This afternoon, Connolly fired back:
Our police officers have gone without a raise for years. The question now is whether the arbitrator’s decision strikes the right balance between achieving fiscal responsibility and compensating officers fairly.
“This is an important issue and I am not going to play politics with it. I am not going to make any decisions that will damage the fiscal health of this city. ...
What Marty Walsh did today was just politics. It’s outrageous for Marty Walsh to blame the mayor for putting us in this position. The Mayor offered the Patrolmen a 19% raise, and it was refused. This is not about the Mayor, this is about a broken arbitration process.
Marty Walsh just this year proposed legislation that would take an already broken arbitration process and break it even more. His legislation filed in January would make arbitrators decisions final, and remove the check and balance that a final city council review provides. Today’s statement from Marty is a stunning turnaround, and it’s an example of his actions not backing up his words when it comes to negotiating with labor unions.
“As I have said before, arbitration has its place as a last resort in collective bargaining to make sure that both sides bargain in good faith, but we have to reform the arbitration process so we never wind up in this situation again. If it were up to Marty, the City Council wouldn't even have the opportunity to vote on this contract, and an arbitrator's decision that Marty called 'out of line' would be forced on the people of Boston. Marty is playing politics, I am going to do my job.
To which Walsh retorted:
At a time when people are looking for new leadership to avoid the distractions of protracted contract disputes between people who are supposed to be allies, it is unfortunate that Councilor Connolly has chosen today to launch a political attack rather than tell the residents of Boston where he stands on the arbitrator's decision. I have always believed that arbitration should be a last resort. The facts are clear about the impact of the legislation I’ve filed - the first two requirements are the ability of the city or town to meet the costs of any arbitration decision and that the decision is in the interests and welfare of the public. I believe yesterday's arbitration decision does not meet either of those criteria, which is why I called for the Mayor and the BPPA to return to the bargaining table and negotiate a deal that would better protect the taxpayers while addressing the concerns of our hardworking police officers who have gone years without a new contract. Mayors need to lead, not wait for others to tell them what to do. The residents of the city know where I stand. Unfortunately, they are still waiting to learn where John Connolly stands.