Friday, July 31, 2009

Oakland, CA - Police Officer's Association Press Release on Concessions



JULY 28, 2009

After months of negotiations with the City of Oakland, the Oakland Police Officers’ Association reached an agreement with the City concerning significant and deep wage and benefit concessions to ensure that police officers would not be laid off. The current OPOA contract does not expire until June 30, 2010. Members of the OPOA are entitled to a 4% pay raise, effective July 1, 2009.

The OPOA engaged in intense and lengthy discussions with the City and became convinced that, due to the downturn in the national economy, the state budget cuts and the City’s structural deficits, police officers will be laid off unless immediate action is taken by the OPOA to save jobs.

The tentative agreement reached by the negotiating team of Dom Arotzarena (President), Barry Donelan (Vice President), Wendy Rae (Treasurer), and Bryan Hubbard (Secretary), as well as Chief Negotiator Rocky Lucia (Rains Lucia Stern, PC), presented the tentative agreement to the membership at meetings held from Wednesday, July 22 through Sunday, July 26. The final vote resulted in an overwhelming majority of members approved the tentative agreement.

The agreed-upon concessions provide for a (1) deferral of the 4% wage increase from July 1, 2009 to January 1 of 2013; (2) for the next three fiscal years, members will forego holiday pay compensation for six holidays; (3) shift differential premiums for swing and graveyard shifts will be suspended for members with four years’ or less service; (4) shift configuration for patrol to reduce costs; and (5) on January 1, 2013, the members of the OPOA will contribute 2% of their wages to pay for their retirement.

The savings to the City in each of the next three fiscal years is approximately $13 million per year.

The OPOA President, Dom Arotzarena, stated: “I’m very proud to announce that the members of the OPOA have approved a significant concession package which will provide immediate assistance to the City and will save the City $35 to $40 million over four years. The members of OPOA, like many other police officers across the country, are making the hard choices to protect the safety of our communities rather than enhance wages and benefits.

The city has been allocated 19.7 million dollars in the federal cops grant funding. This money will be given over 3 years and will not cover the full cost of putting a police officer on the street. This will help, but alone would it prevent layoffs.

“The OPOA members and leadership recognized the impact of the current economic crisis and the need to react to it. The OPOA has been proactive in working with the City to address this very serious problem. The OPOA membership acknowledged that economic concessions needed to be made to keep the citizens of Oakland and those of us that remain safe.


Oakland, CA - Oakland police among highest paid


"True to his word, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums delivered the goods this week when the federal government announced the recipients of $1 billion in federal stimulus money for public safety programs.

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."

Detroit, MI - Vallejo bankruptcy ruling a precedent for Detroit Public Schools

NOTE FROM RON YORK - If you think I have been a fanatic about the Vallejo bankruptcy and that I have been overly critical of the Vallejo fire department union, its leadership and its poor prosecution of its defense, read this article - the entire article. It will be an epiphany for you. The game plan for employers is laid out for your inspection. If you are still not convinced, get out your checkbook and send more money to Vallejo. They will keep tearing up your "playhouse" as long as the money lasts.


"Detroit -- Detroit Public Schools, facing a $259 million deficit and diminishing cost-cutting options, has a recent California court ruling on its side as officials weigh Chapter 9, experts say.

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

Washington Park, IL declares bankruptcy


Washington Park declares bankruptcy - "WASHINGTON PARK — The village government of this impoverished community had it tough already before a strip club beat back a five-digit license fee and two public workers walked off with more than $444,000.

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."

Greeley, CO - Firefighters, police will skip pay increases


"The Greeley firefighters and police unions today voted to skip their annual pay increases in 2010 to help the city deal the economic downturn.

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."

El Paso, TX - Firefighters, police officers delay raises


"EL PASO, Texas — El Paso police officers and firefighters have voted overwhelmingly to postpone their 2009 raises to next year, giving up $1.2 million in compensation to help the City of El Paso meet its budget for fiscal year 2010.

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

Duluth, MN - Police union agrees to contract with no raises


Police union agrees to contract with no raises | Duluth News Tribune | Duluth, Minnesota: "A tentative contract agreement for 2010 has been reached between the city of Duluth and the Duluth police union’s executive board.

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."

Oakland, CA - Police agree to concessions


Oakland police agree to concessions - Inside Bay Area:

"OAKLAND — Oakland received two pieces of news Tuesday that bode well for the city's chances of navigating its budget crisis without having to cut the ranks of the Police Department.

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."


