Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Last one out turn the lights off!!!!

Who's leaving? Who's staying? That is the million dollar question today. Every day a new name hits the list of those heading for the exit. The mayor has accomplished his goal. The San Diego Police Department is being gutted of experience, institutional knowledge, wisdom, confidence and leadership. The public has been mis-lead and lied to by the mayor. The contract being inserted into every police officer in this city was not necessary nor fair. The mayor is continuing his payback to officers who stood up to him and refused to be bullied. When will it end?

In Fiscal Year 2006 218 officers departed the department (18 per month). In Fiscal Year 2007 174 officers departed (15 per month). In Fiscal Year 2008 126 officers departed (11 per month). In Fiscal Year 2009 (to date) 125 officers have departed (12 per month). NOW for the REAL numbers. As of today there are over 120 SENIOR members (sworn & non-sworn) of the San Diego Police Department who will be departing service to the citizens of San Diego in the next 60 days. That number is expected to grow. Some estimates place the number at 175 or an increase of 55 SENIOR members.

People need to know the effects this will have on public safety. The departure of a Chief, Captain (or two), three or four Lieutenants (maybe more), twenty plus Sergeants (patrol and investigations), fifty plus investigators and a whole slew of senior, experienced patrol officers will leave a void never before seen in San Diego Law Enforcement. I fear for my families safety. I fear for the public's safety. I fear for what is going to happen to San Diego.

Currently there are too few Background Investigators assigned to the Unit responsible for conducting the investigations of those seeking to replace those leaving. The process takes 6-12 months when things go well to add a persons name to the list of qualified candidates to enter the academy. The department is scrambling to add investigators to this task. The goal is to increase the academy class size from 25 to 50. IT'S NOT ENOUGH!!!!

This crisis was not created by the department and did not have to happen. The mayor has thrown the baby out with the bath water with his tactics. The caper for most senior people was the mayor's inserting a cap of retiree medical insurance. This move alone was enough to force people out the door. Here are the numbers I am talking about:

I did the calculations related to the cap of retiree medical. When the benefit is capped at $8,800; the loss of money is as follows;

10 year loss: $66,268
20 year loss: $282,884
25 year loss: $567,235

In the first ten years, the loss of the 10% increase to the $8,800 flex dollars provided is $66,268. The loss begins to increase exponentially over the next 10 years and then even worse over the next five years to a total loss of $567,235 over a 25 year period.

These numbers are based on the 10% increase in flex dollars, NOT the increase of premium which has historically been 13-27%. So if you take these numbers, the loss of dollars to a person retiring AFTER June 30 is substantial.

I get the economical issues facing the the City, County, State and Nation. Every person in America has been affected by this economic downturn, loss of jobs, cuts in pay and benefits; lost value of real estate and loss of investments. These issues have caused people to roll back spending which in turn has resulted in a loss of revenue from taxes. All of this out of the control of employees of the Police Department.

The mayor is scapegoating employees and their benefits for his personal gain. There is no honor in being a bully. That is what the mayor is. He is being held up as the crusader who took on and defeated the all mighty unions. He is ruining a city work force for personal gain. His legacy will be eliminating "excessive pay and benefits" from city workers. Lost will be the increase in serious crimes; reduced cancellation rates of these same crimes and a quality of life never before seen in San Diego and not for the good. The mayor can stand tall and tout to the public how he reigned in the unions; did not have to raise taxes and kept service levels at "acceptable" levels. It's all smoke and mirrors.

The mayor loaded his shotgun and fired at the Police Officers because we do not have the protections the other employee groups have. We are the only labor group who does not have the protections from the type of criminal activities the mayor has perpetrated upon his officers. PERB or the Public Employees Relations Board would issue an unfair labor practice for the types of actions his negotiations people pulled during the past negotiations. Just calling it "negotiations" is a joke.

