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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.

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I just not sure if it sound political strategy to piss off Mayor Menino and the Boston Police Union all in one sound bite.

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At some point in the not too distant future we run out of demand for luxo condos and apartments which means the city can't grow revenues. Then all the unions and the city are screwed. The under/ over is january 2016. Any takers?

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Honestly, I'd be happy if they'd get rid of the padding for stuff like details and the Quinn bill garbage and just pay the cops a high, fair salary. No OT shenanigans, no padding, just a straightforward pay scale which is tied to some larger cost index like the COLA.

It would be nice if we didn't have unfunded retiree healthcare benefits of $18k per resident of the city, but allegedly this is all fine because when those bills come due, we'll have lots of money.

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Taxes go up, people flee the city, the city no longer has the tax base to fund basic services and pension obligations, so taxes go up further with reduced services, so more people flee the city, so the city eventually becomes Detroit.

Menino was very smart to keep a massive rainy day fund relatively untapped to save the city in the future when the pension tsunami hits. Unless the next mayor uses that for a slush fund the city will have something to bail itself out when the overgenerous underfunded pensions come do and buy time for future pension reform.

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First the city can only raise taxes 2.5% per year unless there is a referendum to raise them more and can't raise them at all if taxes exceed 2.5% of total citywide assessed value. (We are at close to 2%).

Second menino has spent every single dime the city has spent in the last ten years on an operating basis. The only way I've been able to figure out how they've grown the surplus cash is by borrowing although debt levels and cost do remain reasonable.

the current surplus cash won't pay 15% of what we owe in post employment bennies and deals like this will make things much more difficult especially if real estate construction slows.

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And people are willing to pay more so things are still looking good on my end (I am not a part of the patrolmans union)

I'd still be more upset at the BPS 90+ million dollar transportation budget and total 1 billion dollar budget for next year. All for a system that really only produces at a below average level for the most part.

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Arbitration or more accurately binding arbitration is designed to be a solution to stalled / failed negotiations. Wether bargained for as a path of resolution in the controlling contracts or statutorily mandated to avert strikes, lockouts, or other untenable situations for public safety and welfare. If the union had been awarded no raises would the city leaders say that it was unacceptable - me thinks not. Arbitration is a roll of the dice ( with guiding language accepted) I think it's a lesson in risk avoidance for the "losing" side, sharpen your pencils, bring your best and brightest negotiators and do the work required. I'm sure middle ground existed at some point in the negotiations - someone should have recognized it and closed the deal

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Cops get a hefty raise but we eliminate those asinine police details

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(1) Details and overtime are not considered pensionable income.

(2) Details are paid to the city by the customer (construction company etc.) not the tax payer.

(3) The city subs out the police force for these details for a 10% fee. Yes the city makes money on every detail done in the city.

(4) In 2011 the average Boston police officer took an average wage loss of 12% when the state ended its funding of the educational incentive known as the Quinn bill and raised the healthcare contribution cost.

(5) The reason why you have high overtime costs is because it's cheaper to pay "forced" overtime than it is to hire new officers. Under staffing is the reason. Most stations in the city are under staffed. The majority of overtime is forced upon the officer. How many parades, walks, runs, concerts and special events can this city possibly jam into a calender year? They grant permits for these events without any regard to the police overtime budget. Keep in mind that all these events require police presence for the public's safety and to close streets in order to accommodate the event. After the events of April 15th 2013, you know they will require double the officers on post for these events. Cut back on all these events and you are guaranteed to see those costs go down. Here's a novel idea, how about using the overtime budget in areas that are considered to have high crime.

(6) When you see officers (not supervisors) making 100k or more a year, those officers are working 60, 70 or 80 hour weeks. The base salary for a Boston police officer is 70K annually (salary.com). Your average officer is forced (ordered) to work those overtime hours like I said earlier. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday the department puts on "gang cars" that is forced overtime. Anytime there is a shooting, "forced overtime". If there is a dignitary (presidents etc) that comes to town, "forced overtime". Bars that have a bad track record of violence "forced overtime". Again, parades, runs, walks, concerts etc. "forced overtime".

(7) For the first 10 years of a Boston police officer's career, he/she is required to live in the city. If you have a young family, are you going to place your child in a city school? Probably not. So a private school is going to cost you and God forbid you want to buy a piece of real estate in the city.

(8) Finally, taking into account the 12% lost in 2011, this contract really is a 12% raise over 6 years not 25%.

Please don't be so quick to demean the hard working officers of Boston. Having recently retired, I can tell you that these officers are dedicated individuals who don't ask to be everyone's fan favorite but an ounce of respect would be nice.

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(2) Details are paid to the city by the customer (construction company etc.) not the tax payer.

I'm so tired of hearing that line. When a paving contractor hires a detail, it gets rolled into the total and charged to the city or state, and I, the taxpayer, foot the bill. When Verizon hires a detail, it gets rolled into the rate base and I, the subscriber, pay the bill. When NStar hires a detail, ti gets rolled into the gas or electric ratebase and I, the ratepayer, pay the bill. Don't try to blow some smoke up my ass about details not costing me anything; it only makes you look stupid.

