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Police negotiations with the city – My take

May 27, 2014

So, the previous section was written to try to fairly objectively give you a report on the meeting. In this part, I’m going to give you my take on the situation. I suspect you won’t like it.

SALARY ADJUSTMENT 12%

I’m against this. Police have had the most increases in the last 6-8 years of any group in the city. Frankly, they’re far overpaid for the services that they provide to the city. Even were it the case that it would save money over the long haul, I’d still be against it.

The city, like any other entity, doesn’t get the best of anything, despite the claim of JS (John Something from the Texas Municipal Police Association). It gets the best it can for what it can pay. We don’t have the best fire engine, we have the best one we can afford. We don’t have the best city hall, we have the best we can afford. We don’t have the best library, we have the best library we can afford. The same can be said about our employees. We don’t have the world’s best City Manager (no offense intended Mr. Vick), we have the best one that would work for the money the city offered, the rest self-selected out of the process. To propose otherwise for the sake of negotiations is simply asinine.

The negotiator from TMPA (Texas Municipal Police Association) suggested that the officers have been slighted by the City because the City failed to live up to the contractual obligations of the step raises. The negotiator suggested that the officers “life-time earning potential” had been harmed by the city and should be made right. Again, this is a false assumption. The City is under no obligation to help an officer realize his or her “Life-time earning potential”. That obligation falls squarely on the officer.

The city bemoans the loss of an officer to a city that pays more, when if they really cared about the officer or the city, they would be glad to see said officer gone. If the officer would rather trade a position at the Watauga PD for another city’s PD to gain more money, the city is better off without that officer. The city can then replace that officer with one that does want to be there. Even if there is an additional cost to the city, we (as tax payers of the city) are still better off.

?COMPETITIVE CITIES?

There’s still the big issue on the table that is which cities should be the “sister” cities for the purposes of comparison. Until this issue is resolved, I doubt there will be much real progress made overall. I might argue for using cities which have actually hired our departing officers. It would allow for some variety in the cities and be based in reality. I’m not sure that either side would benefit from this, so the idea seems to have some merit.

MORE ON THE 12%

Knowing, as I do, that the PD has gotten most of the raises for the last several years and were more than willing to throw the rest of the city employees under the bus so long as they got their raises, this issue is despicable and deplorable to me.

The Police Department has been very willing to use Civil Service to leverage their own case against the city to the detriment of other city employees while hiding behind the protections that Civil Service grants them to not be fired for stuff that any other city employee would be dismissed for on the spot.

While I’m on that, I wish I could tell you some of the stuff that Police Officers from Watauga have been fired for. I suspect you’d be shocked and amazed at the stupid crap that they’ve pulled. In every case, the city has been complicit in these “bad cops” being able to move on to another city by hiding the reasons for the departure through closing the cases. How does that serve the public?

?CIVIL SERVICE PROTECTS FROM “POLITICAL FIRINGS”?

The representative from TMPA (Texas Municipal Police Association) stated that Civil Service is protection against “political firings”. He gave the example of an officer who might arrest the daughter of a Council member for drunk driving and be fired for having done so. While this might be something that an officer should be protected from, what if the same officer arrested only Hispanics over a two year career? Shouldn’t the city have grounds to dismiss this officer without suffering the tribulation of Civil Service? What if black people were targeted exclusively for police stops by an officer? Might the City fire him in a “political firing” to protect black people in Watauga? What if an officer raped a woman during an investigation in her home? Shouldn’t the City be allowed to fire that officer immediately without arbitration? Shouldn’t a city be able to get rid of “bad cops” like that? I say yes. Civil Service says no. What part of “at will employment” do these people not get? The rest of us live with it. Police desperately need it because Council has a requirement to protect residents from bad cops which is even more important than providing for protection that Police supposedly provide from the rest of the crap heads of the world. If police are valuable at all, it’s only in the absence of bad cops. Otherwise, they’re just part of the problem.

?CIVIL SERVICE AS “DUE PROCESS?

May God curse any officer who would defend Civil Service as “due process” while residents remain at risk from these officers. There should be no claim to “due process” for those who have been entrusted by voters through the City to carry guns, wear bullet-resistant vests and purportedly “act on our behalf”. May God curse every officer who would write a citation for a victimless crime. May God destroy their lives, their families, their friends and all who interact with them. May God allow them to be demolished while they run into arbitrary rules and limits that cause real harm to themselves and those they love. May God curse City Council members who will tolerate this abuse of the residents they represent.

As long as any Police Officer consents to serve under Civil Service, they are unworthy of their position. They are unworthy of any money, much less more. I’d rather see raises given to every other city employee than any employee protected by Civil Service.

?INCREASE IN CERTIFICATION PAY?

I don’t care a whit about certifications. Don’t the officers get paid while they’re getting them? That seems sufficient to me.

Aren’t these the same training programs that are paid for by fees out of the court costs that are paid to the State of Texas? They’re already covered enough. The city doesn’t need to pay them any more for anything else.

?HOURS FOR NEGOTIATING?

Would the city pay them to represent the Boy Scouts? Would the city pay them to represent Kiwanis or Lion’s Club? If they are serving as the representatives of a third party with interests against that of the city, why should the city pay them? Let them use their vacation to stab the city in the back and crap on the rest of the city employees and the tax payers.

ASSIGNMENT PAY FOR FIELD TRAINING

Get rid of it all together. It’s their job. Deal with it. Suck it up. Welcome to the real world.

I don’t know, but this seems like some kind of kick-back to the officers who serve as FTOs. I wonder if there is a correlation between the FTOs and the representatives to the PA.

14 DAY PAY CYCLE

Who cares? I’m fairly amazed that anyone works for our PD if the morale is as low as the PA would like us to believe. Why don’t they just go get a job somewhere that pays more? If it’s so terrible, go somewhere else. Let the officers manage their own “life-time earnings potential” and get the hell out.

When I lived in Phoenix, they had similar problems. They would train officers and then the officers would get hired away by smaller cities. These officers could make the same money, sometimes less, but they didn’t have to worry about getting shot at every day. Could it be that the Watauga Police are cowards and they don’t want to get shot at while doing their job but still make the same money that big city cops get for being shot at? Let them go to Dallas or Fort Worth or Houston. I’m sure they all pay better. Watauga’s a good gig. They should learn to appreciate it or leave. As a tax payer, I’m sick of listening to them whine.

LONGEVITY PAY TIMED TO HOLIDAY

Why change anything for these people? When the City Manager asked what they were willing to give up for any of these items, the PA could only say “We really didn’t think about it”. Really? JS (John Something from Texas Municipal Police Association) is a professional negotiator and didn’t think about what they could do to return the favor to the City for asking for more special treatment while throwing the rest of the City employees under the bus?

INPUT INTO POLICE CHIEF

The officers that care enough about this community to live here should be able to contact their Council members just like everyone else that lives here. If they don’t care enough about this City to live here, why should the rest of us, much less City Council or the City Management care at all what they think?

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