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Local 724 Political News
Keep it right here for you latest Team 724 news and events.
Political Director Chuck Flynn will posting vital info to the campaign
and Team 724's next move..

February Update


A recent January article in The Day on our police staffing issues certainly did not sit well with police rank and file officers. Unfortunately some politicians like our mayor suffer from very selective memories when it suits them so let us remind our readers of his prior positions using his own words.
In 2014 then Council President Passero stated the city [Mayor Finizio] had a responsibility to make public safety a top priority in the budget." Then in 2015 Democratic mayoral candidate Michael Passero called for a "return of respect for public safety employees with plans to restore…staffing levels at the police department, calling a well-functioning police department a key to quality of life in the community".
Fast forward to 2018 Mayor Michael Passero now washes his hands of our shortage claiming "the issue comes back to the City Council. It’s the council that approved only enough money for 70 officers". When it comes to standing by his own immortalized words requiring minimum staffing ordinance of 80 officers his explanation is "the number 80 was a compromise… it was more important to get something into writing than to bicker over the precise number".
Well forget the guessing Mr. Mayor had you even bothered to look no further than the expert report requested and paid for by the city 10 years ago recognized law enforcement experts recommended 118 officers for NLPD. ( READ OSS REPORT )


The number of 69 officers is a misleading number. Once you take away command staff, supervisors, investigators and support services the actual number of patrol officers is 37. Now subtract injuries, training, days off, sick and vacation leave are added in that number drops off precipitously to cover the entire city 24/7.
To the doubters, many from outside the city who provide comments without slightest understanding of facts suggest more police officers don't solve more crimes. Remember famous words from former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts and political society wants things simple but what is not discussed, will not be advanced.
We say more police means timely responses to calls for service. more pro-activity allowing us to focus on quality of life issues which has been proven to reduce other crimes, in particular street crimes of opportunity like- car breaks, daytime burglaries, robberies street corner drug dealing and pan handling to name a few.
A recent example is our Vice and Narcotics Unit added another investigator to the unit a few months back with a dramatic uptick in unit activity. Not only increased on site street level drug dealing arrests but significant activity with larger complex investigations utilizing search and seizure warrants resulting in impressive seizures of drugs, money and guns and multiple arrests.

Properly staffed police agencies can and do provide a full range of police services which allows us to be responsive to more community policing concerns. For those non believers we suggest you drive around the city with your eyes wide open and tell us how clean, inviting and attractive the city is right now and explain to us why any new business, developers or residents would want to move here. A sentiment echoed in a recent David Collins article on the state of downtown.
Borrowing a quote "The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity." Maybe we have arrived at that moment, after a several recent and brutally honest discussions with police administration and City Hall involving very early stages of coordinating a plan to increase staffing in the next fiscal year to add patrol officers another detective and Deputy Chief.

Funding will be contingent on collaboration with Councilors for their approvals in upcoming budget workshops, but we came away believing this may, might, could be, the start of a new opportunity for the police department. One of the plans calls for certifying a new batch of promotional lists for Detective, Sergeant and Lieutenant in place by early spring which is not only welcomed but timely if we are to increase staffing.

As Connecticut remains in a polarizing quagmire of high unemployment, huge debt, crumbling infrastructure and a population fleeing the state our lame duck Governor Malloy tries to remain relevant joining our Sesame Street twins, Bert (Richard Blumenthal) and Ernie (Chris Murphy) as always reliable with their Democrat National Committee puppeteers to parrot the latest Never Trump rants while Congress and our own General Assembly proves inept to solve any problems in front of them except to kick it down the road.
We hope all Connecticut voters remember how our self absorbed Senatorial twins and darlings of the progressive left turned their back on every American citizen and our military not once but twice in a week's time by not only voting to shut down the government choosing instead to support illegal immigrants but a second time when they voted no to end the government shutdown. Elections have consequences especially Murphy who faces 2018 re-election.

Meanwhile the list of hopeful candidates for governor is growing by the day, each believing they have what it takes to fix this mess but none to date offering any meaningful solutions. Currently none of the Republican hopefuls have statewide voter name recognition and face a tremendous uphill challenge.
There is one exception though, 30-year-old New Britain Mayor Erin Stuart in her third term, who appears ready to jump into the race. A self-described fiscal conservative who is moderate-to-liberal on social issues, she wins consistently in a city where Democrats dominate the voter registration rolls, and for the past two election cycles, she has won endorsement from municipal unions could pose a serious challenge to the status quo.

As for the Democrats there are three names that stand out: former Secretary of State Susan Bycewicz, current Hartford mayor Luke Bronin and Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont each capable of raising big campaign money and each offer their own version of reshuffled deck of progressive politics that differs little from Dan Malloy in substance.
Recall if you will Malloy stated in 2010 and again in 2014 he and he alone would turn the Connecticut economy around. Well he was right , he single handedly tanked it. He asked for and got a $2.6 billion tax increase in 2011 only to burn threw it like am inept lottery winner. Then in April 2017 with the state economy and especially struggling cities on life support - except for his hometown of Stamford - he was bold enough to echo this myopic claim, "I know that Connecticut must continue to change and grow and strive for a more perfect tomorrow".

