724 Political News
Mayor Finizio claims drop in NLPD police manpower is consistent
with his data driven statistics based on reported crimes. Well here is
how Neighborhood Scout describes the crime problems in New London and
then ask yourself do you feel safer with less cops on the street thanks
to the Mayor and Police Chief Ackley. Let the Mayor know how you feel,
call his office 860-447-5201 860-447-5201 or email him: email@example.com
Guest Blogger - Ben Burbank
New London is fast becoming a place where anything goes, but that no one goes to. And why is that? The thin blue line that protects the public has become crippled. Stretched thin and broken.
With record numbers of officers leaving to go, not to a different line of work, but to different departments, there is less and less protecting the city. Officers are fed up with the direction of the department, and the way they are treated. Morale is broken because if someone makes a suggestion to improve the working environment, the opposite is done making it worse than it was. And as for the officers that remain, they are asked to do more and more, and at the same time give back what they have worked so hard to achieve.
The question the public should be asking is what can be done to keep these officers in New London? How could New London afford 91 officers in 2011, but in 2012 and 2013 threaten layoffs even as officers leave the department as if it is a plague leaving the department with 70 officers, but with even more waiting to have their ticket punched to get off the train wreck that is NLPD.
How can New London afford 91 officers one year, raise taxes the next and then say they can't afford 70 officers. Where is the money going? More importantly, who is going to protect this city when no one is left. Seems like the chief will be out on patrol herself if nothing is done soon.
Vegas is a city where anything goes, and that people go to. And why is that? They feel safe. Something the public does not feel when they are in New London. That is the difference between a city that thrives, and a city that dies.
If money is not put in to fund important city services, like properly funding the police department to make it functional again, then this city is doomed to become the New Camden of New England. I think this picture sums upon the city perfectly, recently the donator plaque was stolen from a park bench. Even things that are nailed down in this city aren't safe from the miscreants that walk the streets. What keeps you safe? The answer...not much, and soon to be even less.
Attendees this year's National Police Week in Washington, DC on May 15th included NLPD Officers Chris Bunkley Dave Ferland and Kyle Lamontagne (now with New Britain PD). The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial added the names of 321 police officers who were killed in the line of duty on 2012. We pause to remember those Officers who made the ultimate sacrifice and honor their service as we thank them for their selfless acts protecting fellow citizens. May all our brothers and sisters who answered their last call in 2012 rest in eternal peace.
Congratulations to Vice Officers Neil Rodgers and Brian Laurie on being selected New London Elks Club NLPD Officers of the Year. Both are dedicated street cops who have enjoyed much success due to their hard work with complex narcotics and firearms investigations that have led to many significant arrests. Job Well Done!
Local 724's annual TCI America telephone fundraiser is winding down soon and we are grateful for the generous support from our SECT citizens and business neighbors. Because of the fundraiser success, we in turn are able to provide support to many civic and charitable events in and around New London . On behalf of all our members Local 724 executive board extends our heartfelt thanks for your continued support. For those readers who haven't been called and wish to show your support you can send your check payable to New London Police Union, PO Box 135, New London, CT. 06360
Our members are frustrated doing more with less every day on the street for the past several years especially upon learning the Chief has given back over $4 million police budget dollars since 2009 . Now we are doing less with less and working as hard if not harder than we ever have. It's only gotten more difficult with call volume up, severity of cases up with the number of personnel available and overtime drastically reduced. Our job has gotten harder while our benefits and wages have not been enhanced to compensate us for a more difficult job causing many of our younger officers to seek law enforcement opportunities in other agencies, especially with annual threats of layoffs.
Then City Council voted to pass this year's budget and failed to properly fund the police department. The budget numbers postpones police officer layoffs six months until January 2014 which only exacerbates an already difficult situation so we ask the question: Which 911 calls shall we put on hold because of no cops to send? Make no mistake these layoffs will delay calls for police services. In light of the recent Boston Marathon terrorist bombings, our city leaders should be asking how can we possibly keep our citizens and visitors safe on a busy and crowded Sailefest weekend with such critically low police staffing.
The members of this union are troubled that several City Councilors who sought for and received our labor union endorsement and support when they ran for office in 2011 then failed to uphold their pledge to support our concerns when they voted with the Mayor and against our police officers supporting a budget that requires layoffs. We publicly say "thank you" to Councilors John Maynard, Marie McSparran and Adam Sprecace for their hard work and efforts to stand with the police officers. These budget issues combined with the toxic malaise of poor morale in a broken police department have resulted in another nine young and experienced police officers to seek lateral transfers to other police agencies as soon as possible. This mess is just another chapter of the ongoing modern New London story of shattered hopes, broken promises and broken dreams. Should these nine leave it will boost the number of officers who have left the department to 36 since June 2009. Anyone else see a problem here?
