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Archive for Thursday, July 24, 2008

Police, city talks reach impasse

Firefighter negotiations also likely to stall

A federal mediator will help solve a wage dispute between Lawrence police officers and city leaders.

July 24, 2008

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Smaller than normal year-end bonuses have stalled labor talks between Lawrence police officers and City Hall, and it appears likely that talks with Lawrence firefighters are also headed toward an impasse.

On Wednesday, representatives with both the Lawrence Police Officer's Association and the city's management team confirmed that negotiations over a new work agreement for police officers were declared to have reached an impasse last week.

A federal mediator has been called in to help resolve the dispute, which focuses on reductions to year-end longevity bonuses paid to city employees.

Unlike private sector labor disputes, the threat of a strike by police and firefighters is not likely. State law prohibits public employees from going on strike.

"We don't anticipate any impact regarding public safety service as a result of this," said Diane Stoddard, an assistant city manager who is a negotiator for the city. "We have very professional police and fire departments."

But a lingering labor dispute clearly could create other employee problems.

"It definitely would hurt morale in the organization," said Brandon Holloman, a Lawrence firefighter who is the vice president of International Association of Firefighters Local 1596. "The issue of being recognized for tenure and experience is very important to us."

The issue revolves around the city's flagging financial condition. Under City Manager David Corliss' recommended 2009 budget, the annual longevity payment made to city employees with five or more years of service will be cut in half. Under Corliss' plan, which has been endorsed by city commissioners, the longevity payment would be cut from $48 per year to $24 per year. The reduction will save the city about $212,000 in 2009, Stoddard said. The cut would apply to all city employees, not just police and fire employees.

But both police and fire representatives said the cut is too severe in a time period when city employees are facing rising household costs while being asked to do more work to compensate for a shrinking city workforce.

Mike McAtee, chairman of the Lawrence Police Officer's Association, said the reduced longevity bonuses would reduce the bonuses to levels not seen since the late 1970s.

"This is very, very important to our membership," McAtee said. "We work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for this community."

The work agreements, analogous to labor union contracts, for both the police and fire departments expire at the end of the year. The city has been negotiating with both groups in closed-door sessions since early June.

McAtee said his group declared the talks to be at an impasse last week. Holloman said he believes his group will likely do the same when it meets on Monday.

Under city rules, a federal mediator will arrive in the next few days to try to work out a compromise between the two sides. If a compromise isn't reached, both sides will present their "final offer" on the matter. City commissioners then will be asked to choose between the two.

The police and fire negotiations are holding up decisions on what, if any, pay increases other city employees will receive. The city has budgeted $1.3 million for wage increases for city employees in 2009. But the proposed budget does not get into specifics about how that money will be distributed. It also leaves open the possibility of not awarding any cost-of-living increase to employees, but rather basing all increases on performance reviews.

Comments

jrlii 5 years, 8 months ago

"What laws [sic] has Olin broken?"How about the one on perjury?As I understand it, some years ago Olin was caught red handed committing perjury in a case of an elderly driver who wanted to cross Iowa street in post game traffic, and refused to turn right like the officer directing traffic wanted.Olin testified under oath that he was an eyewitness, despite the fact that radio records showed that he did not leave the Law Enforcement & Judicial center 'till several minutes after the event happened.The prosecutor refused to pursue the matter.No wonder people don't trust the police any more.

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spiderman 5 years, 8 months ago

