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.

Assistant Chief Blair Ulring, who has been in charge of the department since November, said their dismissal is without precedent. Several retired Stockton chiefs with whom he had spoken recently could not remember ever laying off police.”

Las Vegas police union doesn’t believe revenues are down. By Sam Skolnik (Las Vegas Sun) “As Las Vegas struggles with its worst budget crisis in years, the city has reached an important agreement with the union representing about 1,500 municipal workers. The unions had hired Beth Kohn-Cole of Reno to get an independent estimation of the city’s finances before agreeing to reduced raises. “According to the two-page Dec. 26 report, there are ‘pockets of funds’ the city has failed to take into account when claiming its need to cut employee pay hikes.  Chris Collins, executive director of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, said he hadn’t seen the Kohn-Cole report but that he’s seen other reports that have concluded the city’s revenues are up and not down, as the city contends. He quickly added that his union is ready to sacrifice its fair share if necessary.”

Police chief warily offers potential budget cuts. By Tony Plohetski (The Austin American-Statesman) “Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said he has reluctantly found ways to slash the department’s budget by $5 million, but he warns that the cuts could affect ‘basic police services’ in some instances. “The cuts also would shift costs to other city agencies or require City Council members to depart from earlier decisions or curtail long-standing practices. They include delaying a cadet training academy in March and putting off a council-mandated merger with the park police and airport police that is scheduled to begin Monday.”

Police guild will not forgo ’09 raise. By Jeffrey Mize (The Columbian) “In Washington State, Vancouver’s police officers won’t follow the lead of city firefighters and give up their raises for 2009. Members of the Vancouver Police Officers Guild, the largest of the city’s ten  unions, will receive a 5.1 percent pay increase during the final year of a four-year contract. ‘Our position is we are due to start negotiations in June,’ Sgt. Scott Creager, secretary of the 183-member guild representing officers, corporals and sergeants, said. ‘We aren’t interested in opening the contract for six months.’”

“No-raise” police pact nears approval. By Aaron Lee (Connecticut Post) “In Bridgeport, Connecticut, a contract giving police officers no raises through June 2010 is almost official after it passed the City Council’s Contract Committee in late December. The proposed four-year pact, which Bridgeport Police Union Local 1159 members had approved by 15 votes, may save the city $800,000 in the current fiscal year. In the third year of the contract, officers would get a 6 percent raise, followed by a 5 percent boost in the fourth and final year. “The contract now goes to the full council for review. ‘I think this is the best we can do given the national financial crisis,’ said Officer Frank Cuccaro, union president, who attended the meeting in City Hall. The pact would also prevent the layoffs of nine rookies. Widespread layoffs are one cost-saving measure Mayor Bill Finch implemented since learning of a looming $20 million city budget deficit.”

No Overtime Pay For Police. By Bryan Latham Wowt “The city of Omaha, already strapped for cash, is under an order from the state to reduce the amount of overtime police officers have banked. The police union says its members want the money and they want it now. When officers work overtime, they have the choice to be paid for the OT right away, bank it and save it for later, or take it as comp time. A recent decision from the Court of Industrial Relations lowered the number of hours officers can save, raising a lot of questions on all sides.”

Police and Fire Agree To 3% Pay Cut To Avoid Layoffs. By Leigh Jones (The Galveston County Daily News) “Police officers and firefighters overwhelmingly agreed to take a 3 percent pay cut to avoid layoffs, a measure City Manager Steve LeBlanc said would be necessary if the city didn’t cut $3.6 million from its budget. “LeBlanc announced the proposed pay cuts a week before Christmas, saying either the payroll or the number of city staffers would have to be reduced by Jan. 1.”

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