Wednesday, March 31, 2010

toledoblade.com -- The Blade ~ Toledo Ohio

toledoblade.com -- The Blade ~ Toledo Ohio: "If the race for Toledo's state Senate seat becomes a contest between councilmen Joe McNamara and Tom Waniewski, there's one thing both can agree on: predictable political positioning.
The two members on Toledo City Council took positions on key elements of the budget that hewed close to political type.
Mr. McNamara, a Democrat, voted against unilateral cuts in union employees' compensation packages, a measure strongly opposed by city unions."

Vallejo Goes for Broke by Steven Greenhut, City Journal 31 March 2010

Vallejo Goes for Broke by Steven Greenhut, City Journal 31 March 2010: "As California cities and counties struggle to fulfill the generous pay and pension commitments that they made to public employees during flush economic times, some politicians have taken comfort in a usually forbidding word: bankruptcy. Top officials in Los Angeles and San Diego have raised the B-word in recent weeks, and almost everyone is paying attention to developments in Vallejo (population 117,000), on the edge of the San Francisco Bay Area. The blue-collar port city filed for bankruptcy in May 2008, after it couldn’t pay its bills. Now, observers are watching to see whether Vallejo—the biggest California city to file for bankruptcy so far—offers a road map out of the mire."

toledoblade.com -- The Blade ~ Toledo Ohio

toledoblade.com -- The Blade ~ Toledo Ohio: "A Lucas County Common Pleas Court judge Wednesday afternoon denied a request by the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association that he temporarily halt forced concessions ordered by Toledo City Council."

toledoblade.com -- The Blade ~ Toledo Ohio

toledoblade.com -- The Blade ~ Toledo Ohio: "In an attempt to stop the city from following through approved cutbacks, the Toledo Police Patrolman’s Association filed a lawsuit in Lucas County Common Pleas Court Wednesday and requested that a temporary restraining order be put in place.

The complaint is scheduled to be heard during a 1:30 p.m. hearing before Judge James Jensen. At issue is whether the city can impose concessions on union members including union employees paying the 10 percent share of their pension contribution and making contributions to their health-care costs based on a sliding salary scale."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

toledoblade.com -- The Blade ~ Toledo Ohio

toledoblade.com -- The Blade ~ Toledo Ohio: "By IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo's 2010 fiscal crisis was crunched into a balanced budget last night by a majority of city councilmen who approved a higher monthly trash collection fee, higher taxes from some, and forced concessions on many city employees."

Holding back job growth? Workers' awesome output - washingtonpost.com

Holding back job growth? Workers' awesome output - washingtonpost.com: "By Neil Irwin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
When workers become more efficient, it's normally a good thing. But lately, it has acted as a powerful brake on job creation. And the question of whether the recent surge in productivity has run its course is the key to whether job growth is finally poised to take off.

One of the great surprises of the economic downturn that began 27 months ago is this: Businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek."

Fort Worth firefighters' proposed contract guarantees $10.7 million in raises, benefits | ...

Fort Worth firefighters' proposed contract guarantees $10.7 million in raises, benefits | ...: "BY MIKE LEE
mikelee@star-telegram.com

Fort Worth's firefighters have negotiated a four-year contract that guarantees them a total of about $10.7 million in raises and benefits, city officials announced Monday.

The Fort Worth Fire Fighters Association must approve the contract before it can be forwarded to the City Council to be ratified.

'I believe we have a fair agreement,' City Manager Dale Fisseler said in a news release. 'We got some of what we wanted, and so did the association.'"

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Flint officials, police union at odds over staffing levels after layoffs | - MLive.com

Flint officials, police union at odds over staffing levels after layoffs | - MLive.com: "FLINT, Michigan — The city and its police union are at odds over just how many officers are responding to 911 calls.

In the wake of last week’s layoff of 46 police officers, the city maintains it still has more than two dozen officers patrolling Flint on each of its first and second shifts.


But the head of the police union says the number is closer to five per shift — a claim that Flint Public Safety Director Alvern Lock said is “totally untrue."

toledoblade.com -- The Blade ~ Toledo Ohio

toledoblade.com -- The Blade ~ Toledo Ohio

Deficit pared to $25M












Mayor Mike Bell Friday rejected the notion of plunging back into negotiations with the Toledo police union that on Thursday rejected a tentative deal to avert 125 police layoffs.


