Pay and Benefits
Good guys win big in Ohio E-mail
Written by Cynthia Brown   
When the votes were tallied in Ohio on election day this past November, the results were astonishing. Voters turned out in record numbers and voted 61 to 39 percent to strike down Ohio Senate Bill (SB5), which had stripped all bargaining rights from the state's 350,000 public-sector workers. Jim Gilbert, a 15-year veteran sergeant with the Columbus Police Department who serves as president of the Capital City F.O.P. Lodge #9, was ecstatic over the victory. "This vote sent a message to Ohio and the country," Gilbert said.
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Not above the law E-mail
Written by Mark Nichols   
In California, the Ripon Patrol Officers Association is suing the city over concessions imposed on officers who say they were not notified before a City Council vote as the law requires.
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The system works. Let's kill it! E-mail
Written by Mark Nichols   

A group of prominent business leaders from Houston whose companies represent $1.5 trillion in assets has launched an aggressive statewide campaign to overhaul retirement for future law enforcement officers, teachers, firefighters, judges and other state and local government workers.

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Town files Chapter 11, bye bye pensions E-mail
Written by Mark Nichols   

In a drastic move that wipes out the contracts of police, firefighters, teachers and other town employees and cut pension checks by as much as 50 percent, the small Rhode Island town of Central Falls, which found itself unable to pay for retiree pensions and health care premiums, has filed for bankruptcy with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Boston. It is the first city in Rhode Island history, and the fifth city in the United States, to declare bankruptcy. “The current situation is dire,” noted Governor Lincoln Chafee. In addition, more savings will be sought through layoffs, cuts to health care benefits and piggybacking with neighboring communities to share some services and costs.

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Pension reform: It pays to exempt public safety E-mail
Written by Jeff Jordon   

For decades, San Diego used benefits like DROP, retiree health benefits and pensions in place of competitive salaries to recruit and retain police officers. Poorly funded and designed, San Diego found itself with large liabilities due to these programs. Since 2005, the city has either eliminated or modified the majority of these benefits for new employees. Pension costs were shifted onto officers who now pay 13 percent to 19.5 percent of their annual salary to fund their pensions, one of the highest contribution rates in the state.

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No more free phones E-mail
Written by APB Staff   

One of newly-elected California Governor Jerry Brown's first acts when he got settled into his office in Sacramento was to announce he would cut the number of cell phones used by state employees by half. Brown was reportedly shocked when he learned that the State of California was paying for 96,000 cell phones for state employees.

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Cops get 7 percent raises, benefits “adjusted” E-mail
Written by Mark Nichols   

Pay now or pay later. That was essentially the choice faced by both parties as contract negotiations recently wrapped up in Philadelphia between police and the city. An arbitration panel recently awarded a five-year contract to the city police union that provides officers with a 7 percent raise. But the deal includes benefit changes that the city says will save major cash in the long haul. “We face a significant challenge in paying for this contract, but the short-term pain is offset by the long-term gain,” Mayor Nutter told reporters during a press conference.The long-term gain for the city amounts to a long-term loss for new police hires.

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Wills For Heroes E-mail
Written by Mark Nichols   
In Wisconsin, the state's legal and financial community wants to help first responders plan for their futures in those professions where the future is not always certain.

The "Wills for Heroes" program offers estate planning free of charge for first responders throughout the state, including police officers, firefighters, paramedics and EMTs.

It was created by the State Bar of Wisconsin's pro bono program, in partnership with Foley & Lardner LLP, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, LexisNexis and the State Bar Young Lawyers Division.

A pilot legal clinic was held in Milwaukee last month where members of the Milwaukee Police and Fire Departments and their spouses and partners received assistance in creating wills, financial powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney and living wills.

"Our police and firefighters are always serving the community and doing good things for them; this program allows the community to do something for our public servants," said Mike Tobin, executive director of the City of Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission. "The pilot program was very successful and we are proud to help make this a statewide program for all first responders," he added.

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We're Taking Your Money Back. E-mail
Written by APB Staff   
In Tampa, Florida, the city council recently voted 5-1 to suspend step plan increases for the roughly 500 police officers that are eligible. The council also voted to accept Mayor Pam Iorio's plan to force 65 officers who have received raises since the beginning of the fiscal year to pay back the money.

Five dollars will be deducted from the paychecks of those 65 officers until the raises are "paid back."

The decision outraged police union officials who attended the meeting.

"If they do that, I can assure you we will file an unfair labor practice," Greg Stout, president of the Tampa Police Benevolent Association told reporters from the Associated Press. "I don't care if it's a dollar a month. Our hardworking police officers deserve that money."

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Not So Fast, Tough Guy E-mail
Written by APB Staff   

In Massachusetts, the state's highest court has ruled that Boston failed to bargain in good faith with the city police union when it changed how it pays overtime to officers back in 2002. According to an article by Boston Globe reporter Maria Cramer, the ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected the city's argument.


That argument was basically that federal law allows municipalities to pay overtime only after officers have worked more than 171 hours in 28 days, instead of more than 40 hours over seven days. The ruling means the city will owe hundreds of officers hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime.

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Recession hitting LE hard and fast E-mail
Written by APB Staff   

A recent posting by POLICEPAY.NET, one of the nation’s leading contract negotiations and arbitration teams, and which is headquartered in Norman, Oklahoma, included the following stories. There’s no longer any doubt that the recession is having a severe impact on local law enforcement. Police sound staffing alarm. By Christian Burkin (The Stockton Record) “Not long ago the Stockton Police Department in California couldn’t hire fast enough to satisfy the city’s appetite for police, but last week it was forced by a shrinking budget to lay off four academy trainees who were about a month from graduating and joining the ranks.

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