taking a pay cut to help the city balance its budget. The police union, by a margin of 50-47, rejected the city’s offer to forgo a 5 percent pay raise scheduled for next month and take a 2.5 percent pay cut, with the option of paying the same amount into their health insurance policy, according to a union member who wishes to remain anonymous. The pay cuts would have lasted until July 2011."

Las Vegas, NV - Interview With Gregory Kamer, Well Known Labor Attorney That Works For Employers

Las Vegas Sun

"When Gregory Kamer was transferred to Las Vegas from Washington, D.C., more than 25 years ago to work as a lawyer for the National Labor Relations Board, he figured he’d be in and out of the desert in a year.

Then one year turned into three and then four and next thing he knew Las Vegas was home.

In that time, Kamer has built one of the strongest labor and employment law firms in the state — Kamer Zucker Abbott — representing more than 200 companies and government agencies including Wynn Las Vegas, MGM Mirage, several downtown Las Vegas properties, Southwest Gas Co., the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District and Hooters."

Note from Ron York - This is a very well written piece. It is in-depth and thorough. It is more like an article in the New Yorker than a newspaper quickie. Click the headline and read the entire article. Don't be concerned if you end up liking Gregory. He is likable.

Chicago, IL - `No confidence'? Man, that's harsh. And absurd

Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune Editorial

"By a unanimous vote, about 160 members of the Fraternal Order of Police meeting passed a symbolic resolution Tuesday expressing 'no confidence' in Supt. Jody Weis (story).

Obviously the union members have their issues with Weis, but my literal mind balks at the term 'no confidence.'

'Confidence,' as I think of it, is basically an all or nothing concept -- like trust or faith. (The Latin root is fidere, to trust.) You either trust someone or you don't. You either have confidence in his integrity and decision making or you don't. Having 'some confidence' in another person is a contradiction in terms, like saying he or she is 'occasionally reliable' 'usually honest' or 'somewhat pregnant.'"

Chicago, IL - Mayor, top cop shrug off union's no-confidence vote

The Chicago Tribune

Mayor Richard Daley on Wednesday shrugged off a union 'no-confidence' vote against Police Supt. Jody Weis, saying he still had confidence in him.

'He's done a tremendous job. He's a very good, honest superintendent,' Daley said. 'He has a difficult job.'"

Philadelphia, PA - Without union concessions, Nutter asserts, layoffs will come

Philadelphia Daily News

"Mayor Nutter threw down the gauntlet to unionized city workers yesterday, declaring in his budget address that if he doesn't get contract concessions, there will be layoffs.

'I am proud that we pay our hard-working city employees for a good day's work,' Nutter said. 'They deserve our respect for taking on the hardships of working in the public sector, but they must understand that our city treasury is not an endless source of money.'

Nutter's $3.8 billion proposed budget and five-year financial plan spell out the city's position on the four municipal union contracts, which expire June 30. The city wants health-care cost cuts, no raises, work-rule changes - and a reduced-benefit pension plan for new hires."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hoboken, NJ - Layoffs coming to Hoboken police, fire and city workforce


"Hold on to your hats. More layoffs are looming in Hoboken -- and this time they'll be in the police and fire departments.

In an attempt to save the city money and bring down the recently-passed $123.8 million budget, administration in Hoboken is calling for the layoffs of an undisclosed number of city employees in the police and fire departments, as well as elsewhere throughout the city.

A layoff plan was filed with the state Department of Personnel yesterday, according to Hoboken's Fiscal Monitor Judy Tripodi. The plan calls for 'a reduction in force of uniformed and non-uniformed personnel and demotions in public safety.'"

Sacramento, CA - State ponders money shift to CalPERS to guard pensions

Captiol Weekly

"The state, already strapped by unprecedented deficit and a weakened economy, may be on the hook next year to bail out California’s largest public pension fund – a possibility that once appeared remote.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which provides benefits for 1.6 million workers, retirees and their families, lost more than 26.6 percent of its value from last July through January. The fund, which in October 2007 totaled $260.4 billion, now stands at $166.3 billion, as of Monday."