humorFunny....The IRS decides to audit Boudreaux, and summons him to the IRS office. The IRS auditor is not surprised when Boudreaux shows up with his attorney. The IRS had demanded $23,000 in taxes from Boudreaux due to unreported income.The auditor says, "Well, sir, you have an extravagant lifestyle and no full-time employment, which you explain by saying that you win money gambling. I'm not sure the IRS finds that believable.""I'm a great gambler, and I can prove it," says Boudreaux. "How about a demonstration?"The auditor thinks for a moment and said, "Okay. Go ahead."Boudreaux says, "I'll bet you a thousand dollars that I can bite my own eye."The auditor thinks a moment and says, "No way! It's a bet."Boudreaux removes his glass eye and bites it. The auditor's jaw drops.Boudreaux says, "Now, I'll bet you two thousand dollars that I can bite my other eye."The auditor can tell Boudreaux isn't blind, so he takes the bet.Boudreaux removes his dentures and bites his good eye..The stunned auditor now realizes he has wagered and lost three grand, with Boudreaux's attorney as a witness. He starts to get nervous."Want to go double or nothing?" Boudreaux asks. "I'll bet you six thousand dollars that I can stand on one side of your desk, and pee into that wastebasket on the other side, and never get a drop anywhere in between."The auditor, twice burned, is cautious now, but he looks carefully and decides there's no way this guy can manage that stunt, so he agrees again.Boudreaux stands beside the desk and unzips his pants, but although he strains mightily, he can't make the stream reach the wastebasket on other side, so pretty much urinates all over the desk.The auditor leaps with joy, realizing that he has just turned a major loss into a huge win. But Boudreaux's attorney moans and puts his head in his hands."Are you okay?" the auditor asks. "Not really," says the attorney. "This morning, when Boudreaux told me he'd been summoned to appear in person before the IRS, he bet me twenty-thousand dollars that he could come in here and piss all over your desk and that you'd be happy about it."H/T Thomas HarrisPosted by Theo at 08:36

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smitty 5 years, 8 months ago

Yabut , please educate me and the public. What is the city's financial contributions to an employee's retirement fund or other retirement costs? How much does the tax payer contribute?

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doc1 5 years, 8 months ago

I think the city will get the message when all the officers stop writing tickets in retaliation. They can still enforce traffic without writing a ticket. Nobody can take away officer discretion thanks to the supreme court. They can strike by not writing tickets. The city would cough a lung with a few million dollars not showing up in the general fund.

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Jim Phillips 5 years, 8 months ago

"That's funny rite thar, I don't care who y'are!"

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yellowhouse 5 years, 8 months ago

I'll not back down, nor take a fall,I trust in truth devineMy steadfast fight will show them allThat victory is mine!

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l_town_playa 5 years, 8 months ago

Let them strike. All they do is eat donuts and write traffic tickets on Mass Street and 6th Street. Who needs 'em?

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geniusmannumber1 5 years, 8 months ago

And barrypenders really has the best handle on the issue. Congrats.

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geniusmannumber1 5 years, 8 months ago

As soon as I noticed this headline, my thought process was "Police? Who's the designated fabricator today? yellowhouse, smitty, or wasfreashpowder?" Guess it's smitty.

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Yabut 5 years, 8 months ago

And while state law may prohibit public employees from going on strike, it didn't prevent half of the Topeka FIre department from calling in sick in one day: http://www.cjonline.com/stories/062408/loc_294471257.shtml

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Yabut 5 years, 8 months ago

As usual, Smitty is wrong. The city does not pay out retirement pensions; instead, all city employees are required to contribute a minimum of 4% of their pay to either the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System or Kansas Police & Fire. I don't think its legal to deny an employee the funds that they've invested, (especially since its required) or the interest earned from their investment.

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compmd 5 years, 8 months ago

In Illinois it is not forbidden for public employees to strike, however police are exempted from this. Members of the AFSCME union in Cook County went on strike a few years back and practically shut down the court system for two days. The county got their message, loud and clear. Its a pity all this time is being wasted dillydallying here with a mediator and they still are not getting anywhere.

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monkeywrench1969 5 years, 8 months ago

tj don't even go there. You can find out where she is going with this "cover up" by looking at her past posts. It is like a stalker with a one track mind.

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samsnewplace 5 years, 8 months ago

hk45 I agree totally, well said!

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tjhoops69 5 years, 8 months ago

Motion carried consumer1~~~~Now there is a murder coverup?? Oh smitty, it gets better and better with every post, have you ever considered writing a fictional novel on some of your hallucinations???

