Monday, November 9, 2009

YOU are going to be the BAD GUY

In the next few days the mayor will announce proposed cuts in city services to close a $179 to $200 million deficit. The mayor will also tout new indicators of lower crime and a safe city. Various chief officers are doing all they can by spreading the news there is hope in the air. The stock market has rebounded and the mayor is telling everyone the payment to SDCERS is going to be less than expected. The joy in their voices is unmistakable and the glee in their eyes is akin to a young child coming around the corner Christmas morning to see a new bike under the tree. In the next couple of weeks the city and SDPOA will begin the process of "negotiations" for a new contract. History does not offer even a glimmer of hope of being treated fairly by this mayor. Yet there are those who want all of us to believe otherwise. I have a few predictions.

CUTS are in your future for sure! There will be reductions in benefits and cuts to wages. The mayor will seek to reduce overtime by demanding the elimination of holidays from our contract. There will be other demands made by the mayor in an attempt to reduce the overtime paid to police officers. The mayor will continue his push to reduce or eliminate retirement benefits and further the divide between police officers of this city and citizens. The mayor has an agenda and he could give a damn about fairness, equity or the men and women who protect and serve.

The chief officers are doing all they can to rally the troops and provide a measure of hope. The chief, always the cheerleader, continues to lead the cheer section as the rest of us watch time tick down on the clock. The score is so lopsided it would take a miracle to even get a tie at this point. But let's take a look at reality for a few minutes and recognize what we are up against. Before I do this, I want to share a sentiment I hear every day from officers and supervisors alike throughout the department. I innocently asked a detective if they were studying for the sergeant's test. The initial reply from this detective, "Trying, but not nearly as much as I want; no freaking time. I probably won't even take it, what's the point?" The frustration is clear and the drive obviously gone from an employee who has always had a very positive and upbeat attitude.

I pried a bit more and offered encouragement and talked about the positives of good people moving to the supervisor ranks. His reply was one that struck me as a systemic disease killing this once great organization from within. "I know. But honestly I really don't care because the drive has been lost during the last 5 years. You have to believe in the system, believe in the company, believe in what you are selling, and I don't believe anymore. The 7th floor could absolutely care less about their officer's and their people. If they did they would come out publicly and challenge the wrongs that are being said, challenge the city council, challenge the 'mayor' and essentially publicly back their officers. I, we, haven't heard a peep out of these people. I see it everyday around here and it's sickening to watch a once great department whittled down to a shell. Bitter? Maybe, but mostly I'm just disgusted."

The comments by this detective are reflective of what I have heard for the past several years from officers and supervisors alike. These sentiments seem to be getting stronger and deeper in the organization and have created a cadre of employees whose mantra seems to be "fuck-it; who cares." The ability to keep a happy face; positive attitude; and not allow reality to get in the way of the cheering from above has all but come to an end. People are fed up with the politics of smoke and mirrors and listening to a mayor and chief tell the public crime is down and all is well. They are tired of being made to feel as if they are the reason for the ills of the city and the constant haranguing in the press with no support from the leaders of this department. Loyalty is not a one way street and it appears many have reached the end of the pavement and are no longer willing to travel the bumpy road ahead.

The title of this rant is "You are going to be the BAD GUY" for a reason. The views in this rant are mine alone and developed while standing on the sidewalk, watching the masses chase the carrot of hope. As negotiations begin with the city, the tables have been set and cards dealt from a stacked deck long ago. Facing a deficit of $179 to $200 million dollars will require reductions across the board. The mayor is telling the chief; who is telling employees; the deficit will be less than expected because the stock market has rebounded. I will concede the stock market has made some upward movement. The cuts are going to be deep and to say otherwise is not facing reality. As with everything the mayor has done during his years in office; it is all in how it is presented.