Commentary by Ron - To CALPERS and the California Legislature - are you out of your minds? Man, the bean counters and "fiscal conservatives" have turned you into balance sheet fanatics. Tax collections are down. The state is struggling. Yet you want to shore up the balance sheet of CALPERS. CALPERS should only be helped if it has a liquidity crisis - cannot pay current payments. It is a long way from being there. If CALPERS continues to be a gunslinger with its investments, the funding formula needs to be changed. It needs to be something based on long-term return on investments, not the feast and famine formula now being used. The accounting industry in the private sector worships the earnings statement and turns the balance sheet into a useless "plug." In government, the accounting industry has become balance sheet zealots. Governments do not even need balance sheets. Balance sheets only have relevance if there is a chance that the entity will be liquidated. Governments are perpetual entities. Where balance sheets make sense, the non-goverment part of our economy, they are so decimated by deference to the earnings statement they are worthless. Most business balance sheets do not come close to presenting economic reality. Only two things matter in goverment finance - liquidity (cash flow) and stewardship (spending the money properly). Throwing cash at the balance sheet is insanity.

Escondido, CA - Council berates police union over labor-issue flier

Union-Tribune (San Diego)

"ESCONDIDO – Outraged Escondido City Council members chastised the city's police union Wednesday night for distributing what was seen as a racist and inflammatory flier to sway public opinion in a bitter labor dispute with the city.

Mayor Lori Holt Pfeiler and Councilwoman Olga Diaz called the union irresponsible, and then joined the majority in a 4-1 vote to impose the city's labor offer, which cuts benefits but maintains salaries.

Councilwoman Marie Waldron voted no, saying she supports the work of police."

Denver, CO - Old union debate back

The Denver Daily News

"The old union debate concerning collective bargaining is heating up again at the Capitol — this year with sights set on local police and firefighters.

Sen. Lois Tochtrop, D-Thornton, has introduced legislation that would grant firefighters and law enforcement officers the right to form a union and bargain collectively.

Senate Bill 180 has already made its way through the State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee in the Senate, as well as through appropriations. Tochtrop said the legislation could be scheduled for a hearing by the Senate as a whole as early as Monday.

Opponents raise similar arguments made in the past concerning collective bargaining by employees of the state and local municipalities. Concerns are being raised that collective bargaining leads to overtaxing government budgets through increased payroll costs, which ends up hitting taxpayers hard."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

San Diego, CA - Could City Cops, Firefighters Leave Over Pension Changes?

10News San Diego

"San Diego's employee retirement board is voted to lower the pension rate guarantee from 7.75 percent to 3.54 percent effective July 1.

'They don't need to put in their paperwork until June, but we know of about 20 right now who are going to leave and it could go to 30 to 35,' said San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne.
Click here to find out more!

Lansdowne said the list he is aware of includes sergeants, lieutenants and even an assistant chief."

Economic Decline Has Been Arrested


The economic panic of 2008-2009 appears to be nearing the bottom. With yesterday's report of housing starts up briskly for the first time in many months and the bevy of economic data released this past week, the end appears in sight. As I reported on February 24th, the housing market is starting to emerge from its blue funk.

I still believe that the bottom for the economy will occur sometime this summer, but it could be even sooner, maybe as early as May. Based on data available today, the worse months are behind us - probably December and January.

Unfortunately for us, the hangover for local governments will last much longer. The last go around, 2001, it took nearly eighteen months for cities to recover. I do not think it will be as long this time, but it will be at least twelve months. Assuming that recovery begins exactly on July 1, 2009 and it arrives at your city hall on July 1, 2010, and your city stalls until April 1, 2011 to release its FYE 2010 audit, you are looking at two more years of your city singing the blues. After the FYE 2010 audit is released, they will have been "busted" and will be force into giving it up. (Current economic conditions have to be disclosed in the MDA of the CAFR)

Two years is an eternity if you are the association president and your members are watching the news and demanding that you bring home the money. The situation is further aggravated by your city behaving like "Mr. Potter." The next two years will be times of tough negotiations. More attention will have to be given to contemporaneous economic statistics than the city's historical financial reports (CAFR).

Daylight is starting to break, but we are a long way from being home. Yesterday despair, tomorrow hope, today the battle.

Superintendent (The Chief) gets no-confidence vote from FOP

Chicago Tribune

Note from Ron - The Superintendent is the Chief

"Chicago's rank-and-file officers issued a vote of 'no confidence' in Police Supt. Jody Weis' leadership tonight.

