Tuesday, June 30, 2009
The contract will give all uniformed officers a 4% pay raise and improve some of the working conditions within the department.
Durant Police say that city manager Jim Dunegan, who is an ex-police officer himself, was integral to the smooth negotiations.
'It gave all the officers a very nice pay raise and it helped with some working conditions we have within the department, and the city made it very easy for us to achieve this,' Capt. Chris Cicio of the Durant Police Department said.
Captain Cicio also says that because negotiations went so smoothly, this is the first time in over 16 years that the city's contract with the Fraternal Order of Police has been signed before the July 1st signing deadline."
According to union President Sgt. Wayne Vincent, the move would save the city roughly $4.7 million during the 2010 fiscal year.
The savings equals roughly the same amount of money needed to fund the 2010 police cadet class.
Chief Art Acevedo listed the cadet class as part of a 3.5 percent department-wide budget cut.
Under the union's current contract with the city, officers were supposed to get a 2.75-percent pay raise for the 2010 fiscal year.
According to Sgt. Vincent, if the union's membership votes to accept the tentative agreement, that raise would in effect be eliminated."
About 13 percent of city employees exceeded the six-figure mark in pay last year, when salary, overtime and add-on pay for reasons such as bilingual skills were included. That's up from 4 percent in 2003, and 7 percent since Mayor Jerry Sanders was elected in 2005."
Monday, June 29, 2009
Dunkirk has become the symbol for retreat and many times is portrayed as an act of weakness. This image is completely false. Dunkirk was not a cowardly act by the British. It was a brilliant maneuver that eventually contributed to the ultimate victory. Dunkirk was the best alternative to a certain defeat at the hands of the Germans.
Today, many police unions find themselves in the same position as the British in 1940, having to choose between certain defeat and retreat. The rational choice is obvious. Unfortunately, ego and pride often get in the way. Most police unions need to be in damage control mode until there is an improvement to the economy. The national economy is near the bottom of this contraction and will start growing soon. The recovery for local governments will lag behind by about six months. The Christmas retail season should be better than last year.
The predicament that we are currently in is not a normal recession. Recession is the correction of excess inventory and consumption. The malady that afflicts us now is the product of fear and panic. The last ten months have been a period of forbearance, not the purging of excess. Once confidence improves to a point of security, spending will rebound sharply. It will be the first quarter of 2010 before improvement will be seen in local government revenue.
Today is the most hostile environment to be negotiating in. The next six to nine months will not be much better. Cities will be in the Fred Sanford role - "This is the big one Elizabeth. I'm coming to meet you baby." This makes the seventh contraction that I have had to confront this pessimism. I am sure it is not the last.
If you are currently in negotiations, you have four viable options:
- Backload pay increases
- Tie raises to an economic benchmark
- Provide for wage reopeners if certain conditions are met
- Sign a no change or small change contract for one year
Fact finding and arbitration will be difficult to win in most places. The economy is out of your control, just like a hand of cards in poker. You play the hand you get dealt. You currently have a pair of deuces. I would not play like I had four of a kind.
The goal is to hold any damage to a minimum and live to battle another day. Now is the time to build the relationships that will be needed later. You are pinned down and the city has assault rifles and are firing non-stop. Keep your head down and wait for backup (economic recovery). I can hear the sirens in the distance.
If you have a contract that is not up for negotiations and your city wants to renegotiate the current year pay increase, impose furloughs, or other cost reductions, meet with them. It is okay to make concessions, just get their marker. Let go of the bravado. Just focus on the long term goal. The road to success is not straight. Retreat and compromise is not a sign of weakness. Forget about what other departments think.
The economy will rebound quickly and sharply. To benefit from the rebound you will have to still be alive. The biggest problem you will have is with your membership. Lowering expectations is job number one. To your membership, your success depends on how well you improve basic pay. Right now that will be difficult.
It is hard to not be distracted by the "gloom and doom" being disseminated by the press. Ignore them. Concentrate on controlling damages, managing expectations, and building relationships. Play it cool - real cool. Dying for the cause is not a requirement.
Call me, if you want. There will be no charge.
Finkbeiner administration spokesperson Megan Robson said the contact package will be presented to the TPPA Wednesday, July 1, for ratification.
The Finkbeiner administration has requested city council to hold a special meeting Thursday, July 2, for council to approve the contract deal."
A reunion of former police officers featured memories and pizza.
It seemed an unlikely reunion: a gathering, 41 years later, of the police officers who clashed with demonstrators during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in this city, leaving behind an image Chicago has tried to shed ever since."