NOTE BY POLICEPAY.NET - The Blade has many articles on this story, which has taken on a life of its own.  The Blade has covered this very well.  Go to their home page and search their archives.  To understand the Toledo story requires some history.  The Blade has it all.  One reporter, IGNAZIO MESSINA, has written most of the articles and has a good understanding of the events.
.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Cost doomed police contracts - Cabinet.com

Cost doomed police contracts

- Cabinet.com
: "“Too rich,” are the words town officials tend to use when they describe police union contracts this year, and most voters seemed to agree.

In Milford, Amherst and Hollis fact-finders’ reports for police employees were rejected by overwhelming margins.

Each of the contracts had gone to an independent fact finder after negotiators for the towns failed to come to agreements with the local chapters of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees."

Tulsa City Council Rejects Cooperation Pact - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Tulsa City Council Rejects Cooperation Pact - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |: "Posted: Mar 25, 2010 4:30 PM CDT
Updated: Mar 26, 2010 10:51 AM CDT

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The City of Tulsa and Tulsa County won't be collaborating on common issues – at least formally – anytime soon. The City Council turned down a resolution that called for the two overlapping governments to study ways to economize and improve services by working together.
Councilor GT Bynum spearheaded the effort, but a majority of councilors objected to it, citing everything from slow payments from the county for city utilities, to the fear it would lead to consolidation of the governments."

As Budget Gaps Widen, San Francisco Police Salaries Grow - NYTimes.com

As Budget Gaps Widen, San Francisco Police Salaries Grow - NYTimes.com: "By GERRY SHIH
Published: March 25, 2010

Three years ago, Gary P. Delagnes, the president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, made a bullish prediction after successfully negotiating a lucrative four-year contract: After a scheduled 4 percent pay raise phased in on July 1, 2010, Mr. Delagnes wrote in a note to the officers, the force would most likely fulfill a 20-year mission to become the “highest paid major police department in the country.”"

City, State Budgets Crippled Nationwide - CBS Evening News - CBS News

City, State Budgets Crippled Nationwide - CBS Evening News - CBS News: "(CBS)� Five fires broke out in Flint, Mich., this week on the same day the city began laying off 20 of its 94 firemen. Running an $8 million deficit, Flint has no money to pay those 20 firefighters, or 46 of its 193 police officers who are also receiving pink slips. It's a tough thing for the city with the second highest crime rate in the state.

'They didn't just trim a little bit,' says Flint Police Officers Association president Keith Speer. 'They cut our throats.'"

Salary cuts possible for city workers | Fox10tv.com

Salary cuts possible for city workers | Fox10tv.com: "Published : Friday, 26 Mar 2010, 9:34 PM CDT

Chasity Byrd
Photojournalist: La-Keya Stinchcomb
MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The City of Mobile says budget cuts will include salary cuts and the police and fire rescue departments aren't immune.

'He doesn't want to have layoffs,' said Barbara Drummond with the City of Mobile.

Drummond said layoffs and cutting back on services are two things Mayor Sam Jones does not want to do. However, something must be done to deal with the city's multi-million dollar deficit"

Steven Greenhut: Vallejo's Painful Lessons in Municipal Bankruptcy - WSJ.com

Steven Greenhut: Vallejo's Painful Lessons in Municipal Bankruptcy - WSJ.com: "BY STEVEN GREENHUT

In 2008, Vallejo, Calif., was nearly broke. Faced with falling tax revenues, rising pension costs, and unmovable public-employee unions, the city was unable to pay its bills and declared bankruptcy. Now, as it prepares to emerge from Chapter 9, officials in Los Angeles, San Diego and other cities across the state are looking to see if Vallejo has blazed a trail for them to get out from under their own crushing pension costs. What they're finding is that even bankruptcy may not be enough to break the grip unions have on the public purse.

Vallejo is a Bay Area community ..."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

| The Afro-American Newspapers | Your Community. Your History. Your News.

| The Afro-American Newspapers | Your Community. Your History. Your News.: "As Baltimore City suffers from a $121 million budget deficit, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said the city has three choices: do nothing, cut services or trim government expenses. None of the options are good, but the third alternative is the best way to move Baltimore City forward, she said in a statement released Wednesday. On that day, she announced a “devastating” preliminary budget that shows what the city can afford to offer citizens during the financial crisis.
“This third alternative will be difficult and challenging,” the mayor said. “It will be unpleasant; but it is the only way for us to fund public safety and other essential services.”"

toledoblade.com -- The Blade ~ Toledo Ohio

toledoblade.com -- The Blade ~ Toledo Ohio

Members of the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association have voted against a contract with the city that called for 3 percent pension pickups and overtime deferrals.