Click Charts To See Larger Image



Saturday, July 25, 2009

Phoenix, AZ - Police-union chief sees job as a watchdog

NOTE FROM RON YORK - Read this article. It is a very good discussion of two different theories on how to run a police union. The advocates for the competing methods are Mark Spencer, president of PLEA and his predecessor, Jake Jacobsen. I know both and count them as my friends. Mark and Jake have one thing in common - they love law enforcement and they take the job of union president very seriously.


Police-union chief sees job as a watchdog: "Mark Spencer's adult Sunday-school students flipped through their Bibles, oblivious of the handgun tucked into his boot.

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.'"

Lawrence, KS - Tentative agreement reached on Lawrence police and fire union contracts for 2010


"City leaders were optimistic Friday that they had averted a major budget battle with city employees.

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

Washington, DC - Tommy Nee Goes To Bat For Cambridge Officer - President Obama Makes Retraction

Law Enforcement Organizations Stand Behind Cambridge Police Officer

White House Press Release

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
July 24, 2009

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."

Sacramento, CA - State leaders failed to stand up to unions

BY JIM NANTELL (City manager of Burlingame, CA)

State leaders failed to stand up to unions: "When things get tough, the tough get going. In California, local elected leaders continue to make tough choices to balance city and county budgets, while our state leaders have failed to lead.

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, CA - A vision of California tomorrow?

BY CRAIG WHITTOM (Assistant City Manager - Vallejo, CA)

A vision of California tomorrow?: "Vallejo was forced to seek Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection in May 2008 because of expenses related to collective bargaining agreements and rapidly declining sales and property tax revenues. We will exit bankruptcy with a more solid financial foundation because we have made, and will continue to make, difficult financial choices.

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

Vallejo, CA - The Price of Arrogance


Former Vallejo city manager, Otto Giuliani, has filed a malicious prosecution lawsuit against IAFF Local 1186 president Kurt Henke and his attorney, Alan Davis. Giuliani and several other Vallejo city officials were defendants in a defamation of character lawsuit file by Davis on behalf of Henke. The case was lost at the district level and Davis subsequently appealed, but the City of Vallejo filed bankruptcy before the appeal was decided. Last fall, Davis filed a motion in bankruptcy court to allow the appeal to proceed. It was at this time that I withdrew my support. There will probably be more lawsuits against Henke and Davis. If I was one of the defendants in that "defamation of character" lawsuit I would be going after Henke and Davis with a vengeance.

Using frivolous lawsuits as a terrorist weapon is despicable. It is amazing how long this type of behavior was tolerated in Vallejo. The only explanation I can come up with is the overall leadership of the City of Vallejo were wimps. They should have taken out these guys a long time ago. I was a firefighter for ten years, but I will not condone slash and burn behavior, even if it is being done by my peers.

The bankruptcy filing by the City of Vallejo should have never happened. A solution could have been found outside of bankruptcy. The firefighters and police officers in Vallejo could have coasted along without much compromise, but they could not go around throwing bombs. The cops wised up and cut a deal. Unfortunately, the firefighters continue to use the Hezbollah method.

Actually, it is none of my business what the people in Vallejo do. If they want to behave like a bunch of sissies and let Henke and Davis be the town bullies, more power to them. What is my business is how the activities in Vallejo effect my clients nationwide. The Vallejo firefighters have single handily nearly destroyed the barriers to municipal bankruptcy. To those of you who think I should be a zealot that defends and justifies every action by my guys, tell it to me when your city waltzes into bankruptcy court and gets your contract tossed out. Send me a long letter praising the virtues of Local 1186 and their bankruptcy attorneys, who are consumed with a death wish strategy. If they are going to bet everybody's farm on this fiasco they should at least have the decency to try to win.

To police officers and firefighters across the country, if you are being encouraged by your lawyers to employ this scorched earth policy, fire them - today.

To the citizens of Vallejo, you only have yourself to blame. If you had not been asleep at the wheel this would have never occurred. Get rid of your apathy and vote when local elections are held. Better yet, run for office. In the event you win, you will soon learn that it is tough and thankless job. God Bless those that are willing to serve. As for your fear of arbitration, wise up. Hire an advocate that knows how to win in arbitration and it is not a tough as nails, union busting loud mouth. Hire Marc Levinson. He knows how to win.

To Captain and Interesting, the two of you could make a big difference in the recovery and healing process. You are both intelligent and articulate. I am often torn between your dialogue.


