Friday, July 31, 2009
While it may be a dubious distinction, Oakland topped the list of cities in need of federal aid for public safety measures. Oakland will receive $19.7 million in federal funds over the next three years and use it to pay the salaries of 41 police officers."
Chapter 9, a rarely used form of municipal bankruptcy, could allow the district to discard its labor agreements, said retired U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ray Reynolds Graves, who has been advising the district's emergency financial manager, Robert Bobb.
'The bond obligations and the labor contracts are the big financial burdens on DPS,' Graves said. 'Failure of the constituents to make sacrifices will make Chapter 9 inevitable. If people don't want to make deals, then (the district will) have to file.'"
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Facing mounting debts owed to trash collectors, retirement funds and even one of its topless nightclubs, Washington Park has filed for bankruptcy protection for a second time this decade."
The moves will save the city more than $850,000 next year.
In June, the city asked the firefighters and police unions to consider amending their collective bargaining agreements.
The city is trying to cut millions of dollars from the 2010 budget to counteract an anticipated revenue shortfall, which could amount to $7 or $8 million, though June estimates were at $4.8 million."
A statement Wednesday from the El Paso Municipal Police Officers' Association said officers also voted to give up their overtime pay for working holidays but will instead take additional days off."
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The one-year agreement includes no salary increases.
Union members will meet at 5 p.m. Aug. 10 to discuss the tentative agreement and vote whether to ratify it.
The uncertain economy and state cuts to local government aid prompted the concession of no raises, union President Jon Haataja indicated in a prepared statement."
First, the U.S. Justice Department announced Tuesday morning that Oakland will receive $19.7 million in federal funding to pay for 41 police officers over a three-year period. Just hours later, the Oakland Police Officers Association said its members had voted 'overwhelmingly' in favor of a contract extension that freezes wages until Jan. 1, 2013, and is expected to save the city as much as $42.1 million over the next four years.
The $19.7 million was more money than any other U.S. city received from the Justice Department's COPS, or Community Oriented Policing Services, grants. The money was the most Oakland could score after caps were placed on how much individual agencies would get."
Saturday, July 25, 2009
At a whiteboard, the volunteer evangelical pastor used a red pen to underscore his message from the Book of James as hymns wafted in from a sanctuary down the hall. The lesson: Faith without action is useless.
'Talk. Is. Cheap,' Spencer said. 'Action is what impacts peoples' lives.'"
Leaders of the city’s police and fire unions reached a tentative agreement late Friday afternoon with City Hall over labor contracts for 2010.
The contract would give both groups a 0.5 percent general wage increase, which is less than the 1.5 percent increase the groups received this year."
Friday, July 24, 2009
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
July 24, 2009
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
2:33 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hey, it's a cameo appearance. Sit down, sit down. I need to help Gibbs out a little bit here.
Q Are you the new press secretary?
THE PRESIDENT: If you got to do a job, do it yourself. (Laughter.)
I wanted to address you guys directly because over the last day and a half obviously there's been all sorts of controversy around the incident that happened in Cambridge with Professor Gates and the police department there.
I actually just had a conversation with Sergeant Jim Crowley, the officer involved. And I have to tell you that as I said yesterday, my impression of him was that he was a outstanding police officer and a good man, and that was confirmed in the phone conversation -- and I told him that."
In the late 1990s, the state of California enhanced retirement packages for firefighters and law enforcement unions and approved binding arbitration for contract negotiations. This gave police and firefighters unions tremendous leverage at the bargaining table, essentially forcing cities to enhance their retirement benefits for public safety workers."
Vallejo has a population of 120,000, and in fiscal year 2007-08 had a general fund budget of $83 million. Prior to the state's budget proposal to take local property taxes, our general fund budget had shrunk to $68 million as a result of the economic meltdown. The state's current budget proposal will reduce the general fund to $65 million. The state's proposal to take gas tax revenues would reduce the city's resources by another $1.5 million."
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Nearly 700 officers currently fall between the ages of 55 and 60 and could be lured into retirement, if only they were guaranteed affordable health care, said Fraternal Order of Police President Mark Donahue."
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The city now has unofficial agreements in place with both the police and fire unions, city manager Gordon Pedrow said Monday.
For the past month, city officials have been negotiating with the Longmont Fraternal Order of Police and the Longmont Professional Firefighters Association. Voters last November gave those unions the right to collectively bargain with the city for pay, benefits and working conditions.