Greg Bella, third vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police, blamed Weis for low morale, poorly staffed districts, lack of cars and a lack of support. The department is in 'complete meltdown' and needs a superintendent who has the respect of officers and better knowledge of the police department, he said.
'The current superintendent has neither, and the citizens of Chicago are forced to suffer along with us,' Bella said in a written address to officers at the monthly union meeting. About 160 officers, of the 8,000 the union represents, unanimously supported the no-confidence vote.

The vote has no legal impact on Weis' tenure. The former FBI agent has a 3-year contract for $310,000 a year, but he essentially serves at the pleasure of Mayor Richard M. Daley. Still, Weis is only the second superintendent to get the no-confidence vote in union members' memories."

Tulsa, OK - Mayor orders 7 percent cutbacks

The Tulsa World

"Mayor Kathy Taylor has ordered city department heads to make 7 percent cuts in their budget proposals for next fiscal year to help cover a projected $13 million gap created by lower revenues and increased expenses.

'That's probably a little bit aggressive, but we need to be aggressive because we have to have a balanced budget,' she told the City Council recently during a financial briefing.

Taylor said the goal is to do this while 'protecting core city services and minimizing the human impact.' Core services would be police, fire, trash collection and water, sewer and street maintenance."

Escondido, CA - City disputes facts in police union's flier

Union-Tribune (San Diego)

"ESCONDIDO — City officials are challenging statistics in a controversial flier by the police union depicting Escondido as gang-infested and on the verge of a major crime wave.

The flier, mailed to about 17,000 households, stems from the city's effort to cut employee benefits to help close a widening budget gap. The city wants to suspend automatic pay raises and contributions to 401(k)s for the Police Department, terms that other unions have accepted or were forced to accept.

But the police union has rejected the offer, saying that the city has enough money to avoid such cuts. The dispute is headed to the City Council at 4 p.m. today."

Vallejo, CA - More Details On Friday's Court Decision

The San Francisco Chronicle

"In a move that's sure to have repercussions for cash-strapped cities across the state, a judge has ruled that Vallejo can nullify its union contracts as part of its bankruptcy restructuring.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Michael McManus ruled Friday that the city can reject its contracts with its fire and electrical workers unions, allowing the city to begin negotiations from scratch.

'I'm very satisfied. It confirms what we've been saying all along,' said Mayor Osby Davis."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Baltimore, MD - Police, Firefighters Reach Pension Deal


"BALTIMORE (AP) ― Three Baltimore public safety unions have reached an agreement with the city reducing retirement payouts for police officers and firefighters working longer than 20 years.

The compromise would save the city an estimated $4 million to $7 million annually."

Vallejo, CA - Bankruptcy on the Table - New Jersy Is Watching


"Vallejo, California declared Chapter 9 bankruptcy last year primarily to get out of generous obligations promised to public employees. Yesterday they did. A judge ruled that union contracts can be voided in a municipal bankruptcy.

Also yesterday, the New Jersey legislature allowed localities to skip out on making half of their required pension payments that would otherwise be due April 1. I will have much more to say about the wisdom of that maneuver after I locate the names of the 63 cretins who voted for that abomination but for now I have a word for New Jersey state workers and their unions."

Vallejo, CA - A Message From "Deep Throat"

We just received this information from an unidentified source. Normally, we would not post such information, but knowing what our other sources have told us, the writer of this letter is privy to inside information. Just remember, it is unsourced information. - Ron York

This Is What "Deep Throat" Had To Say

The facts are as follows contrary to Joanne Wests statement that the Fire Union has not offered Long term solutions.

1. The Fire Union has Cut it pay by 8.2 % unlike the city manager we actually CUT our Pay Permanently.

2. The Firefighters have given up and additional 10% in future raises for ever.

3. The Firefighters have offered to Cap there Medical at Kaiser North Just Like the Police.

4. The Firefighters have offered to reduce the Minnimum Staffing From 28 per day to 22 per day and if nessesary to 19 per day if the city were to Lose funding for MareIsland Fire Protection.

5.The Firefighters have offered to and have drawn up a Mandatory Light duty policy( at the Citys request.

