Campaign off to a good start

We've quickly descended into Point/Counterpoint territory on this police arbitrator thing. Both candidates had their say yesterday, then this morning, Walsh blamed Menino.

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.

Walsh blames Menino for arbitrator's police award

If Menino had negotiated in good faith with the patrolmen instead of trying to lord it over them like he owns the joint, the contract never would have gone to an arbitrator, who then would never have ruled officers deserve raises the city can't afford, Walsh said in a statement this morning:

Many working families across the city have seen no raises, or have even seen drops in their family income over the past few years. I believe the raises awarded by the arbitrator are clearly out of line with the current economic environment and unsustainable for the City of Boston. Because Mayor Menino has chosen to pursue irresponsible negotiating tactics, he has put the City in the untenable position of choosing between an exorbitant arbitration award or reneging on the basic tenets of collective bargaining.

H-Block fusillade ends with woman shot

Sat, 09/28/2013 - 00:20

Around 12:20 a.m., residents in the area of Harold and Harrishof streets reported up to 12 gunshots. Arriving officers quickly found two cars with "ballistic damage" (a third was found later). Not long after that, they found a woman on Harold with a gunshot wound to her shoulder.

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Arbitrator gives police union everything it wanted in a contract and more

The Globe reports an arbitrator sided with the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association on the issue of pay raises and benefits.

The city says the union was seeking about 21.5% increases in salary and benefits increases over six years; the arbitrator said its members deserve more than 25%. If the city council rejects the award, the two sides would go back to the bargaining table - which is what happened with firefighters in 2010.

Both mayoral candidates issued statements. Marty Walsh said he doesn't believe in arbitration and that he would just sit down with union bargainers and bargain until both sides agreed to a contract fair to both union members and taxpayers. John Connolly said he wants to read the arbitrator's decision and meet with the city CFO and union leaders before deciding what to do next.

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