John Connolly today announced his position on the arbitrator's award in the stalled police contract talks: Both sides should go back to the bargaining table, because cops deserve a contract, but the city can't afford to pay for the arbitrator's award:
I believe that the arbitrator's award is out of line with the current economic environment and not in the best interests of the taxpayers. From the beginning, I have made that clear and called for the Mayor and the BPPA to return to the negotiating table to come up with an agreement that works for the City and honors the hard work of our brave police, who have been without a contract for years. If a majority of the City Council should in fact vote no to the existing agreement, the parties will be forced back to the bargaining table. I will continue to encourage those same parties to honor the basic tenets of collective bargaining and avoid the City Council vote by jointly agreeing to resume negotiations, and for that reason I am going to continue to call for the sides to do that as quickly as possible so that the City Council does not have to intervene. I believe that the best thing for the City and the police is to get back to the bargaining table and agree to a deal that works for both sides.
As David Bernstein notes, however, a possibly key difference is that where Walsh just wants the union and mayor to start talking again, Connolly wants the City Council to formally reject the arbitrator's proposal - which would force the two sides to start bargaining again - much as happened in 2010 with the firefighters, only this time Connolly would get the credit as a leader who can get a contract both sides can live with:
Walsh has not called for the council to vote no. He is, then, calling on the BPPA to VOLUNTARILY go back to negotiate, with no incentive/disincentive to do so. Connolly is saying the council should vote no, and reject the contract, forcing the sides to negotiate again -- and that, to avoid that, the BPPA should make concessions.
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