The reductions necessary to close the deficit will require, as I said above, wage and benefit cuts and the elimination of employees. The catch will be how many employees need to be eliminated to meet the demands of the mayor to close the deficit. Where we become the "BAD GUY" is the "either / or" public demands the mayor will employ as negotiations stall. The mayor will publicly demand these wage and benefit cuts, "OR" he will have to lay off a large number of officers. So, you and I become the "BAD GUY" if we say NO. But before that happens, you can count on a heavy campaign, at the mayor's direction, from the 7th floor for all of us to accept the wage and benefit cuts so the department does not lose another officer.

The carrot is being dangled in front of those who want to promote. The carrot is already being held in front of those who took Saturday's promotional exams. The sixty or so sergeants who took the lieutenants test will all be competing for maybe 2 or 3 spots? The carrot is the promotion; the fact it will always be held just out of reach will not matter to those who hold out hope for a small bite. The one hundred and fifty or so who took the sergeant's test will chase the same carrot. That carrot keeps over 200 employees volunteering for special assignments and doing more for less in hopes of getting hold of that cherished carrot. The sad part; all this is a complete and total waste of money, to keep people "hoping" they will be the one who gets the carrot.

The next five years will see exponential increases in crime; officer injuries; civil lawsuits against officers and the city; officers facing bankruptcy and foreclosures; and citizen complaints. The department will struggle to hire and retain officers and we will be made the "BAD GUY."



Anonymous said...

You hit so many topics and right on target. At one time I was gung ho about promoting through the ranks but no more. I have no trust in the 7th floor or most of the upper administration and do not want to be seen as part of that culture. I am a sergeant but was told by a now retired LT that I would never make LT because I am not enough of a "yes" man for this chief.

SDPD Detective said...

Where have you been Steve? You again hit the nail on the head yet again!!!

The 7th floor is all about politics and keeping their jobs at any cost. Lansdowne is all about him and will do whatever he has too, to keep the mayor happy and make it to the vesting point for a retirement.

The spineless group on the 7th floor refuse to support us and think we are all idiots as they spew the same old BS of all is well and things are getting better.

Lansdowne is at AOT again telling people there will be no wage cuts and things are looking up. His canned garbage has gotten as old as he is. He is a joke and has ZERO credibility.

I laugh at the idiots chasing that carrot. If they could only see how stupid they all look.

SDPD 28 Year Vet said...

I have a few things to say:

I am a 28 year SDPD veteran. The current working conditions are the worst I have ever seen. The morale is the worst I have ever seen. And furthermore, the support from the 7th Floor is nowhere to be found, which is despicable. I am truly disgusted with the mismanagement of this public safety organization by its so called leaders.

SDPD is lacking in ethical and strong leadership. In my opinion, Chief Lansdowne is a tyrant. The assistant chiefs fall in line, and are there to kiss his ass at 5:30 AM each and every day. Now they have Bob Kanaski and Shelly Zimmerman on the City Negotiations Team to represent management for the continued screw job. Both are so out of touch with our world on the streets.

I am so disappointed in the SDPD as a public safety provider. A once great organization is now crumbling and no one is stepping up to defend the people behind the badge. There is no leadership. By reading the Blog comments left by others, I see I am not alone in my assessment of the organization and lack of leadership.

SDPD is dysfunctional. The supervisors, managers and leaders are cosmetic. The promotions of today are not based on merit. The “short list” is put together after much discussion on who will not necessarily do the right thing, but who will tow the company line both in public and private. Promotions go to those who swear allegiance to the Chief.

Proactive law enforcement within SDPD is a thing of the past. Gone are most proactive units. Remaining proactive units have been gutted. Specialized reactive units have been gutted as well. SDPD shifts around personnel in a “smoke and mirrors” staffing game. This is dangerous and deceitful. Hiring is at a standstill. Did I mention that SDPD is a dysfunctional organization?