Chicago, IL - Deal to save city money would allow cops to retire at 55


Deal to save city money would allow cops to retire at 55 :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: City Hall: "Chicago Police officers could retire with premium health benefits at age 55, instead of 60, under a deal reached Wednesday that could save the city $23 million and pave the way for an infusion of younger officers.

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

Longmont, CO - Police and Fire Agreements Reached


The Longmont Times-Call: "LONGMONT — The police union won’t get a pay raise next year as part of a tentative labor contract with the city.

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."

Comments Retored

Today, we have restored the comments section for all postings. We expect that most postings will have no comments, but if you feel there is something that needs saying, feel free to do so. However, we ask that you avoid profanity and personal attacks. You are certainly welcome to attack and criticize my pontifications. I enjoy a good challenge. I always reserves the right to be wrong.

Ron York

California - Plugging the budget gap


California's budget: Plugging the gap | The Economist:

"Arnold Schwarzenegger emerged from a meeting late on Monday July 20th of the “big five” political leaders in California to announce that, at long last, a deal had been reached on closing the state’s $26 billion budget deficit. It comes after months of partisan bickering, special legislative sessions and the rejection by voters of ballot proposals that would have gone some way to tackling the problem. California’s governor laid on the superlatives, calling the agreement hammered out with the Assembly speaker, Senate leader and Republican leaders of both houses of the legislature “a really, great, great accomplishment”."

California - The New Breed of Ambulance Chasers - Municipal Bankruptcy Lawyers

THE RECORDER - Firms Bank on California Cities' Distress:

"A parade of law firms big and small have responded to Pacific Grove's call for help as the California city works to get a handle on its growing budget deficit."

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tucson, AZ - Ciy is proposng to adding 350 new police officers


The cost of 350 new police officers - KOLD News 13 live, local and late breaking-: "In November, Tucson voters will send a message.

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, a police arbitration service."

Oakland, CA - Fire union agrees to contract in face of budget crisis


Oakland fire union agrees to contract in face of budget crisis - Inside Bay Area: "OAKLAND — The union representing Oakland firefighters voted 335-64 in favor of a new contract that will freeze wages and increase the hours firefighters work as the city faces an ongoing financial crisis, the union's president said this week.

The city relied heavily on concessions from city workers to try to balance its budget this year, and the firefighters became the second major city union this week to agree to a new contract.

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."

Lubbock, TX - Council seeks raises for fire crews, police


Council seeks raises for fire crews, police | AVALANCHE-JOURNAL: "City Council members looked for cuts that could fund police and fire department raises ahead of the city's budget workshop this afternoon.
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

Washington, DC - U.S. Capitol Police kill armed gunman


THE HILL (US CAPITOL NEWSPAPER) - Capitol police kill gunman: "U.S. Capitol Police shot and killed an armed man after he attempted to flee a traffic stop just blocks from the Senate office buildings.

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."

Lawrence, KS - City hits impasse on police, fire contracts



City hits impasse on police, fire contracts / "For the second year in a row, the city is struggling to reach agreement with police officers and firefighters on new labor contracts.

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

Chicago, IL - Daley calls for arbitration



Daley to ask arbitrator to handle police, fire contract talks :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: City Hall: "Mayor Daley said Wednesday he’ll roll the dice and ask an independent arbitrator to dictate new contracts with police officers and firefighters who must do their part to help solve the city’s financial crisis.

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

Vallejo Must Die

Note from Ron York - The following article was published on a blog in Vallejo, California. It is written by Marc Garman, the editor of the blog/ internet newspaper. While I strongly support Marc's right to express his opinion, I respectfully disagree with it. However, it is well worth reading. Marc's views are becoming more accepted each day. I hope he is wrong.



By Marc Garman


The City of Vallejo is a problem. Not just a local problem either. It is a national problem. The legal precedent that Vallejo's bankruptcy has and may create will put many hundreds of millions of union dollars at risk. It will severely erode the leverage enjoyed by labor unions in California and elsewhere.

The courts have ruled that Vallejo has the right to void employee contracts deemed “burdensome”. Time will tell if the contracts Vallejo has with its employees will meet that fate. Fire and IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) employees are inhabiting a judicial purgatory that requires patience and large amounts of money. Of course, large amounts of money are needed on both sides of this legal battle.

A clear path for municipalities to void employee contracts in court terrifies labor. Cities all across America are feeling the squeeze of these tight economic times. Threatening to “Do a Vallejo” has become a common tactic cash strapped cities use to leverage their employees into making concessions.

