I read an excellent editorial in the Acorn this morning. I’m a strong believer in the Simi Valley police force, but it’s sincerely unfortunate that the city employees and Police management (non union members) have agreed to small pay cuts while the Police Officers Association refuse to make a sacrifice. I’m not privileged enough to know the details of what’s holding up the negotiations, but I do know in the past that the police officers’ union has managed to negotiate healthy pay increases for their members. In these economic times, I can’t see how realistic continued negotiations of that type actually are.
Below is the editorial from The Acorn.
Are the Simi Valley police negotiations turning into a war of words?
The fact that the Simi Valley Police Officers Association (POA) might be hiring a public relations firm in its battle with the city over a new union contract doesn’t bode well for either side in the dispute.
The city and its police force need to maintain a cooperative, healthy working relationship, and the union’s plan to engage in a bit of spin doctoring only figures to create more ill will.
The call for a public relations firm to get involved in the contract negotiations is a signal that the talks, which have been going on since June, are not faring well.
Worse than the fight with city hall, the ongoing debate threatens to cause a rift between the 110 Simi police force members who belong to the union and those at the management level—lieutenants, captains and the chief—who are non-union.
As always, salaries are a key issue.
In an effort to help balance the city’s general fund budget for fiscal year 2009-2010, two employee groups—the local chapter of the Service Employees International Union and a separate management group—agreed to take a 2 percent reduction in compensation.
It’s time for the police men and women, who already enjoy an excellent public employee benefits package, to make sacrifices of their own. Police management earlier agreed to a reduction in benefits, but the union rank and file has not.
The POA is completely within its rights to hire a PR firm; union dues will pay the cost. Even so, the move figures to hamper the negotiations, not help them. And the fear is the battle could turn personal.
It’s time for both sides to turn down the rhetoric and come to terms on a new contract for the brave men and women who keep Simi a safe place to live.