6. The Firefighters offered to give up the 600 hours of union buisness leave that was negoitated for salary give ups in 2004.( the police Kept theres.

7.The Firefighters have Offered to Take NO RAISES for the next 3 years unlike the Police and CAMP.

8. The fire fighters have offered to cut the amount of people allowed off per day on Vacation and other leave by 3 perday. The police actually got and increase by One per day.

9.The Firefighters have offered to give upupwards of 30 to 40 MILLION dollars in dammages in exchange for 2 Million dollars to be payed 0ver 4 years starting two years from now at 400,000. a year.

These are FACTS not Fantasy and The Times Herald was given this information so it is Shocking that they would not put them in this article.

What has the city done well they have spent nearly 7 MILLION dollars on Bankruptcy so far on there attorneys and consultants with another 2 million set asside for next fiscal year. This is enough money to have kept the two fire stations that were closed open and put and additional 10 to 20 police officers on the street.

The Firefighters have been there working from the beginning to help the city, The city has not helped themselves and continues a FAILED policy much the same as our elected Leaders failed to Change Iraq policy these leaders are committing the same mistakes and yes the suffering and destruction of this great city continues.

Oh Buy the way the City admits in court papers that the Firefighters are at the Median salary or slightly below using there proposed citys as reference points. I guess nothing short of a complete dismantiling of the Fire department will make some people happy.

It is a Shame becuase everyone at the VFD DOES CARE about this city and shows it every day.

Vallejo, CA - Fire union, IBEW ready to talk

Vallejo Times-Herald

"No meetings have been scheduled, but officials from both the city and two employee unions insisted Monday they are willing to try to settle a contract dispute to help Vallejo escape bankruptcy.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Michael McManus late Friday ruled he may void city contracts with the two groups unless they settle out of court.

McManus strongly encouraged the city and the International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 1186, and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 180, to try to reach agreement be-fore a March 23 court hearing.

IBEW and fire union officials Monday said they would like to meet with the city."

Nassau County, NY - Cops to lose $100G in termination pay under cap


"High-ranking, longtime Nassau police officers eligible to receive as much as a half-million dollars in termination pay would lose at least $100,000 each under payout caps expected to be in place this summer, county officials said Monday.

The caps, which limit termination pay to a maximum of two times a retiring officer's salary, are part of the recent deals County Executive Thomas Suozzi made with Nassau police and detective unions to avoid layoffs."

Norwich, CT - Contract with police union ratified through 2012

Norwich Bulletin

"Norwich, Conn. — The Norwich City Council unanimously approved a new contract with the city’s police union Monday.

The contract, retroactive to July 1, 2007, runs through June 30, 2012. It includes six-month increases of 1.5 percent from July 1, 2007, through June 30 of this year. Afterward it calls for annual raises of 4, 4 and 2 percent.

The union represents more than 80 members, who overwhelmingly ratified the contract March 3.
Union President Jim Curtis limited his remarks to thanking the city. The total cost increases for the current fiscal year are estimated at $253,526."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Escondido, CA - Some say police union's flier crosses the line

Union-Tribune (San Diego)

"ESCONDIDO – Some residents and politicians say a flier sent by the city's police officers' union crosses the line, peddling fear and deepening racial wounds in its effort to win a labor battle.

About 17,000 Escondido residents woke up over the weekend to a full-color four-page flier in their mailboxes with five heavily tattooed gang members flashing gang signs on the cover.

Above and below them a message in large type says: “On the streets, gang members now outnumber Escondido police officers by almost 6 to 1 ... Why isn't the City Council putting your safety first?”"

Vallejo, CA - In a first, bankruptcy judge rules Calif. city can void union contracts

The National Law Journal

"In the first ruling of its kind, a bankruptcy judge held the city of Vallejo, Calif. has the authority to void its existing union contracts in its effort to reorganize, holding public workers do not enjoy the same protections Congress gave union workers at private companies.

Municipal bankruptcy is so rare that no judge had yet ruled on whether Congressional reforms in the 1990s that required companies to provide worker protections before attempting to dissolve union contracts also applied to public workers' union contracts"

Hey Buddy! You Want To Buy A Politician?