The proposal, which would have cost officers $65 more in their paychecks every two weeks, would have avoided layoffs among the ranks.

toledoblade.com -- The Blade ~ Toledo Ohio

toledoblade.com -- The Blade ~ Toledo Ohio



After hanging tough against Toledo's police union by threatening to lay off 125 of its members unless he received deep concessions, Mayor Mike Bell yesterday scaled back his demands to $500,000 in temporary pension givebacks.
.

Tulsa World: Union: Move ploy to bring in county

Tulsa World: Union: Move ploy to bring in county: "But Bartlett said that issue is 'not a valid concern' for the police union.

'I wish that they would do two things,' he said. 'First, take a deep breath. No one is out to get them. There's no hidden agenda. Second thing is for them to simply give me a call. Come talk to me and ask me those questions.'

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 93 spokeswoman Kim Presley said Bartlett's administration continues talks with the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office about policing a portion of the city."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

City unions worried about impact of rising Long Beach budget deficit - Press-Telegram

City unions worried about impact of rising Long Beach budget deficit - Press-Telegram: "Long Beach Police Officers Association President Steve James said that he doubts his officers will want to reopen contract negotiations after the months it took to hammer out a deal last year.

'I think it's gonna be very problematic to look at giving more than what we've already done,' James said. 'The likelihood of us wanting to renegotiate something that we just signed six months ago is very slim.'"

Tulsa Police Union And Mayor Holding Dueling News Conferences - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Tulsa Police Union And Mayor Holding Dueling News Conferences - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |: "TULSA, OK --The Tulsa Police union and the Mayor's office are holding back to back news conferences Wednesday afternoon to discuss the status of negotiations between the city and the union as well as union concerns over the abolishing of vacant city positions.

On Monday The News On 6 reported that it appeared the laid-off TPD officers may not be getting rehired. That was because those jobs had been eliminated by Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett at the request of the city's finance office."
.

Tulsa FOP Responds to Mayor


Response from Tulsa Fraternal Order Of Police:
March 23, 2010
Tulsa FOP Lodge responds to Mayor Bartlett cutting 89 positions
The Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police was shocked to learn (Monday) night through a television news report, that Mayor Bartlett signed away 89 officers' positions on March 8. Those 89 slots cover all the officers that have been laid off. Since March 8, the FOP negations team has met with the mayor's office. The Mayor and his staff has had opportunities to make the FOP aware of his decision and failed to do so, keeping the FOP in the dark about this decision he had made. The FOP had been under the belief that the Mayor and his staff were moving forward in a positive direction, and this is obviously not the case.
Currently, TPD maintains 706 officers on payroll with 6 retirements pending and more to come. These numbers dwindle from a current authorized strength of 781 to 706. It is important to note that there are no plans to hire any more officers to replace the ones that will be leaving. The FOP negotiations team has asked the mayor for numbers of personnel, and has not received a firm number. It has made it difficult for us to come up with a new contract proposal when the sworn staffing numbers range from 781 to 649.
Last week, Chief Chuck Jordan proposed a doable budget with hard numbers which would increase staffing while reducing the police budget by 6.9 percent. The FOP is confused to the drastic measure the Mayor's office has taken to cut staffing by almost 17 percent and not look at the workable solution the Chief has proposed.
The FOP is moving forward with negotiating the contract for 2010-2011 in good faith. However it is apparent, with recent findings of the misuse of grant money, and the continued talks of having county take over police services and now with the abolishment of these positions, the FOP is drastically losing faith in the Mayor and his staff. It is also apparent that the Mayor has an agenda: that no matter what cost savings the FOP comes up with to save taxpayer dollars, the Mayor is moving forward with his plan to have the county take over public safety within the city limits.
As summer comes closer, it is important to remember that the need for public safety increases. Bad guys like to commit crime in good weather. As the Tulsa Police Department's numbers dwindle from 781 officers to now 706 with 6 retirements pending, it is important that the focus stay on providing the level of protection to the families of Tulsa that they deserve and need.
The FOP strongly believes the City government of Tulsa belongs to the citizens of Tulsa. With the Mayor's scheme taking place in the background, the people of Tulsa should know that Tulsa Police officers will still be doing our job as public servants, as we took an oath to enforce the laws of the city and the state and to protect the citizens of Tulsa with our lives if need be. The lack of communication and unfair misrepresentation provided by the Mayor's office will not alter this. When you call 911 - an officer will be there.