But the agreements will not be final until union members and the Longmont City Council sign off on the labor contracts. If that happens, the contracts would take effect Jan. 1."
Friday, July 17, 2009
On the ballot, with be an initiative which is approved, will put another 350 police officers and 70 firefighters on Tucson's streets over five years.
It's called the Tucson Public Safety First Initiative.
If approved, it will require Tucson have 2.4 officers for every 1,000 residents. As a comparison, Phoenix has 2.02, Mesa 1.91. Scottsdale 1.59. Right now, Tucson has 1.96.
That's according to Policepay.net, a police arbitration service."
Chuck Garcia, president of Local 55 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, which represents Oakland firefighters, said the union agreed to the deal to save jobs and protect services.
'I think it's important that the citizens know that Local 55 took a leadership position to save the city $6.4 million so the city could have a balanced budget,' he said.
Under the terms of the contract, firefighters will work 56 hours a week rather than 52 with no additional pay, will have cost-of-living adjustments frozen through June 2011, will continue paying 13 percent of their retirement pensions, and possibly will have a less expensive health plan."
Almost all members reached Thursday supported pay increases, though members also cautioned they could not afford what some officers had hoped.
While most favored more cuts to pay for the raises, two frustrated council members believed that the city should increase taxes to fund public safety and keep up city-owned facilities."
Thursday, July 16, 2009
The man was killed by police after he emerged from his car and started shooting what appeared to be an automatic weapon, said Senate Sergeant at Arms Terry Gainer.
Police had not released the man's name or information about him when The Hill went to press.
As emergency vehicles swarmed the area and news of the gunshots trickled through local media outlets, some Senate staffers seethed at not being notified in the hour following the incident."
The Lawrence Police Officers Association and the Lawrence Professional Firefighters chapter have declared an impasse in negotiations with a team of City Hall negotiators. A federal mediator was on scene last week, but was unable to bring the sides together."
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
During his annual State of the City address, Daley noted that public safety employees who account for 70 percent of city spending were excused from a cost-cutting plan that required other city unions to choose between layoffs and furlough days and other givebacks."
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
ABC 6 | News:
A new breakdown of projected expenses shows no additional money is planned for employee salaries -- even if voters agree to increase the city income tax -- unless existing union contracts guarantee a bigger paycheck.
If adopted into a final spending plan, that would leave Columbus police with the pay scale that has been in place since December 2007. Their union contract expired at the end of last year, and negotiators have yet to reach a new agreement."
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Long Beach isn't alone this year in facing deficits, cutting budgets, and asking its employee unions to forgo promised pay raises.
However, while most cities know exactly what is on the table and exactly how much the scheduled pay raises will cost, Long Beach police officers have been promised a pay raise that could fluctuate by millions of dollars."
Friday, July 10, 2009
It was the latest in ongoing efforts to close a $20 million projected deficit for this year and one up to $40 million for 2010. City Manager Milton Dohoney is still negotiating with the five unions that represent city employees to come up with concessions. Council passed a package of cuts in June, but those cuts included a $3 million federal police grant and $4.2 million in money saved by most employees taking six unpaid days. Those two things have since fallen through."
The union, the Fraternal Order of Police No. 5, agreed to a three-year contract, which is retroactive to April 1, 2008 and will expire on June 30, 2011. While the county committed to not laying off officers over the next two years, the union agreed to give back 5 percent of compensation during the 2010 and 2011 fiscal years through increased health care contributions and reductions in overtime, court standby and holiday pay, which totals $1.2 million."
Calling talks 'far in-between and unproductive' in his weekly report, City Manager Scott Ochoa said furloughs may be the only way for the Police Department to reach the $280,000 in savings called for in the city's budget.
Ochoa said it has been difficult for the city to even sit down with officials from the Monrovia Police Officers' Association union.
'The issue that we've had is that we haven't had much of a dialogue,' he said.
Dieter Dammeier, an attorney for the union, did not return four calls Tuesday seeking comment for this story."
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Fraternal Order of Police members approved the contract, but not without a warning for Tulsans. Some officers say either way the vote went tonight, there would be fewer officers on the street, and citizens will pay the price.
Officers began voting Tuesday at precincts across the city, forced to choose between what they say are the lesser of two evils."