Today was the kick off for the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) 2009 Legislative Conference - normally a non-event, except for firefighters. Several weeks ago the Fraternal Order of Police held a similar function. These events are for the purpose of lobbying Congress concerning current legislation. The attendees gather at a large meeting room and are given a series of pep talks, just like those given for salesmen of large corporations. Tomorrow, they will go to Capitol Hill to give their pitches.

At today's pep rally IAFF President Harold Schaitberger gave a very good motivational speech. I liked it. Before I go too far, I must disclose that I was a firefighter for ten year, a member of the IAFF, and president of my local. So, factor that into my credibility as an objective commentator. Harold's remarks this morning got my "fan club" stirred up and I began to get emails - those of the "a ha" variety. It seems that his remarks about the IAFF's success in backing the winners in the 2008 election did not sit well with them. I did not find anything wrong with his statements. Harold does not need me to explain and defend his remarks. He is rather direct and easily understood.

What concerns me is the idea that the IAFF has bought the souls of these politicians. They haven't nor did they try to do that. Somehow there is a notion that organizations with an agenda, like the IAFF and The League of Cities, are corrupting the system by buying off politicians. My friends I hate to break your hearts, but most politicians are good and honest people. Oh sure, there are some dishonest ones, but there are also crooked cops. I have worked for, with, and against politicians for nearly forty years. I have found them to be just like the people I work with and go to church with. People have core values that they hold true to. Do you really think that someone who is opposed to abortion is going to suddenly change to supporting abortion just because you helped him get elected? Do you think that the "Right To Life" and "Right To Choose" people try to make converts out of politicians by giving them money? No, they find out where politicians stand and then they give money to those who agree with them.

Personally, I do not like giving money to politicians, but I have done my share in the past. Political support is given along the lines my friend Ron DeLord sets out - "reward your friends and punish your enemies." It is not "buy off your enemies and then convert them into supporters." It cannot be done. The IAFF has done exactly as Ron Delord recommends. The IAFF has historically supported its friend, regardless of their chances of winning. Just because the wind changes direction, they do not do an about face. Harold and his guys supported Al Gore and John Kerry and as a result have spent eight years in the Whitehouse wilderness. Last year, they backed Chris Dodd for President. The IAFF has not become victorious in politics because they changed positions. It is because the wind is now blowing their direction. This looks like political integrity, not political expediency.

This same thing applies to local politics. People support people who agree with them. Whether you agree with their decisions or not, most of the people serving on city councils and school boards all over this country are good and decent people who are making a personal sacrifice to serve, both in time and money. Many times reason is brushed aside by political hyperbole. It is okay to disagree with them. I do it daily, but do not attack their integrity.

The Concession Contract - A Sign of Weakness?


There’s been a load of compromising on the road to my horizon .. Rhinestone Cowboy sung by Glenn Campbell

Friday, the Las Vegas Police Protective Association (LVPPA) came to an agreement with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD). The agreement is in effect a concession agreement. The details and specifics can be found in an article by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The article is posted several stories down in this blog. There are those who will say that the LVPPA wimped out.

In a perfect world, wages would never be negotiated. They would be determined by a free and open bidding process. Wages would be traded on something like the Chicago Board of Trade CBO). Las Vegas would be listed as "New police officers -FOB Clark County, Nevada." Pay would go up and down daily. There are valid reasons why that will never happen, but we do not need to concern ourselves with those reasons. Wages for Las Vegas police officers, and all other police officers are determined by alternative means. Eventually, the market economy sets the price, but not in real time like commodities. At the time of negotiations, wages are set by a political process with corrections made later. Think of it like a large ship that is being steered through a channel. Any miscalculations are corrected once it is obvious that the ship is going off course.

Las Vegas is in area with few comparable departments, only Henderson and North Vegas. With only three departments, it is not possible to determine the width of the channel that LVMPD operates within, at least not one that would be reliable. The closest markets with large samplings are the San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles Basin. The standard deviation for these two markets combined is 8%. This means that two-thirds of the agencies are within 8% of the average. This translate into a channel width of 16% (92% to 108%). For discussion purposes, I will assume that this 16% channel is applicable to Clark County, Nevada. The forces that determine where an agency falls within this 16% ban are mostly political.