City of Tulsa Releases List of City Jobs Eliminated - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

City of Tulsa Releases List of City Jobs Eliminated - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |: "TULSA, OK--It looks the remaining laid off Tulsa police officers may not be getting rehired. That's because those jobs have now been eliminated by Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett at the request of the city's finance office.

The city originally laid off 124 officers.

All but 89 were rehired and now those 89 jobs have been dissolved, along with all the other jobs in every city department that were affected by layoffs.

The mayor's office tells The News On 6 if it wants to rehire someone in the future, it could create a new position to do so."
.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Police Union: No New Negotiations Without Council Presence - Omaha News Story - KETV Omaha

Police Union: No New Negotiations Without Council Presence - Omaha News Story - KETV Omaha: "OMAHA, Neb. --

The Omaha police union will not return to the bargaining table unless there is a City Council representative on the other side.
The city and the union were on the verge of a new contract until the City Council approved an amendment to it weeks ago and reopened negotiations."
.

City, union strike deal to avoid Toledo Police cuts : News : WNWO NBC24

City, union strike deal to avoid Toledo Police cuts : News : WNWO NBC24: "TOLEDO, OHIO -- It appears the Toledo Police Patrolman’s Association is pulling back on their latest resistance to union concessions. The union met with Toledo Mayor Mike Bell on Monday, agreeing to a tentative resolution which will spare 125 police officers from the chopping block.

“We believe we have a memorandum of understanding,” said Mayor Bell. Yet, getting to that understanding hasn't been easy"
.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Police, firefighters and taxpayers hit with bill for millions | Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota | WTSP.com 10 Connects

Police, firefighters and taxpayers hit with bill for millions | Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota | WTSP.com 10 Connects: "Police Benevolent Association President Greg Stout calls it is 'a slap in the face.' Stout is upset that losses in the stock market mean firefighters and police will have to contribute more of their pay to the pension fund and not get any more in return."
.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tulsa World: Deputy chiefs allege lying about grant

By BRIAN BARBER & P.J. LASSEK World Staff Writers
Published: 3/20/2010  2:25 AM
Last Modified: 3/20/2010  4:27 AM

Read more from this Tulsa World article at http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=334&articleid=20100320_11_A1_Tulsas206628

Tulsa World: Deputy chiefs allege lying about grant: "Tulsa's three deputy police chiefs are accusing Mayoral Chief of Staff Terry Simonson of lying to U.S. Department of Justice officials regarding a federal grant and say the inspector general for that agency should be alerted for a possible investigation.

Meanwhile, City Council Chairman Rick Westcott said Friday that he will call for a council probe because of the seriousness of the allegations.

'The council owes it to the citizens to fully investigate this issue in a calm, methodical manner without any political grandstanding,' he said."
.

Fort Worth council must stop putting off the inevitable | Editorials | Fort Worth, Arlington,...

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Editorial

Fort Worth council must stop putting off the inevitable | Editorials | Fort Worth, Arlington,...: "If there's ever a year for the Fort Worth City Council to make major revisions in the employees' retirement plan, 2010 is it.

The city's pension fund needs an annual infusion of about $103 million to cover current benefit payments and installment payments on its $860 million in unfunded accrued liability, the value of pension benefits employees have earned and are likely to be paid in the future.

It is unfortunate that contributions from taxpayers and employees into this account are about $91 million annually. Fort Worth is short about $12 million a year."
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Friday, March 19, 2010

Tampa Council approves new police pact


Published: March 19, 2010


Council approves new police pact: "TAMPA - The Tampa City Council has given its approval to a new contract with the police. The council on Thursday approved the measure without discussion.

The officers' contract expired Oct. 1. After months of negotiations, Mayor Pam Iorio's administration and Tampa Police Benevolent Association were unable to reach agreement.

In July, Iorio requested a special magistrate to mediate unresolved issues, mostly concerning pay. She offered no pay raises in the fiscal 2010 budget and imposed a wage freeze to bridge a $51 million shortfall.

Union officials said police should get pay raises due to the dangerous nature of their jobs. But the council voted in December to suspend increases for about 500 police.

Kathy Steele"

Police to battle Fairfax supervisors over pay raises | Washington Examiner

By: Brian Hughes 
Examiner Staff Writer
March 19, 2010

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/Police-to-battle-Fairfax-supervisors-over-pay-raises-88480887.html#ixzz0icGCmQ0D

Police to battle Fairfax supervisors over pay raises | Washington Examiner: "A battle is brewing between veteran public safety workers who say they are entitled to raises and Fairfax County leaders poised again to kill all pay increases while the county labors through budget pains.
Marshall Thielen, president of the Fairfax Coalition of Police, said hundreds of police officers, firefighters and sheriff's deputies have been stiffed money -- and will be slighted again under the budget proposed by County Executive Anthony Griffin.
For the second straight year, Griffin suggested a freeze in employee salaries, part of a push to taper layoffs and meet a $257 million budget shortfall. But the county's personnel regulations call for pay raises after both 15 and 20 years of service from public safety workers."