The announcement comes after lengthy negotiations between the Fraternal Order of Police union and the city of Dayton failed to achieve a similar wage freeze agreed to by other bargaining unit and management level employees in April, according to a press release."
Sunday, July 05, 2009
The City Council committed in mid-May to raises for police and firefighters and to make Lubbock officers among the 10 best-paid departments in Texas. But early drafts of a city staff-proposed budget did not include higher police pay."
Saturday, July 04, 2009
AMERICAN PATRIOTS STILL EXIST TODAY
July 4th Message by U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)
July 2, 2009
It was 233 years ago that founder John Adams, speaking about the birth of our nation, predicted that the July anniversary would be "celebrated by succeeding generations" as a great festival that "ought to be commemorated, as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty." The Massachusetts founder's prescription for paying tribute to the day included "pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of the continent to the other from this time forward forever more."
On that first July occasion, he also acknowledged the "toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost" to maintain and defend this nation. All these years later, John Adams' words continue to ring true.
This fourth of July, millions of Oklahomans will join with other Americans to celebrate the birth of liberty in the United States. We have celebrated this birthday during times of peace and times of war, times of great prosperity and times of great difficulty, times of confidence and times of uncertainty. Regardless of the circumstances, Americans around the world commemorate this day in the way Adams envisioned.
What then of the sacrifice? John Adams and the other signers of the Declaration of Independence knew that their stand for liberty and independence would come at a great price. During the Revolutionary War, many of these brave men lost their fortunes and possessions, fought side-by-side with the volunteers of the militia, and gave their life and the lives of their loved ones for the sake of liberty. Through it all, they never gave up their vision of freedom from tyranny.
The sacrifices made by these early Americans began a tradition that each succeeding generation has carried on, paying a high price to defend this nation, our freedoms, and the freedoms of others. Often, the cost of freedom has demanded the blood of our men and women on the battlefield.
Since Oklahoma statehood in 1907, many in our state have had a long and proud tradition of serving the country through military service. Through two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other conflicts, many Oklahomans have paid the ultimate sacrifice in a foreign land while fighting for this nation. We are eternally grateful to generations of Americans, past and present, for guaranteeing the freedom our founders envisioned at the birth of our nation. They made America the greatest nation on earth.
Thankfully, the tradition of volunteers willing to defend freedom is not just something for the history books. American patriots still exist today. I have seen them fighting on the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan. I have talked to them where they are stationed around the globe. Today, over 3,000 Oklahomans are deployed in support of the War on Terror and over 30,000 have deployed since September 11th, 2001. These patriots today are paving the way for future generations to enjoy July 4th celebrations. As long as this country produces such heroic individuals, we will remain free.
As we celebrate this July 4th, mere words will never fully express the gratitude this nation owes to those who have served and continue to serve. May we celebrate this day with the grandeur it deserves and with the solemn recognition and gratitude to those who have made it possible.
Independence Day is here. It is our nation’s birthday! The Fourth of July is a celebration of the day, 233 years ago, when our forefathers threw off the yoke of tyranny and declared themselves to be free and independent people.
Therefore, on Independence Day, we rightly celebrate and honor the incredible courage of these men as well as their tremendous vision.
What a collection of political talent they were. In addition to Franklin, there was Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Sam Adams, and John Hancock. On July 4, 1776, these and 51 other determined, patriotic Americans adopted the final draft of the Declaration of Independence, thus beginning the world’s greatest experiment in government. And with the signing, these men established that “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” are not only “unalienable Rights” of all people, but that “Governments are instituted among men” to secure these rights.
As we celebrate this glorious day, however, we should never forget, as we say of Christmas time, the “reason for the season!” In the last line of the Declaration of Independence, the signers acknowledged their “firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.”
One of those signers, John Adams, wrote that the American Independence “ought to be solemnized with pomp, shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, illuminations.” But he also pointed out “it ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
Therefore, on this Fourth of July, I urge you to enjoy the picnics, parades, ball games and fireworks. But I also urge you take time to remember our forefathers, those brave Americans who paved the way for the rights and liberties we have today. And, I ask you to take time to thank our Creator with “solemn acts of devotion.”
Happy Birthday America! May God Almighty continue to smile upon you, and forever bless you.
In the words one of America’s greatest poets, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
Sail on, O Union, strong and great!