In 1944, the peak production year of World War II, the United States produced $15,623 (restated in 2008 dollars) in goods and services for every person the country. For 2008, we produced $46,241 per capita. This is part of the annual growth rate of about 2.16% per year above inflation of 3% per year since 1929. Wages have gone up with this dramatic growth. Everyone moved up with the economy. Some got there sooner and some rode in first class, but everyone was on the bus. This bus is 16% wide. What determines who is riding at 108% and who is riding at 92% is politics. Who do you think rides at 108%? You do not really think that it is the union that is suing, arbitrating and complaining 24-7?

The miraculous growth of our economy was not a straight line up. Most of the years were up, while a few were down, but the long-term trend was a steep incline upward. 2009 is a down year. When things go South the citizens see things differently for local government than they do for their households. They expect local government to make draconian cuts - impossible cuts. Management and elected officials who ignore this irrational concept are soon turned away. So what do you do when this occurs and the management of your city asks for concessions? I am afraid that most of you go into some type machoism posture - hanging tough. Yeah, real men do not give up anything. Do this and you will eventually find yourself at 92%. The smart guy plays along and helps the management and the politicians, realizing that it is only a temporary retreat. Retreat is taught at West Point as a strategy. Do you think it is called "How To Lose A War 101"? The thing that you must always do is to obtain the quid, pro, quo, or as the Mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman would probably say "get their marker".

Most of you need no more. You have figured it out. The rest of you, keep reading. The Las Vegas Police Protective Association have done a good job for its members. I can assure you that Chris Collins and the rest of the executive structure of the LVVPA are not lay down artists. Neither is the management of the City of Las Vegas and Clark County.

Is a concession contract a sign of weakness? I do not think so. I takes courage. Thinking, planning and acting strategically is not well respected in our society of instant gratification. What matters is not where you will be in three months, but you will be in five years and ten years. A real leader is one who can even think and plan for the future that will not include him.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Utica, NY - Future shock: Can cities pay for pensions?

Utica Observer-Dispatch

"Skyrocketing retiree health care costs will endanger every level of government in the future – including Mohawk Valley municipalities.

Everywhere, public employees are locked into rock solid retiree health care plans, experts say. Baby boomers hired in the 1960s and 1970s for jobs, including police officers, firefighters, teachers and garbage collectors, are retiring in waves.

And if local governments do not set aside money now for these costs, they may have to make so many cuts to future services that they would essentially be decimated, experts say."

Note from Ron York - Dan and Jennifer have written a very good article. While I do not agree with their dire predictions, there is a problem as long as the public thinks there is a problem. I highly recommend that all of you read the intire article. Give yourself a test. Can you effectively handle and mitigate each of the issues they raise? If you cannot, you are in trouble.

Toledo, OH - 75 Toledo police officers face layoffs over deficit

The Toledo Blade

"Seventy-five Toledo police officers will be laid off to help balance the city's budget shortfall, which now stands at $15 million, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner announced Friday.

But the Finkbeiner administration is hoping for a federal bailout in the form of a $34 million 'Cops Hiring Grant.' The mayor said that would not only prevent the layoffs but also allow the city to hire 75 additional police officers."

Anchorage, AK - Drama brewing over city's request to alter police union deal

KTUU NBC Anchorage

"ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- To help the city cope with its budget shortfall, Acting Mayor Matt Claman asked the police union to make contract changes.

But now the police union says some Assembly members are giving it mixed messages about what's really best to do.

Just about everyone on the Assembly agrees it's a complex issue -- they approved new labor deals with the fire and police unions before the budget deficit came to light."

Vallejo, CA - Judge: Union pacts can be voided

Vallejo Times-Herald

"A bankruptcy judge has ruled that the city of Vallejo may be able to void contracts with two key employee groups as a way to escape bankruptcy and looming deficits.

Stopping short of ordering the contracts voided, however, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Michael McManus urged both sides to continue to try to settle the wage-and-benefit dispute before he intervenes.

He set a further hearing for March 23.

McManus, in an 11-page ruling issued late Friday, held that neither state labor laws nor a 1979 state Supreme Court ruling in a Sonoma County case prevents the federal bankruptcy court from setting aside the city's contracts with firefighters and electrical workers.

Mayor Osby Davis said Saturday that he, too, hopes that city and union negotiators will reach a conclusion before the court hearing."