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I'm going to assume (monster leap) that you know a little about business and the basic principle of operating costs. Since we are talking about Boston, I will only refer to that city. In Boston, a detail cop costs the vendor $33-37 dollars an hour (depending on location). Flagmen (which was proposed and passed) would cost $40 dollars an hour plus benefits. That $40 dollar an hour figure is the result of the prevailing wage law. The state house commissioned a fact finding study on the issue and found that in many cases it costs more to hire a flagman than it does to hire a police officer. I won't bore you with the argument made by most proponents relative to having the additional benefit of having additional police on the street as a result. So let's come full circle to your post. If a flagman costs $40 dollars an hour in Boston and a police officer costs you $33 or $37 dollars an hour, which one would you hire?

If you think that in the city of Boston, it is cost effective to use flagmen instead of police officers I have a bridge here in Florida to sell you. If you are of the belief that the use of flagman by Nstar or other vendors will cause your electric bill to decrease, I have two bridges in Florida to sell you. By the way here is an article written on the subject in June 2013 by the Worcester telegram. (http://www.telegram.com/article/20130630/NEWS/1063...).

I won't say you look stupid. But try to do a little research before posting. It makes for a better debate. Enjoy the article.

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n/t

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Did I mention flagmen? Or the relative costs of flagmen vs detail officers? I don't believe I did. I was responding specifically to your claim that detail officers aren't paid for by me, the taxpayer. Don't change the subject; it makes you look like a poor debater.

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I gave you too much credit. It truly was a monster leap for you to understand the premise of the argument. In every business there are business costs that you incur. The Coca Cola driver adds to the cost of the product. The machine operator at Gillette adds to the cost of the razor. But how many businesses get back 10% for the services they provide and give that 10% back to you the taxpayer.

If you think for one second that if tomorrow Nstar decided not to use police officers for their work sites, that your electric bill will decrease, I have a third bridge to sell you.

So I'm guessing you are just a cop hater because there is no possible way you can look at the numbers I provided you and still hold the same opinion. After 36 years serving the citizens of Boston, I'm confident I can see a cop hater a mile away.

Don't bother responding. I'm going to play a round of golf here in sunny Florida and won't be back to this site again to see your ignorance in full display. Oh well, I tried.

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Enjoying that round of golf on your pension? Enjoy it now because in ten years it's going to get cut in half when there's not enough money in the pot to pay for those pensions anymore.

Not a cop hater - just a realist that can calculate compound interest. We are some giant number in the hole. The city needs to make a "profit" each year to fill that hole - but if the cops and firemen and teachers and everybody else keep demanding raises twice the rate of inflation, there's no fill, which means if you live long enough you'll see the day when the city comes to you and says - this is all we got and that's all you're getting - rots a ruck.

Check the books - forget health care - pensions are one of the fastest growing line items in the city's budget - literally eating it alive.

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I'm not a cop hater in the slightest. Quite the contrary,

I have never made the argument that flagmen should replace detail officers.

You are simply too busy foaming at the mouth to read what I wrote and only what I wrote, and not to start making all kinds of assumptions about who I am or what I think.

My one, single point is that the "paid details don't cost you anything" line is transparently BS, and that expecting anyone to believe it is insulting.

There are plenty of good arguments you could be making in favor of details instead of that lame one.

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As someone who lived in LA, I can tell you they used a lot of flagmen there. Generally, they were either min wage workers or illegals - eg a Mexican in a vest with flags and light up cones. Say whatever you what - majority of them made $8- $10 an hour, more If they worked an overnight. This was one of the jobs at the 'labor ready' - hey guess what? The contractor charging the city still rolled the cost back to the city as maybe 20$ per hour.

Now, as someone who has family in public contracting, roadwork, etc - sometimes having the cop makes the difference, especially if you are doing street work and idiots ignore the signs, park in no parking, etc. The cop just calls for them to be towed, or goes and tells them to move. Try getting a dude in an orange vest to do that. Detail cop cost became an issue as a tiny thing that people could latch onto for political elections and really is just a smokescreen for bigger issues (like I don't know...falling lights in tunnels, drug deals in downtown crossing etc)

Lastly, as someone who has known cops, dealt with cops, the hate people have on them around here is amazing - like there are a bunch of guys sitting watching their 100 inch tvs, drinking fine wine and lighting cigars with the big raises. These are guys who get shot, shot at, have to take people down, have to keep you safe. Oh yes I am sure someone will talk about the fascist survelline state, and that's your right, because the cops are there to protect your right to be an asshole. This is a job where if you make a mistake, someone dies.

Keep that in mind next time you ride your Hubway through JP, because if it weren't for the city, and police, you'd never go out there after 6pm. Crime is going to happen, and I'd rather the guy helping to prevent or solve it isn't worrying about his mortgage or how to feed his family, instead he's doing his job, and he wants to do his job.

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Lots of us live in the city, make less than $100k per year and opt to send our kids to the BPS. Houses cost $300-400k, which is a lot of money, but not for a married couple where one is making $100k. Spare those of us who actually live here your dramatics about the oppressiveness of being a member of the community being served.

Why is it a bad thing to take away details if there's too much forced overtime? Put aside the cost of civilian flaggers or let's just assume it's cost neutral. If there's no benefit to the police and it just adds to the overburdening of the officers, why do the police fight so hard to keep it? I'm all for paying police a very good wage to provide their core service, I just want more clarity in the budget about what the costs are for the services provided. By all means, let's give them a raise and also reduce overtime.

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How can an "impartial" negotiator award the winning side _more_ than they even asked for? Shouldn't the requested amount be the upper limit of any reward?

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One cannot comment on JUST the wage portion of the award without seeing what the arbitrator may have NOT given them or even taken away from the existing benefits package

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