|September Letters to APB|
The City's financial problems are the result of years of mismanagement and the City Council's failure to develop a solid economic plan to secure our future. Vallejo could have avoided bankruptcy, but didn't; they wanted to use bankruptcy to break our labor contracts. Local governments across the state and the nation are watching to see if they too can use similar tactics. If Vallejo is successful, then other municipalities will pursue bankruptcy relief whenever they seek to modify selected obligations. If that happens, vested retirement pension and medical benefits can become illusory, available only when it's still convenient to pay. We commissioned an audit by a premier accounting firm which proved bankruptcy was unnecessary. The audit recommended changes to improve the City's finances. We and the other employee unions offered $10 million in savings from our salaries and benefits and we did get a commitment from the State Controller to work with the city to overhaul their finances. But because the City's goal is to break labor contracts, they rejected any help. Vallejo is spending millions for lawyers and consultants, and unfortunately so are we. Vallejo POA has joined with our firefighters union (IAFF Local #1186) and our municipal workers union (IBEW Local #2376) to fight this battle and share costs.
Our three unions are working together to protect the rights of all workers by fighting the city through the courts and in the court of public opinion. But these efforts require costly expertise to sustain that's why we need your help and financial support to ensure this bankruptcy movement does not gain momentum throughout the state. We know you have many battles of your own to fight, but we humbly and respectfully ask you consider making a financial contribution. We will appreciate whatever help you can provide. The Vallejo POA (124 members) has attempted to carry its own weight in this expensive fight and doubled our dues from 1.5 percent of salary to 3 percent several months ago in an effort to build cash. The costs associated with this battle will exceed one million dollars and we have spent more than $300,000 to date. We cannot sustain this fight without your help.
Checks can be made out to VPOA Bankruptcy Fund and sent to Coalition Against Unnecessary Bankruptcy, P.O. Box 4218, Vallejo, CA 94590. For more detailed information on our battle please visit: www.vallejobankruptcyupdate.com.
-In Unity, Steve Gordon, President Vallejo Police Officers Assoc.
APB for Rangers?
You have a great magazine and I enjoy reading it. I'm looking for a magazine like APB but one that's more focused on the park rangers and security officers in the United States. My director agrees that we need this type of magazine to cover the issues that are relevant to us.
Man up people!
Law enforcement is not a job; it is a way of life. When I was a recruit I was determined to be the best I could be because I felt like I owed it to society and the world to do something good with my life.
I was surrounded by people who felt the same way and held the same ethos as I did. Much to my disappointment, I soon found out that today there is a whole other class of people in law enforcement. These people feel "the job" owes them something and they demand higher wages, more relaxed regulations, more paid holidays and less workload.
They are typically reactive, just answering calls-for-service (which they gripe about) and then "hiding" for the rest of their tours. They bring down morale and act as a cancer within their departments. Avoiding these officers is typically the best course of action for anyone in a similar situation. But the problems escalate when these officers slip through the cracks and become responsible for hiring new recruits. Here they have a clean slate on which to inscribe their negative attitude and philosophy about their employer and law enforcement in general. This "something for nothing" crowd thrives on spreading their opinions through the new ranks. They tend to become most vocal during contract negotiations.
They never suggest workable solutions to achieve the goals of the department, they just chant, "More! More! More!" Every new recruit provides us with the opportunity to infuse them with a positive outlook, a strong work ethic, and a love of the job. It is our obligation to provide them the strategies they will need to be proactive and to fight the negative attitude some officers attempt to spread. Once they are infected with the negative, turning back the clock is all but impossible.
- Steven D. Hanks Monroe,Ohio