Lastly, Local 724 in February filed a formal Freedom of Information complaint
against the New London Board of Ethics (BOE) that is pending in Hartford.
A total of three complaints were made, two regarding BOE's file keeping
of minutes, agendas, notice of meetings, storage and compliance with public
inspection rules which have since been rectified. The last complaint involves
our request of BOE official correspondence related to our two ethics complaints
filed against the police chief in 2012 and copies of emails where BOE
business was being conducted via personal email accounts. An Ombudsman
has been assigned to assist facilitate a remedy if possible without the
need for a formal hearing. A formal FOIA hearing date has yet to be determined.
Local 724 leadership had a busy month defending the rights of two of our members who were wrongly terminated.
The next elephant in the room is the city budget. In a city ranked 55th most dangerous in America one has to wonder what the mayor and city council were thinking when they agreed to significant police department budget cuts that will result in the layoffs of 20 cops when the agency is already short 15. Especially when these cuts are not being shared equally in other public safety departments
The mayor, a self proclaimed expert in all things law enforcement, has proposed new lighting and the posting no loitering signs as his solution to the city crime problem with a staff of 60 police officers when real law enforcement experts in 2006 recommended NLPD staffing of 118 police officers. The mayor was told these police layoffs will diminish the thin blue line allowing the criminal predators to prey on the rest of the city and the results of this staff reduction will be squarely on his back.
Union leadership has been actively seeking out other police agencies for our younger officers on the layoff bubble. We expect NLPD 10 officers gone to other PD's prior to July 1 to avoid being laid off. These are young. healthy, highly trained and experienced cops that the city invested a lot of time and money training will be lost forever.
The city fiscal mess has no meaningful plans in place to change course other than continued cuts to personnel, as if the city is cutting up furniture for firewood. Who knows, maybe the next round of budget cuts will eliminate police administration and allow NLPD to become the newest and largest Resident Trooper town in the history of the State Police.
Council votes have consequences, with municipal elections scheduled for
this fall union members will remember those officials who voted for and
who voted against these police layoffs.
Welcome to the City of New London where the circus comes
to town every April at budget time. The newest act has Mayor Finizio proposing
his FY 2013-14 municipal budget with demands cut $1.4 million from the
police budget by laying off police officers from an already decimated
police department. Some of you may recall in 2006 OSS Law Enforcement
Advisors recommended NLPD be increased to 118 police officers to properly
handle the calls for services. In 2009 we had an authorized strength of
96 officers. In 2011 after the mayors inauguration he promised to hire
six more police officers in his first year, that never happened. In 2013
we stand with just 80 officers with potentially 10 more about to be kicked
off the force July 1st leaving us with 70 officers, a 24% decrease in
sworn personnel and a 30% decrease in patrol division staffing.
In 2012 New London was ranked at the 87th most dangerous US city with
a population over 25,000 people by NeighborhoodScout.com. Their 2013 study
shows New London is now ranked 55th most dangerous. CityRating.com projected
New London 2013 crime stats about 10% lower than 2010 yet those new numbers
still represent violent crime 273% higher than the Connecticut average
while property crimes are 46% higher than Connecticut. Congratulations
The most frustrating point of all is that over the last decade the only fiscal remedy the city has utilized for each budget year shortfall has been layoffs, job eliminations, reduction in city services, deferred maintenance and capital expenditures. Once they find reduced numbers to adopt a new budget everybody forgets about it until the next budget season crisis hits and budget cutting starts all over again. These recurring fiscal issues have left the city in ruins with diminished staffing, crumbling infrastructure and poor delivery of essential city services. No long term strategy has been implemented to fix the problem then or now other than clicking their heels wishing for more state and federal aid programs to subsidize the annual budget. Another words the only strategy has been waiting for the government handout.
The proposed layoffs by this administration only exacerbates the city's very real crime problem with less police resulting in fewer arrests, more crime, criminals, delays in calls for services and further compromised officer safety. But don't take my word for it, Camden and Newark, NJ saw dramatic increases in violent crimes, especially gun related crimes, when police layoffs happened there in 2010. More crime or even the perception of more crime means the remaining business and residents fleeing the city that can and lost opportunities from potential investors and future development projects resulting in even less revenues. A primary function of any government is to protect its citizens, it appears New London fully intends to ignore that responsibility too.
This call for police layoffs according the Mayor is not political grandstanding to seek Union contract concessions from the yet to begin contract talks with our Police Union. That's a relief because our contract is already too thin with none of our members interested giving up their hard worn salary and benefits for another short term promise of no layoffs. Fortunately there are several fine police agencies who have already reached out to Local 724 union officials more than willing to accept our young, fully trained professional police officers with offers of better salary, benefits and working conditions than enjoyed in New London.