Humanity with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Thursday, July 02, 2009
The city of Reno is still a big financial supporter of Artown, while at the same time it is warning police officers and other city employees that they may loose their jobs in order to balance the budget.
A representative with the Reno Police Protective Association says, Artown is not a tourist event, it's a local event. The representative says, the question is, are city leaders doing this for revenue or because it's a good thing for locals? The representative says, if the answer is, because its a good thing for locals, they should look at a public opinion poll which shows art isn't as high as public safety."
We are told by the union the vote passed by a small margin. City Council is expected to vote on the contract Thursday.
Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner issued this statement after the contract approval:
'The concessions provided in this contract, are appreciated, and I thank the TPPA membership for their willingness to help our community during this economic downturn.'"
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
“He is cutting jobs, and he accepts a pay raise,” said retired Police Capt. Gerry Lacertosa, one of about 70 current and retired officers who gathered outside City Hall.
The City Commission approved a 3.5 percent pay raise in 2008, bumping the city manager's annual salary from $170,870 to $176,850."
Don't they know it's the end of the world
It ended when you said goodbye
After lawmakers in Sacramento failed to meet a midnight deadline Tuesday to close the state’s $24 billion budget gap, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state fiscal emergency Wednesday. He hoped to prod politicians into coming to an agreement over spending cuts and keep the state’s financial crisis from deepening.
Politicians continued to wrangle over cuts Wednesday that would meet the approval of Governor Schwarzenegger, who has demanded a plan that balances the budget. Meanwhile, the state’s controller prepared to issue IOUs to creditors if the state can’t agree on a spending plan by Thursday.
California is not the only state struggling to pass a budget, but the depth of its crisis and the size of its economy raises the financial problem to a level of national concern."
And the head of the police union says it could also be the beginning of a crime wave. This comes after Houston city officials slashed $14 million dollars from HPD's overtime budget. Houston Police Union President Gary Blankenship says the overtime dollars were used to fill the gaps on the streets.
In other words, Blankenship says we can expect more crime because there will be less of a police presence on the ground. He and other officers point to areas like downtown Houston where overtime dollars were used to patrol main streets and address the homeless issue."
After months of calling for wage cuts to help eliminate a $12.5 million budget deficit, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner has agreed to a pay hike for police in the third year of agreement.
Dan Wagner, president of the Toledo Police Patrolmen's Association, said officers understand the contract is concessionary and said many were voting against the agreement crafted by top city officials and top police union officers after months of public wrangling."
But the war over the city's finances is far from over.
Decisions by the federal, state and county governments as well as city voters this month could all play havoc with the city's finances - for years to come.
'Tonight is just the beginning of just buying time for the next couple months,' said Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente."
VALLEJO TIMES HERALD
Vallejo closes another fire station - Vallejo Times Herald
A new fiscal year in Vallejo kicks off this morning with the closure of the city's third of eight fire stations, this time on Mare Island.
The station's 8 a.m. closure, considered by Vallejo officials as separate from the city's year-old Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing, is one of many coming changes, that include layoffs and employee wage and benefit cuts.
Fire officials estimate closing the Mare Island Nimitz Avenue fire station will add significant minutes to paramedics' and firefighters' emergency response times on the island.
The station had the smallest call volume of six stations
The city and the 202-member Modesto Police Officers Association did not meet Tuesday, Mayor Jim Ridenour and MPOA President Tony Arguelles said.
But Modesto and the union that represents police sergeants and lieutenants sought to avoid layoffs in contract talks Tuesday afternoon, but neither side was ready to announce a deal."
The Oakland City Council voted 7-1 Tuesday night to approve a $414 million general fund budget for fiscal 2010 that closes an $83 million shortfall through a series of tough measures, including laying off more than 60 employees.
Another measure is reducing compensation by 10 percent to all city departments, including the Police Department.
It remains to be seen, however, whether the $13.4 million reduction in the Police Department's personnel budget will actually come from a reduction in officers' salaries or from layoffs."
But first, the members of the two unions would have to ratify the proposals in elections before the raises set out in their contracts could be postponed.
City Manager Joyce Wilson said if both departments go along with the proposals, it could save the city as much as $1.3 million in fiscal 2010.
The El Paso Sheriff’s Officers Association may also be asked to make concessions to help county government through a $17 million budget crisis that is significantly worse than the city’s."