Such threats are beyond unacceptable to organized labor. With the prospect of a union win in court seeming to dim there are only so many tactical options left. The battle of perception and public opinion are now the ones that matter most.

The movement to crush the Vallejo precedent will continue on the legislative front as well as the judicial one. The recent withdrawal of AB 155 from the California State legislature is sure to be temporary as it is certainly tactical. At some point over the next two years, this bill, which seeks to create a state panel to serve as a gatekeeper for cities seeking bankruptcy protection will re-emerge. When conditions in Sacramento are more favorable, it may pass, robbing cities of another piece of self determination.

Win, lose, draw or make a deal, the national labor unions have decided to make Vallejo an example. To “Do a Vallejo” is a term that must be re-defined at all costs.

Discussions have likely gone late into the night. Wrangling over “setting an example” versus “collateral damage” has been sweated over for some time. Local union leaders have undoubtedly pushed for their members here in Vallejo. A final decision has been reached though. Perhaps not a total consensus...but one with enough people at the top who matter.

To “Do a Vallejo” must become a euphemism for a devastation so complete it is unthinkable. The unions have only one clear option left in this battle:


Monday, July 13, 2009

Fall River, MA - Cops Accept 8% Wage Cut

Fall River Cops Accept 8% Wage Cut |
ABC 6 | News

"Fall River, MA - July 13, 2009 - Mayor Robert Correia was joined today by Officer Michael Perreira, President of the Fall River Police Association, Massachusetts Coalition of Police 1854, and members of the city's and the union's negotiating team to announce that the city's police officers have voted to accept an 8% wage cut. As part of the vote taken by members who attended union meetings last Thursday, July 9, police officers also voted for a three-year contract that was reached between the city and the Police Association during collective bargaining negotiations. The agreement will be in effect from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2012."

Columbus, OH - City plans no raises for 2010 Columbus



DispatchPolitics : City plans no raises for 2010 Columbus Dispatch Politics:

"No matter what voters decide Aug. 4, Columbus is not setting aside any money next year for pay raises that aren't already guaranteed.

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, CA - Police wages blur city's fiscal picture



Police wages blur Long Beach's fiscal picture - "LONG BEACH -- The ultimate amount of Long Beach's budget deficit - projected to be another $43.3 million starting with the next fiscal year -- lies largely in the hands of city and police union negotiators not just at Long Beach City Hall, but also in Santa Ana and other California cities.

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

Cincinnati, OH - Council spars over police layoffs



Council spars over police layoffs | | Cincinnati.Com: "The steps outside Cincinnati City Hall were filled at noon Thursday with firefighters, neighborhood activists and police officers - all urging council members to promise they won't lay off officers and firefighters to help balance deficits.

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."

Newcastle County, DE - Police take 5% pay cut, no layoffs



County police take pay cut, no layoffs | | The News Journal: "New Castle County police reached an agreement with the county administration that will avoid layoffs but cut pay by 5 percent.

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."

Monrovia, CA - Cops may agree to work furloughs



Monrovia: Cops may agree to work furloughs - Pasadena Star-News: "MONROVIA - City officials are recommending unpaid work furloughs for police officers, after budget negotiations stalled between the city and the officers' union.

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

Toledo, OH Council Approves Police Contract


Toledo City Council — after electing a new president and appointing an at-large member — moved closer to a balanced 2009 budget last night with the approval of a three-year contract with the union representing the city’s police patrolmen.

Tulsa, OK - Police Choose Furloughs Over Layoffs


Tulsa Police Choose Furloughs Over Layoffs - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |: "TULSA, OK -- The union approved their contract with the city, meaning officers will have to take eight days off without pay. The alternative would have left 48 officers without a job so the department could stay on budget.

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."

Dayton, OH - City laying off 11 police officers


Dayton laying off 11 police officers - Dayton Business Journal:: "Dayton City Manager Rashad Young announced plans Wednesday to lay off 11 Dayton police officers as a result of a financial crisis. The city is facing a roughly $6 million budget shortfall for the remainder of the year.

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

Lubbock, TX Police hopes for pay raise fade


Lubbock police hopes for pay raise fade | AVALANCHE-JOURNAL:

"A monthslong campaign for higher police pay withered ahead of budget talks that will begin Wednesday.
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

July 4, 1776 - July 4, 2009



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.

God Bless America - Senator Robert Byrd (WV)

July 4th: Reason for the Season

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.