With this downsizing come reduced services to the public. The public in general is blind to what is occurring within SDPD. They are naive and blind to the crumbling public safety element of the SDPD. The only time a citizen takes notice is when they are a victim of a crime. Unfortunately, some citizens accept the poor service provided by SDPD because they do not know better. A week to have a report taken! That is disgusting. Calls for service are up. Violent crime is all around. Cross border violence is alive and well in the City of San Diego.

I hear chilling stories from and ICE Agent friend. All the public hears from our Chief and our Mayor is that crime is down. I say BS to that, but they do not listen to me. So therefore, the citizens have a false sense of security, and really don’t care about the public safety employees. The mayor has lead a successful campaign to demonize up. It was the City management who devised the various under funding schemes, but we now take the hit, and the uninformed citizens don’t bother to research and check facts on their own.

In summary, Steve you are once again 100% in your blog posting. It will get worse, and eventually the citizens will come to realize they are not receiving the public safety services they deserve.

This situation is so unfortunate for all the hard working cops, as well as the good citizens who deserve better!

We are going to be the bad guys.

Stone Temple Pilot said...

Well said Steve. The lack of support from the chief and others has been pathetic to say the least. There is not one chief officer on this department who has what it takes to lead during this time. They all care more about themselves than any of us. They care more about appearance and politics than what is right. Not one of them is willing to stand up and tell the truth or confront the mayor and others who lay blame on us for the city's financial problems and tell the truth about crime and our ability to protect the people of this city.

EVERY person on the 7th floor today is a bobble head yes man. They all jump out of fear and got their seats by making sure the chief never heard any of the bad. What a joke they all are.

You again rattle the cages Steve and always seem to say what we are all thinks, saying and grumbling about. Thank You.

Fed Up Like You said...

WOW - - 100% RIGHT ON

You have some stones Sparky. I will guess you are not getting an invite from any of the chiefs for holiday dinner.

You continue to hit home runs with this BLOG. There are many of us who search every day for your new words and comments.

Keep them coming.

Anonymous said...

I for one will NOT agree to another pay cut or any cut for that matter. Enough is enough!!!

If the mayor thinks he can make us out to be the bad guy he has another thing coming. I am not an activist and seldom get involved in politics or any of that. I have had it.

Your points about the chiefs and the lack of support and leadership is something that has become so glaring it is impossible to ignore anymore. You were too kind in the way you wrote about this issue. Landsowne is a total and complete failure at this point. I was one of those who very much welcomed his style when he first arrived. It has become clear over time he is a tyrant, egotist who rules by fear and surrounds himself with nothing but yes people. The chiefs have become a joke to the troops and with the exception of a few lieutenants and captains everyone else sees the lack of support and true leadership needed today.

The streets are unsafe and the "enthusiastic" new officers are scary. I am counting the days until I can get into the DROP (under a year now) and will be gone as soon as possible.

Billy Bob Henry said...

Well it seems the chickens have come home to roost.

All your bitching and whining will do nothing but prove to the taxpayers you're are overpaid crybabies.

With a $200M shortfall, you trough feeders will soon be earning what GED uneducated dolts ought to be paid.

You only have yourselves to blame...that gold plated cadillac pension program has bankrupted the city. Retiring at age 50 is not sustainable and being gifts of more than you supposed earned for retirement is just another example of government workers sucking the life out of the those of us who have real jobs.

Anonymous said...

The detective you spoke about deserves a medal for having the stones to tell you the truth. And Steve you deserve a medal for posting it...

God bless you all...try and stay safe.

Anonymous said...

Hey Billy Bob get a life. Most people don't retire at 50, just because you can doesn't mean they do. The average age of a new hire is 28 so if they did retire at 50 they would make their retirement 66% of their highest one year salary. Without overtime. Not exactly gold plated.

Very few have GEDs and a large amount have college degrees. Many that don't have a degree got their education in the military, but I guess that is not good enough for you.

I will give up my retirement age of 50 if I can have the numerous raises that were passed over to obtain the industry standard for retirement age. You may want to look at NYPD, they can retire at 40 years old.