Battle expected over City of Detroit pension boards plan | freep.com | Detroit Free Press

BY NAOMI R. PATTON AND JENNIFER DIXON
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITERS



Battle expected over City of Detroit pension boards plan | freep.com | Detroit Free Press: "State legislators introduced bills Thursday that could potentially dismantle the City of Detroit's two public pension funds and bring them under the management of a nonprofit trust based in Lansing.

The city's general pension board and its police and fire pension board -- with assets of about $5 billion -- for years have made questionable investments, allowed lavish travel and lacked ethics policies, all chronicled all in a yearlong investigation by the Free Press."

New Jersey - Review how we decide police contracts | dailyrecord.com | Daily Record

By LINDA STAMATO


Review how we decide police contracts | dailyrecord.com | Daily Record: "As Gov. Chris Christie tempers his talk of cuts with promises of reform, it is good to see that he may be looking to make some changes in the arbitration of contract disputes regarding salaries for police and fire uniformed personnel. While he has been admonished in some quarters to stop meddling in collective bargaining, it is likely that he will have a close look at what's going on."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Public packs Portland City Council meeting to testify on police oversight proposal | OregonLive.com


By Maxine Bernstein, The Oregonian

March 18, 2010, 5:55PM


Public packs Portland City Council meeting to testify on police oversight proposal | OregonLive.com: "Attorney Will Aitchison called the ordinance a 'fundamental breach' of the collective-bargaining agreement with the Portland Police Association, and suggested that proposed subpoena powers for the police oversight division would be 'unconstitutional.'

Aitchison said the union is disturbed that it was not involved in the decision to release the grand jury transcripts in the Jan. 29 police shooting of Aaron M. Campbell, in the city's position to have police contract negotiations public, or in this ordinance.

'Not one of those actions was proceeded by dialogue with the Portland Police Association,' Aitchison said. 'What we're saying is you involve us in this process before you move down a road that is precipitous.'"

Hoboken City Council votes down police union contract terms | - Hoboken Now - NJ.com


By Mark Maurer/The Jersey Journal

March 18, 2010, 12:15AM


Hoboken City Council votes down police union contract terms | - Hoboken Now - NJ.com: "The Hoboken City Council had the authority Wednesday night to finalize the police union contract by approving the terms negotiated between the state-appointed fiscal monitor and the unions. Instead, the Council voted it down unanimously 0-7.
The issue of ratification of collective bargaining agreement was initially discussed in closed session at a meeting. Councilwoman Theresa Castellano and Councilman Michael Russo excused themselves from the closed session and the open discussion because of relations to members of the police force.
The result of this decision is that the Policemen's Benevolent Association (PBA) and Police Superior Officers Association (PSOA), which have been without a contract since Dec. 31, 2007, will now either go into arbitration with the city or recommence talks with the local finance board a la Judy Tripodi."
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Firefighters’ retirement lawsuits are thrown out - SignOnSanDiego.com


THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 2010 AT 1:17 A.M.

Firefighters’ retirement lawsuits are thrown out - SignOnSanDiego.com: "SAN DIEGO COURTS — A Superior Court judge threw out a lawsuit filed by former San Diego firefighters union leader Ron Saathoff that sought to force the city to honor a retirement benefit granted to him in 2002 but terminated two years ago.

In the same ruling, Judge Yuri Hoffman threw out claims by a group of city firefighters who sued to reinstate a benefit that allowed them to use annual vacation time to buy extra years of service for calculating their ultimate pension."
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

KOB.com - City of Albuquerque and its unions press for compromise

Posted at: 03/17/2010 5:18 PM | Updated at: 03/17/2010 7:01 PM
By: Jeff Maher, Eyewitness News 4; Taryn Bianchin, KOB.com


KOB.com - City of Albuquerque and its unions press for compromise: "A battle is brewing between Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry and some of the unions representing city employees.

The police and fire unions say the mayor isn't willing to listen to their ideas to help solve the city's budget problems unless they open up their contracts for re-negotiation.
.

The contracts for both the police and fire unions are good through the summer of 2011 and guarantees them both pay raises this summer to the tune of $9.7 million. That's one reason why they're not about to just throw their contracts on the mayor's desk for re-negotiation."