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hk45 5 years, 8 months ago

Please do not bring Olin into this discussion because it does not apply to him. The contract negotiations only deal with the non-salaried officers and detectives. Many of these people have worked many years for this city and it is wrong for the city to turn back time to the 1970s.Maybe more attention should be given to how many jobs Corliss has created at city hall the last few years. The rumor heard around town in the law community is that City Hall is the largest law practice in town. If Corliss had not created so many jobs (lawyers, assistant city managers, assistant to the city manager, budget coordinator, etc) the last few years for his use, then maybe there would be enough money to fund the longevity raises for the city employees (fire, police, and everyone else) who keeps this community a nice place to live.

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Jim Phillips 5 years, 8 months ago

smitty,"Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!"Sound familiar?

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barrypenders 5 years, 8 months ago

In the late 80's Detroit's cops walked out. But it wasn't a problem because Robo Cop was able to pick up the slack.

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smitty 5 years, 8 months ago

No one said any thing about not paying a good salary.Example of proof on Olin's corruption:I have been asking for the truth about a murder cover up for 17 years and have seen many of Olin's(LE) infractions in the process. Many public documents have been cited as the source of this data. I can repeat the data if you are requesting that. Olin and his closest long term personnel are under an investigation by the feds. If Olin and others of his force apply for retirement while the investigation in on going they are not subject to with holding of their retirement unless there is a bad boy clause . If there is not a federal felon charge brought against them, them they can with draw their retirement and continue with the blue wall of silence.The city manager and commission know what's being investigated. If the manager and commissioners allow the contract to continue without a bad boy clause they are likely to pay hundreds of thousands of $$$$$ of our tax dollars to assist in the blue wall of silence each year these corrupt cops on retirement.

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BorderRat 5 years, 8 months ago

Smitty, Smitty, Smitty.... The Feds can indict a toaster for arson but it doesn't mean they'll get a conviction. By the way, I kind of agree with LawrenceRules on this one.

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macon47 5 years, 8 months ago

ditto.most of the folks who dont like locallaw enforcement, dont likeobeying laws much either

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fu7il3 5 years, 8 months ago

What laws has Olin broken? The only people I've heard talking about this are you and Yellow House, and Yellow House recently deleted a bunch of their stuff on LV, which I can only assume meant none of it was true.Pay them. They've been doing a great job. Every time you see a major crime in this paper, it has been followed with an arrest. From what it says here, they are asking to keep what they have gotten in the past.Same with the fire department. Are you going to tell these guys, "Sorry, your life isn't worth as much as it was last year." Sure, other city employees are also getting cuts. Other city employees don't have a chance that they won't go home because of their job.I want the police and firefighters to be well-compensated and happy, because quite frankly I like the fact that they will show up if something happens to me.

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smitty 5 years, 8 months ago

An(d) another fine personal attack in lieu of an(d) explanation as to why a bad boy clause is not merited or what the hidden benefits are for our LPD tax dollars.Has Olin retired yet or just requested retirement before the feds indict him? How about all those recent retirements in the LPD? Indictments? There is a major loop hole in the contract with the LPD when we allow them to break the laws and be rewarded.

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consumer1 5 years, 8 months ago

I second that LawrenceRules. Will the motion carry?

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macon47 5 years, 8 months ago

for gosh sakes , dont worry about the police and firemen,as long as we have the bus systemin lawrence life will be good

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smitty 5 years, 8 months ago

Corliss, good work but what about the bad boy clause??What with all the illegal activities in the LPD, this is the ideal time to add the BADBOY clause to the contract. This clause will not allow retirement benefits or pay to be negotiated for those that are attempting to retire prior to the filing of charges for illegal activity. Something that the LPD is involved with at this time. This clause, if in place now, would save the city multiple thousands of dollars annually. Lawhorn, ask and report on this clause or absence in the contract. Also print the facts on all the extra benefits that are allowed the police. We get information only on pay scale but not the benefits and extras. Facts about the real price we pay for our law enforcement would put McAtee's 24/7 sympathy plea in perspective so we can decide for ourselves.It wouldn't hurt for that badboy clause to be all the city contracts if any employee is found to be breaking the law while under city employment, city managers & commissioners included(ethics please).

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