It is not the retirement benefits that are causing the budget issues. It is the consistent underfunding by the city. Who by the way lost a lawsuit because of it. And then Sanders got mad because the retirement system wouldn't let him underfund it again.

Our wonderful city is looking at spending a BILLION dollars on two buildings that do not bring in one cent of revenue. But they are too cheap to pay to keep employees around or fix roads. How dare they open a new library when they are going to lay off library employees.

In fact the city is trying to say they are spending one amount for the city hall but the developers own website already says the cost is $100 million more than the city tells us. Do you actually trust the mayor and city council when it comes to financial decisions?

Why won't the city do the financial study on the DROP program? Oh yeah because they know they will be wrong and see it is at the very least neutral. But then again the never follow the studies anyways unless it comes to getting more money in their own pocket.

As for the leadership of our city and department maybe we should chip in and donate the copies of the required reading material for the sergeant's exam. They sure aren't following the principles they want us to study.

Anonymous said...

Anybody heard ANYTHING from the 7-th floor??? ANYTHING at all??

............I didn't think so

sparky.sandiego said...

Hello Billy Bob Henry. Welcome to the real world. Your rants have not changed since your first. Your spewing of anger and lies is as old as the aged single malt I enjoy as I read your dribble.

There is little to be gained by pointing out how ignorant you are and how wrong your diatribes are. Your jealousy is as glaring as the sun on a freshly polished diamond. If you had only be capable of making it through the training to be a real police officer you too could enjoy the earned and vested benefits provided police officers.

You are welcome to post your silly, stale rants here anytime. You will find in short order your words will be ignored as most of us know who you are and consider the source.

Have a great Veterans Day as we approach the 11th hour here in San Diego on the 11th day of the 11th month.

Thank you to all who served and sacrificed for our freedom.

SD RETIRED said...

Hey Billy Bob Henry,

I will have you know I am very proud of my General Educational Development (GED) certificate, aka General Equivalency Diploma or General Education Diploma. I worked long and hard for it and after eight years of high-school I finally passed the darn test. I had a good time at football, wrestling, baseball and basketball though. I lettered in all of them and was the biggest guy on the team.

I took my GED certificate down to the City of San Diego and got me a government job. Now I got me a nice Cadillac pension. Yep, 20 years with the City and able to retire at 308% of my salary plus all that DROP money pouring in every month.

Yepper, I want to thank you. I drive around town in my 2010 Cadillac Escalade, smoking Cuban cigars down at the beach. Life is good for this ol GED boy. I still have my GED certificate. It’s framed in my office at my winter house in 4 S Ranch. I keep a copy on the dash of my 60 foot Class A motor home too, as a reminder of the American Dream and my success story.

God Bless America.

Anonymous said...

Billy Bob Herny wrote:

just another example of government workers sucking the life out of the those of us who have real jobs.

November 11, 2009 8:23 AM

And I say:

Hey Billy Boy,
What are you doing on the Internet at 8:23 AM if you have a real job? Shouldn't you be concentrating on your job? Getting ready for that 9 to 5 job? Hope you were not late for work.

Anonymous said...

A couple of clarifications (and it worriest me that these have to be made to a senior leader for the POA - seriously - get your team to pay for some municipal finance 101 for future offices as it would REALLY halp you go toe to toe with 202C Street). 1) Pension "smoothing" reduces the positive impact the market rebound will have. Moreover, it is LIKELY that the impact will not be fealt until FY 2012. So the chief is essentially speaking "happy talk" which isn't true. 2) You need to put in context for your readers how MUCH is on the table in the various non-public saftey programs. You can find that in EITHER the budget (or if you don't believe that document in the audited reports - which arguably are a better reflection of the "true" state of expenditures). Either way, putting $$$ on them will help your readers see what the true gap is and what would be required to keep the cuts from impacting SDPD