Bell holds off on 125 police layoffs for now : News : WNWO NBC24

By Chance Walser
Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 5:21 p.m. 


Bell holds off on 125 police layoffs for now : News : WNWO NBC24: "Enough positive things were said in a meeting Wednesday morning between Toledo Mayor Mike Bell and the Toledo Police Patrolman Association that Bell has decided to suspend the 125 police layoff notices he sent out on Monday.

“There was really some real good movement this morning and we're trying to give them (TPPA) some time to get back to their people and talk about it and be able to move forward after that,” said Bell."
.

12.4 percent raise for cops expected to be voted on tonight by Hoboken City Council | - Hoboken Now - NJ.com

12.4 percent raise for cops expected to be voted on tonight by Hoboken City Council | - Hoboken Now - NJ.com: "Hoboken's rank-and-file cops would receive a 12.4 percent raise over four years in tentative police contracts approved by union officials and the state-appointed fiscal monitor, according to a memorandum of understanding released this week.

The Policemen's Benevolent Association (PBA) and Police Superior Officers Association (PSOA) have been without a contract since Dec. 31, 2007."
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Salaries Slashed For East St. Louis Firefighters and Police - KTVI

Salaries Slashed For East St. Louis Firefighters and Police - KTVI

EAST ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI-FOX2now.com) - Massive pay cuts are coming to police officers and firefighters in East St. Louis, but city officials insist the massive salary slash is the lesser of two evils. Most had expected layoffs that would have cut the police department by nearly forty percent and the fire department by half.

The vote took place after a reportedly contentious three hour closed door sessions. Inside, council members are said to have offered union leaders an ultimatum of salary cuts or layoffs. When the unions accepted neither, calling the entire episode "posturing," they left the room.

The council and Mayor Alvin Parks emerged but could not pass the new budget that would have laid off 52 officers and firefighters. The vote was 2-2, with an abstention.

That left the city reverting to a budget that's already been approved, with will cut every salary by 22.25%. It's a move union officials insist is illegal.
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Green Bay OKs 3-year police contract | greenbaypressgazette.com | Green Bay Press-Gazette

Green Bay OKs 3-year police contract | greenbaypressgazette.com | Green Bay Press-Gazette: "Green Bay police officers will get pay raises of 2 percent and 2� percent under a new contract ratified Tuesday by the City Council.



Ben Allen, president of the police union, said the union membership previously had approved the new three-year contract.

The city's estimated 150 police officers had been working without a contract since their previous one expired at the end of 2008.

The new contract calls for no pay raise for 2009, a 2 percent raise this year and another 2� percent next year.

Green Bay aldermen approved the contract Tuesday without debate."
.

Vermont state troopers union ratifies first contract | The Burlington Free Press | Burlington, Vermont

Vermont state troopers union ratifies first contract | The Burlington Free Press | Burlington, Vermont: "MONTPELIER -- The 274-member Vermont Troopers Association voted to ratify its first labor contract with state government, a one-year contract with the equivalent of a 3 percent pay cut.



The contract will save the state $978,000.

The new union was formed last fall after troopers withdrew from the Vermont State Employees Association.

In the contract, troopers and sergeants agreed to suspend step increases, holiday pay and other wages during the contract, which runs from July 1 to June 30, 2011."
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Monday, March 15, 2010

toledoblade.com -- The Blade ~ Toledo Ohio

toledoblade.com -- The Blade ~ Toledo Ohio: "By IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Bell administration sent layoff notices Monday to 125 of Toledo's police officers, in addition to 12 civilian employees.

The layoffs are part of Mayor Mike Bell's contingency plan to balance the city's $48 million general fund deficit."



.

Exclusive: Omaha Police Pay-Have You Seen These Salary Figures?

Exclusive: Omaha Police Pay-Have You Seen These Salary Figures?: "Try this number on for size: $65,440.

According to an Omaha City Hall memo obtained by Nebraska Watchdog, $65,440 was the average pay for 667 Omaha Police Officers in 2009.

And that’s just for openers.

The City’s Finance Department memo, dated March 1, 2010, was written in the middle of the ongoing contract dispute between the City and the Omaha Police Union. Along with “Police Officer” the memo also lists the average 2009 pay for three other ranks:

105 Sergeants-$83,179

31 Lieutenants-$91,608

8 Captains-$98,925"

Friday, March 12, 2010

Jacksonville declares impasse with police union | Jacksonville.com

Jacksonville declares impasse with police union | Jacksonville.com: "Local police union president Nelson Cuba said he was surprised by the city's move.