Jaime Fitzpatrick, a police officer who patrols Carmel and Sorrento valleys, received a 47 percent increase in pay last year. It was one of the largest raises among the city's work force.The increase wasn't triggered by a promotion or a change in duties..Fitzpatrick received a step increase, education incentive and general salary increase that the police union negotiated. Most of the raise, which boosted her pay to $84,500, was prompted by her completion of two years on patrol and the fact that she had a college degree.
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
10% cut in Oakland police budget proposed: "(06-28) 19:46 PDT -- On the verge of closing a $83 million budget shortfall, members of Oakland City Council have proposed slashing 10 percent from the Police Department's personnel budget.
The move would cut nearly $12 million from the general fund budget and account for the single largest reduction in the budget proposal that's up for approval on Tuesday.
The question is: Where in the Police Department will the cuts come from?"
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN
The Pueblo Chieftain Online :: Sheriff’s deputy fired after witnessing fight: "A sergeant who had been on leave since May for reportedly witnessing a bar scuffle involving coworkers was fired Thursday from the Pueblo County Sheriff's Department.
Tommie McLallen, who worked at the Pueblo County Detention Center, had been on paid leave since May 2, when a fellow detention deputy and members of the jail medical staff reportedly were involved in a disturbance at a Pueblo West bar."
Mike Violette, circa 1989
BY MIKE VIOLETTE
On Thursday afternoon the Sheriff finished the travesty that began in early May. He fired Sgt Tommie McLallen from his job with the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Department. This was an outrageous act of retaliation for Sgt McLallen’s active involvement as your Lodge President carrying forth the will of your organization with regards to obtaining the right to bargain collectively.
Although Sgt McLallen was fired from his position, the FOP Constitution under circumstances such as this allows he remain the Lodge 7 President for the remainder of the term of his elected office. He will be working on your behalf as attentively as he always has. That will not change. Many of you are wondering how Tommie is handling this. He is doing just fine. He knew they were moving to do this to him and both he and his family have been taking the necessary steps to prepare for it. He knows he will be vindicated in the long run, and what they did to him exposed for all to see.
In the meantime there are numerous things in the mill for him with regards to other law enforcement employment and various support efforts being organized both inside and outside of
As many of you are aware the investigation of this incident and the manner in which it was prosecuted was shameful at best. Our ongoing investigation reveals it to be a contrived overzealous effort designed to achieve a pre-determined end. In his statement to the local paper the Sheriff was audacious enough to state that “due process” was given and this was the result. Due process is best defined in one word—fairness. Obviously the Sheriff needs to study what due process is before making such a pronouncement. This was not anything remotely close to fairness no matter what the Sheriff and those closest to carrying out his will on this may believe. But that is and has been the way due process has been interpreted under this current administration in the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office.
You all were advised in my letter of June 26th from the Colorado State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police that this contemptible act of retaliation against you and your Lodge will not go un-challenged. This is headed to a lawsuit involving retaliation, wrongful termination, protected speech, and violations of 1st and 14th amendment rights all resulting in financial loss and emotional pain and distress. Make no mistake about that it will happen. As you all know lawsuits take months if not years to resolve. The FOP and Sgt McLallen are committed to see this through to its final conclusion. You can be assured we will use every venue available to us to fight this arrogant act, and any others that may follow. This is a long term battle both in the legal arena and the political arena. We will prevail in both. This was not a fight we wanted. Apparently the Sheriff and his ever shrinking circle of support did.
After the initial flurry of public and internal communications surrounding this outlandish decision of the Sheriff you can expect things to settle into where they need to be. There will be updates both public and internal via email, the Lodge 7 website, and the State FOP website concerning information that can be released as we move forward. However, most of the work and on this matter will be done without fanfare or release. Rest assured we will be working diligently finishing up the investigation, necessary filings, and preparation for Sgt McLallen’s legal case. We will also be employing other strategies designed to deal with the broader scope of this as time moves forward. So it should be understood by the members that although things will settle down publically, they will be moving forward privately. All that will be done will have your interests, Sgt McLallen’s interests, and your union’s interests and goals at the forefront.
We fully understand the hostile work environment that you work under, and urge you to continue to communicate with us as you have been by email, phone, or through the “Contact Us” page of this web site. All the lines of communication that you have been using to avoid review by the Sheriff and others will remain as the primary FOP communications tool for now. We caution each of you to refrain from using any work computers for electronic communications on this or other issues. We know Sgt McLallen appreciates your support and we appreciate the pertinent information that continues to come into us. What you all have been sending will continue to be kept confidential, and will be treated with your status protected.
