It is hard for anyone to argue the need to cut costs and save money. The department was running a cellular telephone bill in the area of over $700 thousand annually. The goal is to reduce this bill to no more than $250 thousand annually. The telephones were in small part a handout facilitated by a project with Qualcomm. The PDA telephones were a project to get more PDA devices in the hands of working police officers to make their jobs more efficient.
Times have changed and we need to take several steps back in time. To a time when there were few cellular telephones and communications dispatchers relayed information for us. Remember pagers? Old school yes but better than nothing? Oops; I forgot, they are all gone also. What are we going to do? We surely won't be able to be as efficient as we were when we had a department cellular telephone in our pockets or on our belts. Have you tried lately to find a pay telephone? Good luck!
Now I am not going to try and make a case for the department providing a cellular telephone for very member. I'm not sure I could do that with a straight face and at the same time defend my logic. Heck, the doctors in Haiti are doing surgery without all the high tech instruments, machines and equipment they were use to before the earthquake. This is a pathetic comparison I know. But the point I am making is we were able to do the job before cellular telephones and we will be able to do it now. The sad part is there are many detectives out there who never did the job before cellular telephones and have come to rely on them for their primary source of communication with their office, informants, victims, witnesses, their supervisors, partners and allied agencies. We will re-adjust and simply go back to the old way of doing things; less efficiently and with less expediency. We will get the job done but the boss will have to wait until 10-19 to get updated information on incidents. This will not go over well. Do you have your own cellular telephone? Will you be willing to use it for department business? The old *51 number (I first put *56 oops) used for not being charged minutes for calls into the department is gone. I know there are some puzzled looks right now and people reading this asking what the hell "*51" is. Ask an old timer and he or she can explain it to you.
The plan as I understand it is to have "duty" cellular telephones for every division or unit to pass around. The phone will be used for call outs and department business. The times of every detective and supervisor having a telephone provided by the department is in the past. The department's goal of saving half a million dollars is admirable and understandable. The question in my mind is how much will this cost the department in the long run in terms of time and lost productivity? Time will tell.
Today I had a "Twitter Joust" with the little rube. Well, maybe better said; I challenged the little rube on four of his five "Pension Reforms" he is touting around town. The little rube uses Twitter more than all the other politicians in this City put together. He uses every medium he can to deliver his twisted and distorted messages. Left unchecked he will no doubt win over many unknowing voters.
Below is the exchange I had with the little rube today on Twitter. I would urge you all to sign up for Twitter and follow the various politicians and other so called "leaders" in San Diego so you can become educated and involved in what they are doing.
- carldemaio said; Pension Reform #1: Eliminate "terminal leave" -- did you know city employees earn pension credits on their vacation days after they retire? stevemac1956 said; your last is patently untrue. When on "Terminal Leave" ALL accruals STOP. Check your facts!!
- carldemaio said; Pension Reform #2: Eliminate Offsets: We pay more than $10M each year of "employee" contributions to pensions. Not vested. stevemac1956 said; Again you spin truth. "Offsets" were INLIEU of pay raises and cost city LESS money. Learn the history Carl
- carldemaio said; Pension reform #3. SPSP Waiver: Eliminate the city match to the "second" pension plan. We did this with MEA, need to do with others (No comment - not our fight)
- carldemaio said; Pension Reform #4. DROP Neutrality. City muni code require cost neutrality. Vested benefit has to conform. Let's implement now. stevemac1956 said; It is better than cost neutral. But mayor refuses to do study because he knows this. You should also
- carldemaio said; Pension Reform #5. Finish the job of reforming pensions for "new" hires. Electeds, public safety still have high pensions. stevemac1956 said; You need to know facts Carl. DC will cost city 35% more than current DB. Safety retirement is not the problem. Again FACT check
- carldemaio said; These 5 Pension Reforms can all legally be done -- no vesting problems. Only thing missing is candor/leadership. stevemac1956 said; The only thing missing are honest politicians who blame others for problems THEY created. YOU simply compound problems with lies
- carldemaio said; I'm appearing on KUSI Good Morning San Diego tomorrow at 7:30 am to talk pension reform