'I thought we were making progress,' Cuba said.

By declaring impasse, the city is requesting a special magistrate hear the differences between the two sides and make recommendations to move the talks forward.

If the city and police don't agree on the recommendations, the matter will go to the City Council. That isn't expected for at least three months, said Carson, a Tallahassee-based attorney hired to handle the city's police and fire union talks."

Suttle, council at odds on talks - Omaha.com

Suttle, council at odds on talks - Omaha.com: "Aaron Hanson, president of the police union, said Wednesday that if council members aren’t involved in contract negotiations, “we’re going to have a repeat . . . of the political quagmire we’re in right now.”
“This type of behavior is not going to solve these problems for taxpayers and police officers,” Hanson said. “These problems will only be solved by sitting across the table from each other. Throwing tomatoes from the balcony is not going to solve this.”"

Portland city negotiator says the city wants "transparency" in police contract negotiations | OregonLive.com

Portland city negotiator says the city wants "transparency" in police contract negotiations | OregonLive.com: "Union lawyer Will Aitchison signaled that the union would file an unfair labor practice complaint and have the matter decided by the state Employee Relations Board.

Aitchison called the city's stance 'political.' He argued that past contract negotiation sessions haven't been public, and that no matter how insignificant or significant a bargaining subject is, 'we believe that the free flow ... is a critical element of coming up with a fair resolution.'"

Police, firefighter unions see chance to expand collective bargaining rights - TheHill.com

Police, firefighter unions see chance to expand collective bargaining rights - TheHill.com: "Firefighter and police lobbyists view this Congress as the best chance in years to expand collective bargaining rights for public safety workers.

On Wednesday, a House Education and Labor Committee subpanel held a hearing on legislation that would direct federal authorities to review state laws and issue regulations regarding collective bargaining rights for public safety officers."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Still Want To Talk? The Solution to California Public Employee Retirements.



I realize you are impatient and your busy schedule does not permit any drawn out pontification.  I will not waste your time.  Fire the actuaries.  Fire the investment gurus.  That's it?  Well, there is a little more, but that is the most important.  Are you convinced now? Convinced that I am out of my mind?  At least we can continue with a mutual point of agreement.

The old traditional pension comes with the dreaded taboo of finance - risk. In government there are few risk takers when it comes to money.  Everyone shuns economic perils. There are not many James Bonds among you. 

"When you were young and your heart was an open book
You used to say live and let live
(you know you did, you know you did you know you did)
But in this ever changing world in which we live in
Makes you give in and cry
Say live and let die
Live and let die
Live and let die
Live and let die

What does it matter to ya
When you got a job to do
You gotta do it well
You gotta give the other fellow hell"

Paul McCartney

Four things can and do go awry with a pension promise that will be collected many years out.
1 - Mortality rates
2 - Market returns
3 - Turnover rates
4 - The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

Here is the plan
1 - Determine the long-term actuarial assumptions and stick to them.
2 - Use the long-term contribution rate (ignore the value of the plan's assets)
3 - Force contributions equal to current cost, good years and bad years
4 - Treat underfunding due to increases in benefits as a separate item
5 - Amortized this type of under-funding as a separate matter (15 years)
6 - Let the janitor do the investing (stock index fund)

Listen, all of those California pension plans are sitting on a mountain of money.  Who cares if the money to pay pension benefits 20 years from now is in the bank today?

Strike everything I have said so far.  I am going to be completely candid with you.  The real solution is going back to "pay as your go", but that would be no fun, would it?  Even the city council could understand what was occurring with that funding plan.  Think about this -. a pension plan with no gurus, no actuaries, no financial prophets.  Okay listen up.  This the most important thing to remember: A 90% pension requires an annual contribution of 25% - every year.  Are you listening Mr. Finance Director?  Make your payment every year and you will not be eating Tums when  your investment advisors go into the drink.  It's easy.  A 90% pension needs a 25% contribution each year.  Just make the payment every year,  It is easy.  25% minus your employee’s contribution. 