You must remember, the city choose the path of BK. While the court ruled they did not have to "pillage" other accounts, the fact is Vallejo has $150,000,000 in a water account. The city choose not to use that money to supplement the GF and pay for public safety. Instead, they choose to file BK to break contracts which previous council agreed to.
They could have found ways to borrow from the existing accounts and pay for the contracts. Instead they leveraged public safety against the existing contracts. Vallejo now has one of the highest crime rates in California. It will take a decade to recover...if at all. Existing contracts were due next year and subject to negotiations.
I think every city employee is embittered by this process. I hope ten years from now the citizens will think it was all worth the effort. However, I think the real people who suffer from this situation, between hard headed union folks and vendictive council members, will be the public.
I don't like the thought of an entire city work force pissed off at the city...but there you have it. Good luck Vallejo!
Oakland council members target police budget - Inside Bay Area: "OAKLAND — As the city has moved through its worst budget crisis in memory, City Council members have said they want to see Oakland police officers take the same 10 percent compensation reduction other employees are expected to take.
Now, a group of four council members has proposed slashing $13.4 million from the Police Department's personnel budget — whether that money comes from ongoing talks on restructuring the police union's contract or not.
The proposal to cut the $13.4 million — made public Friday, four days before council members are expected to take a vote on a two-year spending plan — could put more pressure on the union to accept additional concessions.
It could also have negative impact on public safety — including possible furlough days for police officers or slashing sworn positions in the department — if the council votes to accept the proposal, and the union does not agree to change its contract."
THE TOLEDO BLADE
"The leader of the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association accused Mayor Carty Finkbeiner Friday night of again 'blowing up' an agreement that the two sides had worked out with the concessions needed to help the budget-beleaguered city out of the red.
'As we were finalizing the agreement, Carty called in with two last-minute additions he wanted thrown in,' said Dan Wagner, TPPA president. 'Lawyers from both sides said they were illegal, but the mayor insisted they be put in, and that blew the whole deal.'"
SAN GABRIEL VALLEY TRIBUNE
El Monte police union offers to give up raise - SGVTribune.com: "EL MONTE - The city's police officers on Friday offered to give up next year's scheduled 4 percent raise, which they say would help the struggling city reach a balanced budget.
But there's a catch, the association wants six months notice before the city lays off any of its 113 sergeants and officers. The Police Department has lost about 35 positions during the last two years due to layoffs and attrition."
Union and city leaders announced Thursday evening that Tulsa's police officers and firefighters will take eight unpaid furlough days with the rest of the city's work force. The contracts, reached after weeks of negotiations, still must be ratified by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 93 and Tulsa Firefighters Local 176 memberships before they are final."
Friday, June 26, 2009
The city's controversial plan to emerge from bankruptcy has gained widespread attention, in part, through the proposed erasure of existing city employee contracts. The city's bankruptcy eligibility is considered enough of a "matter of public importance," that the panel has passed the matter to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco for review.
The Vallejo City Council unanimously agreed to file for bankruptcy in May 2008 as it faced an overwhelming multi-million general fund deficit with no spending reserve.
A federal bankruptcy court judge ruled that the city was insolvent in September, after initial challenge from city unions.
Read the City of Vallejo's press release here
City management and three unions - the Chandler Service Employees International Union, the Chandler Law Enforcement Association and the local International Association of Firefighters - have been at loggerheads over two of management's demands. Had the two sides not reached an agreement via federal mediation by Thursday, the City Council would have imposed a solution."
The city's $51.5 million law enforcement budget for 2009-10 is about $4.4 million greater than in 2004-05, when Modesto had 261 officers in uniform. This year, it'll have 253 if the city can salvage a deal with its primary police union to prevent layoffs in its ranks.
At least nine officers will lose their jobs Tuesday unless the two sides can get back to the bargaining table."
Thursday, June 25, 2009
The legislature voted 18-0 to table the resolution despite a last-minute memo from County Executive Steve Levy saying that without the bill it would be 'nearly impossible' to negotiate a deal because the police union has been 'totally uncooperative' in ongoing talks."
The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 93 and the Tulsa Firefighters Local 176 'have done a masterful job of dictating policy,' the councilor said.
'This needs to stop and elected officials must assume responsibility for the citizens.'
Martinson's statement came a week after his controversial proposal to reduce the Police and Fire departments' combined budgets by $15.7 million from $142.7 million this fiscal year to $127 million for the one that begins July 1."
In a dramatic confrontation, Mayor Lori Holt Pfeiler accused council members Olga Diaz, who is married to an Escondido police lieutenant, Marie Waldron and Sam Abed of conspiring with the Escondido Police Officers Association.