The mayor had an agenda and no matter what was presented by the SDPOA, the mayor was not going to accept it nor consider it. The mayors goal was to beat down the association. In the middle of negotiations the city negotiators present a law suit to the SDPOA board indicating the mayor was going to sue the SDPOA to eliminate DROP. The crux of the law suit was the mayors ill advised belief DROP is not a vested benefit. The negotiators were demanding the SDPOA negotiate with the City about the elimination of DROP. The SDPOA board, knowing they could not negotiate a vested benefit away refused. The mayor knew by dropping the law suit in the middle of negotiations it would shut down ANY chance of an agreement and enable him to insert the Last Best and Final (LB&F) in the asses of every police officer in San Diego. The mayor also knew the inserted contract would result in the exit of many senior employees, further reducing the payroll.

Lastly on this issue tonight; the mayor met with the City Council in closed session during the impasse hearing. The mayor threatened the council. He told them if they failed to help him insert the cuts on the officers that were in his LB&F, the result would be the other tentative agreements with Fire, MEA and City Attorney's could be voided. The implied threat was insert/impose the LB&F on the SDPOA or he would go to the public and blame them for destroying the reform efforts he was undertaking and he would tell the taxpayers the cost to them would be astronomical. The council obviously did not have the testicular fortitude to do the right thing and voted 8-0 WITHOUT DISCUSSION.

The numbers of senior, experienced and dedicated officers of the San Diego Police Department who are leaving is growing exponentially.

Come June 30, 2009, would the last person out please get the lights? There won't be a need on July 1 for the lights to be on... NO ONE WILL BE AROUND!!!!


Anonymous said...

WOW!! you have some balls Sparky!! Keep it up. Your words are shared by many of us!

Anonymous said...

Sparky you're right. The San Diego Police Department lights are turned off, but several years ago. The pride, honor and spirit of being a San Diego police officer has been sucked out of the Department by the lying, manipulating and downright dishonest, city politicians. Their lies to the city residents, employees and the public at large are a disgrace. To blame the employees for the financial problems that the City now faces is unconscionable. The City Council, with a promise to employees to repay the fund, openly rerouted city funds earmarked for the employees retirement system and used them for other city ventures. The City Council and Mayor now want to renege on their prior promise and obligation to repay the funds. The City Council, Mayor and present & past City Attorneys, are now lying to the residents of San Diego by saying that it's the employees who caused the problem and quite honestly they are to blame for creating the problem, not the employees. The city employees quite faithfully fulfilled their obligation to the City and its residents through hard work. If only the Council had looked for legitimate funding sources for their ventures, or explained to the residents that they'd have to raise taxes a little to pay for their ventures and incompetence we'd not be face with these financial problems. The residents now have to face the fact that experienced police officers will be leaving the San Diego Police Department in large numbers and will be slowly replaced, at a terrible cost to the taxpayer, by inexperienced rookies, taken from the bottom of the barrel already which has already been picked over by other law enforcement agencies. Gerri, or is it Jerri, Sanders is well aware of what went on and who is to really blame for the City’s financial problems, but chooses to glass over this an make misrepresentations (some would call lies) to the public. The experience and ability of the San Diego Police Department to investigate crimes and respond to the needs of its residents has been severely destroyed. The once proud professional officers of the department have been demoralized by the lies of the city politicians and local news agencies. Quality police work is out the window, as well as the once quality investigations submitted to the District Attorneys office. The San Diego Police Department is now the brunt of jokes about incompetence currently being made behind their backs by astute members of the District Attorney's office. Experienced police department leaders , front line supervisors, detectives and senior officers are walking out the door. The replacements are at best minimally qualified. The quality of the Department's work product has reached an unacceptable and truly unprofessional level. This is reflected in fewer cases being prosecuted by the District Attorney, and the incompetent City Attorney's office. The cracks in the city’s law enforcement floors are so big elephants; tanks and semi-truck are falling through. So Sparky rant on, maybe someone with guts, courage and ability, will take this City away from the self-serving politicians and put a tourniquet on the artery that is hemorrhaging the city's lifeblood of work experience.