The Wage Freeze Ends, Whatís Next?
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.
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.
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,
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.
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
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.
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
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
Law Suit Update
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.
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
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
still have ongoing pay issues and putting the County in
a better financial position cannot hurt our cause.
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
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
always, any questions on any of the above items please
call me at the office or email me at email@example.com
The Office of the Commissioner of Police
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
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.
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
Unfortunately the bottom line with all of these
reorganizations is merely a decrease in the ranks of 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.
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.
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.
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.
always, any questions on any of the above items please
call me at the office or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org