Pfeiler alleged that the three made a deal with the union to vote against cuts in police compensation, which was part of a three-pronged approach that Pfeiler wanted to use to balance the budget for the fiscal year that begins next week."
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
By CRAIG KARMIN
A campaign to publicize the identities of thousands of people receiving hefty government pensions -- from onetime professors to former fire chiefs -- is catching on around the country.
The effort was launched earlier this year by a California interest group determined to promote its view that steep pension payments are bankrupting states and localities. Newspapers in New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Illinois and elsewhere have published lists of their six-figure public retirees.
Those named are former public employees and their dependents who receive an annual pension of more than $100,000. Atop one list is a former city administrator from the small Southern California town of Vernon, whose annual pension is $499,674.84.
Cincinnati, OH - City Council Agrees To $20 Million In Budget Cuts - Cops Run Into "Big Red Machine"
The police and fire departments were asked to cut their budgets by requiring officers and firefighters to take six unpaid days off or face job cuts.
Those departments must now decide how to make those mandated cuts, although union representatives said they could not be accomplished through furloughs.
'The city manager made it very clear that 'Even if you give up these six days of unpaid leave, we won't guarantee we're not going to lay off,'' said Kathy Harrell, police union president. 'So there's no guarantee there wont be a layoff if they get these days off.'"
Both sides reiterated their bargaining points in a short but tense council meeting that drew more than 150 people.
Council members maintained that they wouldn't lay off officers if the Modesto Police Officers Association agrees to defer raises for one year, saving the city $820,000."
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
That deal, crafted by new union leadership and veteran city officials, promised to raise officer pay by 10 percent despite an apparently worsening recession.
It's now the crux of a visceral dispute between the Modesto Police Officers Association and city officials who can't agree on a way to adjust the contract and prevent layoffs."
Sunday, June 21, 2009
In one story, there was San Jose's Municipal Employees Federation, the largest city union, which reopened its contract and gave back raises to help save jobs and city services. On the same page, there was the firefighters union, by whom, in the sublimely quotable words of the Santa Clara County civil grand jury, the city has been 'hosed.'"
I took offense to the statement in your editorial last Sunday regarding residency that read, in part, “watch [the cities’] employees, especially those at the top scale, become commuters with no more loyalty to the community than a paycheck buys.”"
Saturday, June 20, 2009
'We have been meeting with the unions every week,' Taylor said. 'They have been really supportive and helpful.'
Taylor added the unions still have to sell any final negotiation to their members.
On Thursday, the City Council narrowly approved Taylor's budget of roughly $567 million, down from the original $578 million, following a contentious three-hour meeting."
Friday, June 19, 2009
Both sides said they were satisfied with the outcome.
Jump ahead 15 months and, with Oakland in the worst financial crisis anyone can remember, that same contract is the source of consternation between the City Council and the Oakland Police Officers Association as the two sides struggle to reach a deal that is agreeable to the union while helping Oakland through its financial straits."
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Modesto Police Officers Association needs your HELP!!!
Modesto saw a 200% increase in Gang related homicides from 2007 to 2008, a 90% increase in overall homicides, and has been # 1 in Auto Thefts 5 out of the last 6 years.
With an increasing level of violent crime in the city of Modesto, the city council is considering laying off front line police officers!
-Modesto has been #1 in Auto Thefts for five out of the last six years! In 2006 Modesto was #5 in Auto thefts.
-200% increase in gang related homicides from 2007 to 2008, 90% increase in overall homicides.
-17% increase in Assaults with Deadly Weapons by firearm
-29% increase in Assaults with Deadly Weapons by knife
-Total homicides climbed from 11 in 2007 to 20 in 2008
- 9 total homicides in 2009, as of May 25th.
- Our front line police officers are working 24 hours a day to:
-Reduce gang violence
-Ensuring children are safe on their way to and from school
-Eliminate meth labs in our area
-Reducing the sale and use of illegal drugs
-Reducing Auto thefts
-Preventing violence and guns in public schools
The national average for police officers per 1,000 citizens is currently 2.40 officers per 1,000 citizens. The Modesto city council voted to establish the minimum number of police officers at 1.85 officers per 1,000 citizens. Although this commitment was made, our staffing numbers have significantly declined causing our city to have only 1.22 officers per 1,000 citizens. Due to budget cuts already imposed by the city, these declines have caused our association to currently have 28 vacant police officer positions as of May 2009.
Our staffing levels for police officers were higher in 1998! There were 27,000 less residents in Modesto in 1998. The Police Department currently has only 202 sworn police officer and detective positions.
Historic staffing level information:
Year Sworn Positions (including officers, detectives, and supervisors)