What courage they had. With the signing of the Declaration of Independence, they had committed an act of treason against the British crown, and the British government had a history of crushing colonial rebellions. Benjamin Franklin was quite sincere when he remarked at the signing of the Declaration: “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

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,

Is hanging breathless on thy fate!

June 24, 2009

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Toledo, OH - Say It Ain't So, Ignazio - Council Delays Ratification


"Toledo City Council on Thursday refused to vote on a new three-year labor contract for the city’s police patrolmen, which requires the officers to temporarily pay into their pension plan, freezes wages for two years, and requires them for the first time to pay a small portion of their health-insurance costs.".

Reno, NV - Police union says residents may prefer public safety to art

This is a tough decision here. Get my ass kicked or collect $200. Let me think... I could use a good ass-kickin', I'll be very honest with you... nah, I think I'll just go with the two hundred.

Spoken by Joe Pesci in "My Cousin Vinny"



Police union says residents may prefer public safety to art

"It's known for its color, culture, and this year, the controversial cost.

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."

Toledo, OH - Ignazio Reports The Details of TPPA Tentative Agreement and the Votes


Toledo police patrol officers approved by a slim margin last night a new three-year labor contract that requires them to temporarily pay into their pension plan, freezes wages for two years, and requires them for the first time to pay a small portion of their health-insurance costs.

Toledo, OH -Wagner Navigates The Rapids -TPPA union approves contract offer - Council Votes Today


TPPA police union approves contract offer -, Toledo's News Leader, News 11 |: "TOLEDO (WTOL) - With 90 percent voter turnout, the Toledo Police Patrolman's Assn. (TPPA) has approved a 3-year contract offer with the City of Toledo.

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

Sarasota, FL - Police protest cuts at City Hall


NEW: Sarasota Police protest cuts at City Hall | | Sarasota Florida | Southwest Florida's Information Leader: "SARASOTA - Police officers protested outside City Hall Wednesday, saying the police force is at a dangerously low level and taking personal jabs at City Manager Robert Bartolotta.

“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."

Sacramento, CA - California Runs Out of Cash - Ho Hum


Why does my heart go on beating
Why do these eyes of mine cry
Don't they know it's the end of the world
It ended when you said goodbye

The End of the World, sung by Skeeter Davis - 1962

The State of California failed to pass a budget before midnight last night and as a result FYE 2010 is "Busted." Folks, it is a non-event. The state will continue to operate by issuing warrants. Warrants are similar to drafts, but they pay interest. Employees and vendors who need cash can sell their warrants. Those who do not curently need cash will buy those warrants and earn the interest,

Go to bed and sleep well. Tomorrow, it will be business as usual - tax and spend. Ignore the press. They are clueless. Your wallet may not be safe but government is. Pass the pork.

Sacramento, CA - California crisis a threat to US economic recovery


California crisis a threat to US economic recovery | "SAN FRANCISCO
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."

Houston, TX - HPD Cuts Officers' Overtime


HPD Cuts Officers' Overtime | Houston weather, traffic, and news | | FOX 26: "HOUSTON - Today is the beginning of the fiscal year for the city of Houston.

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."

Toledo, OH - The Deal Is Revealed - It is Probably The Best That Could Have Been Obtained


"Under a tentative contract being voted on Wednesday, Toledo police patrolmen would pay 7 percent of their own pension contributions for six months and have no pay increases for two years.

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."

Oakland, CA - $83 million cut won't end Oakland budget pain


$83 million cut won't end Oakland budget pain: "Oakland's City Council whittled and slashed $83 million from the city budget Tuesday night, ending a months-long battle among council members, the mayor, unions and residents.
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, CA - More Casualties From The Battle of Vallejo - another fire station closes


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

Modesto, CA - 9 cops out of a job today as layoffs take effect


9 Modesto cops out of a job today as layoffs take effect - Local - The Modesto Bee: "Nine Modesto police officers are losing their jobs today because the city and their union were not able to negotiate wage concessions that could have saved their positions.
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."

Oakland, CA - Council Approves Budget With Layoffs


Oakland Council Approves Budget With Layoffs, Cuts - "OAKLAND (BCN) ―
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."

El Paso, TX - City asks police and fire unions to postpone Sept. 1 salary increases


City asks police and fire unions to postpone Sept. 1 salary increases - Newspaper Tree El Paso: "El Paso police and firefighters will be asked to temporarily forego their pay raises in the next fiscal year to help the city balance a budget that will continue to take beating in the national recession.

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."