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Superior Officers Association

Police Department of Nassau County, New York

 

Police Department County of Nassau, New York

Superior Officers Association 

Police Department of Nassau County, New York 

Superior Officers Association Police Department of Nassau County, New York

 
   
 
 
 
 
 
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Brian Hoesl

President


E-mail: Nassoa@aol.com

Superior Officers Association Police Department of Nassau County, New York

   

The Wage Freeze Ends, Whatís Next?

 

The big news for this issue is the end of the wage freeze.  After 3 long years of fighting with NIFA and the County we were finally able to put this chapter behind us, or at least until this contract expires in 2018. That is the good news.  As we wait for the retro monies due to us for the last 3 months, we now have to concentrate on fixing that last part of the equation, the longevity issue.  The County has signaled to us their willingness to discuss this subject; we hope this will be done in a timely manner.  If we are ever to feel right about this settlement this topic needs to be addressed.

 

While the County was more cooperative in these recent discussions than NIFA we are all well aware of how this mess started in the first place.  It is now up to the County administration to work on putting their house in order. 

We do not want to go through this process again in 4 years.  They will have to make some hard decisions going forward and one of them involves the ďTĒ word, taxes.  No government can sustain itself without raising taxes, as Tom Gulotta proved to them some 13 years ago.  This administration has to understand that or else we will be dealing with NIFA again in the not so distant future.  Probably the only thing that will spare us another pay freeze is the fact that in 2018 we will be out of contract.

 

What about the settlement itself, are we happy with it?  No one is happy as, absent a win in court, we took 3 zeros for raises over 2011-2013.  But more than anything it is the fact that we had a contract and it was taken away from us through no fault of our own, that would leave a bad taste in anybodyís mouth.

 

The positive spin is that we were the first unions to negotiate themselves out of a pay freeze in New York State history.  If we didnít negotiate this deal my fear was that we would be locked into this freeze at least until the end of the contract, and probably longer.  I firmly believe that.  In essence, we had no choice.  This was the best thing we could have done for this job to ever get back to normal, and that is really what needs to be done.

 

It is going to be difficult for some to pick up the pieces and move on.  Many will dwell on the past to justify their actions going forward.  But I believe that you cannot lose sight of the fact that this is a great job.  Maybe not as good as it was 20 or so years ago, but unfortunately that is just due to the times we live in.  I am sure the vast majority of you still feel the pride, as I do, in being members of this department.  I would hope that you remember that in your day-to-day activities. Remember that it was not the general public who caused this mess.  We have always enjoyed a good reputation with our residents, and your interactions with them should remain positive.   

 

Law Suit Update

 

We continue to move forward on our lawsuit covering the years 2011-2013 as per the recent agreement with NIFA.  Presently our briefs are being prepared for the Appellate Division, where it is after our loss in NYS Supreme Court.  I would assume that before the end of the year we will have a decision from them and the next step will be the NYS Court of Appeals.  I say that as I am sure whichever party is unsuccessful will appeal the decision.  Barring a win in state courts we will then return to Federal Court where each year of the pay freeze will be considered on an individual basis.  The bottom line is that we will be dealing with this for probably another 2 or 3 years.  We will keep you updated as we work ourselves though the courts.

 

 

Activity Sheets

 

You donít need to tell us that this recent directive on the part of the administration is ridiculous, we agree with you. We have had numerous conversations over the last week with the Commissioner and the Chief of Patrol.  By way of explanation for those not affected, Patrol has supervisors doing bi-monthly activity sheets to document summons activity of their squads.  Obviously the goal is to increase the number of summons written by their subordinates, and I would assume the thought process behind it is the more contact you have with the cops the more summons they will write.  The only problem with that is they are doing just the opposite.  There is no easy way to research the numbers other than to spend more time in the station house doing another report that could probably be done by the precinct crime analyst.  A patrol supervisor should be on patrol and not sitting around with another form that really does nothing.  Summons quotas are illegal and the more you focus on just this one aspect of a copís job the more you reinforce the thinking that there is a department quota.  At least we were able to get them to back off their requirement that you assign this task to someone else while you were on vacation.  How anyone thought that would fly is beyond me.  I appreciate the Chief of Patrolís concession on that point.

 

Why is this even an issue?  Obviously summons activity is not what it used to be.  Loss of manpower is one big reason, but nobody will contest the morale factor coming into play from a force denied the last 3 years of their rightful contract benefits.  Improvement in morale is something that will take some time to rectify; I truly believe that they could have started a little slower on this process.  To put into place a system that has every Sergeant and Lieutenant in the precincts complaining about does not seem to be the way to motivate anyone, especially the first line supervisors. If the department loses those supervisors it loses control of the job. 

