Friday, May 18, 2012

Police Contract Signed

On Thursday, Mayor William Hallenbeck signed into law the new four-year contract with the Hudson Police Department. Tom Casey has the story in today's Register-Star: "No sweat: City inks police pact." 

Hallenbeck, who prior to becoming mayor of Hudson spent his life in some kind of law enforcement, thinks it is a "fair contract." Common Council president Don Moore is similarly happy with the agreement, saying, "The city now has the opportunity to attend to other projects and ideas that will build to support both business and infrastructure." Only City treasurer Eileen Halloran, charged with overseeing the budget, sees the contract negotiations as a missed opportunity to save the taxpayers money. She is quoted as saying, "It needs to be made clear that a person can value and respect the hard work of public employees even as they urge their elected representatives to take action to hold the line on spending."

Halloran's position on the police contract raised the ire of Hallenbeck who accused her of "political posturing" and suggested that she "reduce her salary from $60,000 to $45,000 [the mayor's salary] if she was concerned about saving taxpayers money." It is not clear if Hallenbeck's comments were made in the public hearing or in a subsequent interview with Casey.  


  1. So here's some salty language -- hope it's not too offensive:

    This fucking contract and the negotiations leading up to its being presented to the Common Council was a farce. Pure and simple. It amounts to ZERO savings to the City. None. Nada. Zilch. Bupkis. Squat. Got it? Any claim to the contrary is pure baloney.

    The 0% salary increases for the 1st 2 years were ameliorated by the fact that we -- the taxpayers -- agreed to pay each member of the HPD a $1k/year "bonus" for each of the first 2 years under the contract. For the younger, less tenured cops, that's nearly a 4% bump each year; for the already highly-paid it's around 1.3%. While these "bonuses" aren't used to calculate salary and thus don't become subject to the multiplier effect of guaranteed raises, they are counted towards each officer's "total compensation" and it is this last figure upon which pensions are calculated.

    So while the politicians crow about "saving the City money" they fail to consider that we are paying, whether you call it "salary" or "bonus," it's the taxpayers' money and it's heading out the door.

    When I asked why we're paying active-duty cops to stay on at a job that is considered and understood to be one of the plum law enforcement jobs in the county, I'm told it's a retention bonus. In other words, we're paying them to stay at jobs that they'd not leave anyway.

    But I couldn't get more than 2 of my fellow CC members as interested in this issue as I am.

    What's more troubling about the contract is what it fails to do -- it fails to correct a single structural problem that the prior agreements contained and so, now, the present contract contains them too. Specifically, the shift scheduling in place (since the Tracy administration I'm told) results in every officer receiving 9 extra paid days off each year ON TOP of the paid time off they already get. If the average salary of a MOF of the HPD is $45000 then the cumulative cost to the City -- exclusive of taxes and perqs -- is $40k/year -- or nearly the cost of one rookie's salary. In essence, we could have had a free cop! "Could have" being the operative words.

    Did the CC insist that these issues be discussed? No. In fact, they insisted that the issues NOT be discussed. Only 2 members of the CC voted "no" on the contract. One member, who shall go nameless, suggested (as he always does) that the CC simply rubber-stamp the contract since "the Mayor thinks it's a good idea." Hell, using that logic we should simply vote the Mayor extraordinary powers, disband the CC and all go home. There are, of course, precedents for such behavior -- Russia during its civil war, Germany in 1933, Spain later that same decade, and likely some African and S. and C. American petty dictatorships and quasi-fascist regimes in the last half of the 20th century.

    In essence, the City, through the CC, doubled-down on the structural problems and rolled over for the HPD, acting like the rubber stamp that the HPD clearly feels the CC is and that some of its members wish it would become.

    My advice to all you high school juniors and seniors? Don't take the SAT, don't set your sights on higher education, just get into the community college and study "law enforcement." Then, when you graduate in 2 years (at age 20), go through the police academy at your (by now) alma mater, and put in an application with the HPD. If you're very lucky, you'll be hired around your 25th birthday. Then, 20 years later, when you're at the ripe old age of 45, you can retire with a full pension, pay no state taxes on it, have your health care and life insurance paid for by the taxpayers, move to Florida and spend the next 25 to 40 years enjoying yourself.

  2. I have recently met two couples that have either resigned or taken early retirement from their jobs in various police departments in NYS.

    The change, starting since 2007, is so drastic that these dedicated police men and women made a conscious decision to leave.