I know, you are still not satisfied.  You want me to shoot one of my own guys, just to prove that I am not with the "enemy."  What sacrifice do you require?  Okay, I will concede "spiking".  I hate doing that, but here goes.  Aaron Hanson is fighting that battle tonight in Omaha. However, there are places where an employee can manipulate the size of his pension through overtime and buy backs during the measurement period.  To the police officers in this country - "That has to stop."  And before you go off half-cocked, think about this - who pays for "spiking"?  Everyone in the department.  The employer is not eating the windfall that is received by the few who manipulate the system.  Every single benefit that is not paid directly to you in your paycheck is nothing but a payroll reduction plan.  Want fully paid medical insurance?  Fine, you can have it and we will lower your paycheck.  Oh, something else, it is done on a socialistic basis.  Everyone shares equally.  That guy that retired last month with a 150%, even though the stated maximum is 90%?  He gamed the system.  Did you hear the mayor complaining the other day on the radio about that matter?  Pretty funny wasn't it.  Screw him!   By the way, who do you think will pay for that inflated pension?  Hey, you quit laughing. Not so funny now?

Now for the good news.  Grab your reigns and hold on.  The economy is about to explode into a period of extended recovery.  Sorry Lou and Keith, it is out of your control.  You will just have suck it up and endure the good economic news.

Updated 3-11-2010 6:45 AM
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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Public Safety Pensions - Can We Talk?

Police and fire pensions have become the villains of the 21st century - welfare for fat cats.  Let me ask you a question.  Can you listen to a defense of public safety pensions without going into a cult like melt down?  I did not ask you to agree, only to listen without going into a trance and speaking in tongues.


Okay, let's begin with that wicked 90% pension.  What does a 90% pension mean to us?  To me it means a pension equal to 90% of the last year of employment.  Is that your definition?  Did you know that most public safety pensions are based an average of the last three years of employment, not just the last year.  If we assume a 5% growth rate in wages, a 90% pension using the last three years is only equal to 86% of the last year's pay.  Did you know that the typical public safety employer is only paying 2/3 of the cost of the pension?  The employee is paying 1/3.  The only benefit to the employee is the amount that the employer is paying.  The rest is the employee's  money.  Now, the 90% pension is only a 57% pension.


Okay, maybe it is not as obscene as you originally thought, but it is too expensive.  Do you know what annual contribution is required to fund a "90% pension"?  How about 25% of wages?  That's right - 25%.  That is the total contribution, employer and employee - 16.67% by the employer and 8.33%.  I know, you have read about some city in California that is having to pay 40%.  Trust me, 25% is the right number.  I know what you are thinking - "You better have a really good explanation Mr. Wisenheimer."  Hear me out.


In California, they have a modified "knee jerk" funding mechanism to determine the annual contribution rate.  Did you know that many California cities paid nothing into their pension plans during the 1990's?  Didn't know that did you?  Wonder how they got away with it?  Using the short sighted valuation methodology in California, many pension plan were showing to be over-funded - no contribution required.  Then when the stock market took a plunge, the same pension plans were suddenly under-funded.  The "calculations" showed that large contributions were needed.  Cities began screaming like smashed cats.  Another thing added to this confrontation with reality.  Previously, most public safety employees were earning a 75% pension.  Many cities increased the 30 year pension from 75% to 90% and grandfathered in all people currently employed.  It does not require a PHD in mathematics to determine that a pension 100% funded is suddenly 83% funded.  There is no free lunch.


That is not all.  Currently, there is a political move to change the assumptions used by actuaries.  It appears that the California Public Employees Retirement System (CALPERS) is going to surrender to this insanity. 


So, what is the solution?  Easy, make all contribution rates based on long-term assumptions, not year-to-year assumptions.  25% needs to be contributed every year, good or bad.  If a city decides to grand-father in new benefits, it should be amortized over 15 years and shown as a separate payment.  The sales for Rolaids should decline sharply .


Can't believe it all that simple? It is.  Jump on here and blast me into orbit with your comments.  I like 'em.  I look forward to hearing from you, my friends.
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Sunday, March 07, 2010

California Pension Reform Goes Down In Flames

The battle is over.  California Public Pensions have survived the onslaught by the conservative right.   Marcia Fritz, a Certified Public Accountant, and Vice Chairman of CaliforniaFoundation for Fiscal Responsibility, officially "threw in the towel."  Marcia is a good and honest person, who is a worthy opponent, but in the end she and her fellow fiscal conservatives did not have the money and votes to achieve their goal.  While she pledged to try again, the opportunity has probably passed by.


The current "crisis" with public pensions in California is more a function of a "knee jerk funding scheme" than economic reality.  Most of the "underfunding" today is simply the result of the decline in stock prices.  Now that the economy is in the recovery stage, most of the underfunding will evaporate.


Public employees in California need to wake up and make their pensions more stealthy than they are today.  Few citizens understand that pensions are only payroll reduction plans.  A majority see public employee's pensions as welfare.