 

Has the department overall numbers dropped?  I am sure they have and summons activity probably needs to be picked up.  I would think some subtle reinforcement of this concept to the members of your squad would be the best way to go.  Remember that summons generate revenue for the County, something they need going forward to pay their bills.  We still have ongoing pay issues and putting the County in a better financial position cannot hurt our cause.

 

 

Police Memorial Month

 

May is traditionally Police Memorial month.  As usual we attended the yearly event in Albany where the names of the fallen are added to the NYS Police Memorial Wall.  It is always a moving ceremony as we reflect on our brothers and sisters who have made the supreme sacrifice for the residents of this state.  To me it always makes all your problems appear minor in nature. We can never forget the sacrifice these officers have made, and the annual memorial is a fitting tribute.

 

Our own department will host their Memorial Service sometime later this year, possibly in September, as the Department Memorial Stone in front of headquarters is being redone.  I believe the bulk of the expense for this project is being paid for by the PBA.  A very fitting use of our dues money, they should be commended for this worthwhile investment in our memorial.

 

 

 

 

As always, any questions on any of the above items please call me at the office or email me at nassoa@aol.com

 

 

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The Office of the Commissioner of Police

With the sudden departure of Commissioner Thomas Dale and the recent appointment of Acting Police Commissioner Victor Politi to the NUMC post we are now back in limbo as to whom our next police commissioner will be.  The County Executive has indicated that he might again look outside the department for a new Commissioner.  However, with no deference to Commissioner Politi, whom I believe would have made a good leader due to his people skills and understanding of the job, it has always been our position that we have our own members who are more than capable of running this department. Nobody understands how this job functions better than our own senior staff.  No learning curve is involved, nor would they need time to understand the frustrations of everyone still operating under the oversight of NIFA.  Every commissioner, for the first 75 years of our existence, had come from within this department.  We firmly believe that one of our own would be the most logical choice.  We did personally communicate our position to the County Executive.  We hope that he will take our concerns into consideration.  I was lead to believe a decision would be made shortly. The sooner it is done the better.

 

Department Reorganization

Once again we have seen another efficiency reorganization of the department with the recent elimination of the Support Division (really just the elimination of the Chief of Support) and a realignment of parts of the Detective Division.  Unfortunately the bottom line with all of these reorganizations is merely a decrease in the ranks of the SOA.  The notion that eliminating supervisors and increasing the workload of those remaining, while at the same time expecting them to properly supervise their subordinates, will lead to greater efficiency is just sheer folly.  This started with the precinct consolidations and has now spread to all parts of the department.  While there certainly is always room for efficiency moves in any organization, just eliminating supervisory positions, when we are at unprecedented low levels, makes no sense to me.  If you want your subordinates to do more with less you need greater oversight to ensure that they are performing at peak efficiency.  The ranks of the SOA are now at 315 members, down by about 100 over the last four years.  We are now the smallest of the three unions, and have been for some time.  Yet somehow the place keeps running, maybe not more efficiently, but still running. I can assure you we have made our objections known.

 

The real problem lies in the continued exodus from this job and the lack of any real hiring.  When that will change all depends on if and when we settle the wage freeze issue and when the department starts hiring.  That question leads to the next topic, and the one you are most interested in, and that is negotiations.

 

 

NIFA and the Wage Freeze

I have reported to you several times on the progress of negotiations with the County to end the pay freeze.  I have not spoken to you recently because, at least on our part, there has been no new developments.  The PBA and NIFA seem to be close to reaching an agreement and we have finally heard from NIFA ourselves. While there seems to be a general consensus that something must be done it appears that as soon as we get close another roadblock pops up.  I do believe that we will eventually settle this, I just cannot tell you when. I would be no more surprised if it was next month than if it was next year.  But if it drags on much longer no good will come of it, that much I am certain.  Everyone is reaching the end of their rope. 

   

Lawsuit Update

Our attorneys have just recently filed the briefs to continue our wage freeze lawsuit in NYS Supreme Court.  We are just waiting for the County and NIFAís briefs, which are due within the month.  While it is hard to predict I would imagine that we would have this first decision some time this year.  Then it will be on to the Appellate Division and eventually this case will be decided in the NYS Court of Appeals. I do have copies of the briefs from our attorneys and as soon as they are officially filed with the courts I can release them.  If anyone wishes to read them please let me know and I can forward them to you.   We will keep you posted as we proceed.     

 

 

As always, any questions on any of the above items please call me at the office or email me at nassoa@aol.com

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   



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