Should the city actually layoff these excellent and dedicated officers
who put their lives on the line each day protecting New London and its
citizens safe than the city shall endure the consequences of these actions.
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AND LAW ENFORCEMENT
Dennis J. Slocumb
Legislative Action Alert
FACTS ABOUT NEW LONDON CMERS
The recent disclosure of one city overtime earner has caught the attention of membership. The Police Chief once again exposed her hypocritical self. She has constantly nickel and dimed staff with cost cutting measures at the department from eliminating vacant positions, demanding union concessions, threatening 10 layoffs, reducing daily staffing levels, overtime deployment, fleet replacement and repairs, copier paper to latex gloves while she grossed $190,000 this fiscal year from an annual salary of $110,00. That number was achieved by the "secret deal" of April 2011 she inked with Denise Rose to convert "comp time" into bi weekly cash disbursements boosting her annual salary to increase her retirement salary. Comp time she authorized and monitored herself. Just another example of her do as I say not as I do ethics.
With the next election Ernie hopes to become House Majority Leader which will be good not only for New London but all of SE Connecticut. We look forward to his continued success and encourage all our members and readers of this column to please consider supporting Ernie Hewett. Make your individual campaign contribution in any amount from $5-$100 maximum to Hewett 2012 c/o 29 Colman Street New London CT. 06320-3558. Contributions must be accompanied by Contributor Certification Form for General Assembly Candidates (Form A) . Qualifying Contribution Certification Form for Candidates Participating in the Citizens' Election Program - General Assembly (Form A)
THE DECISIONS that a legislative body makes, whether it is a school board, city council, county board, state legislature, or the U.S. Congress, affect AFSCME members and their families in dramatic ways.
Elected officials vote on budgets that affect employee wages, benefits, working conditions and pensions. They vote on issues of particular concern to AFSCME members, like privatization, and they vote on broader issues of concern to all working families, such as health care reform and workers' compensation. That's why working people need to have allies among elected officials. And that's why working people need to work to elect these allies.
The Local 724 executive board has the collective responsibility to provide vision and direction for the local. It is up to the leadership team to look ahead, set goals and develop a plan to make strategic planning a critical element to having a strong union which can only come about when membership is informed, educated and active.
Unions can never hope to match the hundreds of millions of dollars big business pours into every election. But working people have superior numbers, so they can get out in the streets and work for candidates. And if members pool their cash, unions can help make sure that their endorsed candidates have enough funds to compete against business-backed opponents in the ever-more important media ad wars.
Through the political process we can be involved in setting important public policy. Through the political process public employees can elect representatives who are sensitive to maintaining vital public services and committed to dealing with workers fairly.
Local 724 accomplishes this through political action in conjunction with
the exercise of collective bargaining process, growth and community involvement
to produce a just and rewarding workplace.
Ernest Hewett of New London was honored with the Connecticut Police Chief's
Association Legislative Award in grateful recognition of his efforts to
enhance Law Enforcement in the State of Connecticut.
The ceremony was held on in Cromwell, Thursday, December 15 at CPCA/DOT Law Enforcement Summit. When accepting this award, Rep. Hewett mentioned the bill that he championed: the DNA upon arrest legislation which requires DNA samples to be collected from convicted felons after a subsequent arrest. Rep. Hewett emphasized that because of that bill, we will be able to put more people behind bars who committed serious crimes and who would have otherwise been free, and we will be able to exonerate those who are wrongfully convicted. Rep. Hewett dedicated the passage of this measure to Jayann Sepich whose daughter Katie Sepich was raped, murdered and her body set on fire in New Mexico. Her killer was arrested through the DNA collection. Ms. Sepich came to Connecticut to testify in favor of Rep. Hewett's bill.
Rep. Hewett also thanked the entire police community for their great work in keeping us safe; Rep. Hewett also recognized other lawmakers who were helpful in having this important piece of legislation enacted.
724 attends Democratic Town Committee annual election dinner.
Congressman Courtney press conference
This legislation would amend the Internal Revenue Code to add the case of a missing child to the list of exceptions allowing the release of IRS tax return information upon receiving a court order. As with any missing person case, every bit of information is crucial and this legislation has the ability to assist law enforcement a great deal
724 gets recognized on the national level!
Dan Malloy and Nancy Wyman visited New Londons Muddy Waters on Bank Street to say thank you for all those who helped make the election a success.
now considers employee healthcare benfits as taxable income. AFSCME was
able to secure an extension on this provision until 2018