Malloy's record of failures (killed off Route 11, emptied the transportation fund, soaring energy costs, 95 and mass transit a mess while state infrastructure crumbles) all broken promises resulting in a high disapproval and failed policies – all the while raising taxes, increasing regulations, misleading voters not to mention driving away business and jobs represents the worst of our governors. Hey Dan how about do no more harm and quietly go away!
To be clear this is not personal but business, Dan Malloy is a personable guy that we whole heartedly supported and endorsed twice because he supported unions, hard working middle class families and upheld collective bargaining rights. While challenger Tom Foley made clear his first order of business was to blame all the state's problems on union employees and go after our public sector jobs and hard fought contracts. But that was then, this is now and new blood is needed.
Oh then there is one Independent candidate, Oz Griebel the former Executive Director of the Hartford Alliance (greater Hartford region chamber of commerce). A personable businessman with plenty of optimism but short on cash who at best plays a spoils position in voter tallies. I'm sure if he can survive to Election Day and sway some votes he will be rewarded by the victor with a plumb job. But a day in politics can be a lifetime allowing plenty of time for twists and turns along the way.

 

 

January Update


WELCOME HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018: New Year is the time, when we all want to start on a good note. It is the time when you want to wish each other that the coming year is filled with happiness, joys and loads of success. New year is a symbol of positivity. By welcoming the new year on a positive note, it is important that we let go of all the negativities accumulated in the year gone by. Just like with the sun rise every day a new day begins with the new year people associate a new chapter in life to begin. It is important we start afresh and welcome the new year. The new year brings with it, its own set of aspirations, hope and desires. We wish all of you a healthy and prosperous new year.

High profile violent crimes in late 2017 stole the headlines leaving city officials "disappointed" and the public scratching their head finding answers to explain what's happening and what can be done about it to prevent any further harm to the city's already tarnished reputation.
The Day's arm chair general bloggers too have weighed in too offering opinions ranging from of more police coverage but no new police, increase walking patrols with less cruiser patrols more community based policing, eliminating tax exempt entities, seek more contributions from suburbs for social services, crack down on the homeless industry and stricter compliance for problem landlord properties. Once the posturing and bloviating is over, fact is none of those ideas will adopted.

Our perspective is our men and women are exhausted by the amount of work and calls for services, every shift, every day with not enough staff. We are too short staffed and busy answering calls to simply walk around neighborhoods. To put more cops on the street today means forced overtime. Many of our officers don’t want to work another shift unless ordered in because our work load has a human cost on officer's quality of life at home. Any piece of equipment is destined to fail, if you place high demands on it, it only breaks quicker shortening it's useful life. Readers have no idea how much personnel and labor man hours are required to investigate one homicide let alone three in one weeks time. Our officers are burning out from too few officers and too many calls.
Community based policing is labor intensive and expensive. It means the patrol cop is to be a municipal ombudsman -- a conduit for the services of other city agencies and a catalyst for community self-help efforts. Problem is it can only work when all city departments have the ability to collaborate and provide services to requested neighborhoods.
Fact is New London city agencies have little or no staffing available just to provide the most basic of municipal services and rarely, if ever are they timely to any police request for services. The police can talk all day long and pass along community concerns but if requested services are not handled timely or neglected the cop is nothing more than information booth with the community quickly loosing trust in any further dialogue since it comes across as cheap talk just for the sake of talk.

This Union has consistently repeated for several years with many city leaders, councilors and the public at large - we simply need more cops. In 2009 it was not uncommon to have 12-17 officers on the street most shifts, today that number is five every shift sometimes only four- that’s for the entire city. Our men and women are commended for their hard work and perseverance with the number of arrests being made not only in major crimes but many other crimes that often don't make headlines.
Just this past month Detectives captured a serial rapist, closed out two murders with swift arrests and working diligently to bring to justice a suspect in another murder case. Our Vice Investigators along with DEA and State Police wrapped up a major heroin trafficking case resulting in multiple arrests while our patrol officers continue to excel with quick arrests for many street crimes not to mention conducting critical first responder investigations in many of these recent major crimes.
Yet all too often many of these suspects are found to have extensive criminal records and out of jail due to the political will of Hartford leaders and reluctance of Connecticut courts to demand real jail time to be served. It appears nobody is a criminal anymore just "regular people with big hearts about to change their life around" who repeatedly get caught making a "bad decision". Judges seem to have a preference to dole out suspended jail sentences or in lieu of time served sentences with a sprinkling of probation that proves time and again rarely works. Just think for a moment how many new victims of crime were perpetuated by criminals out on the streets due to early release programs from full sentences, on parole, probation or released on bail for pending crimes.
The hopes these high profile cases shall quickly pass will do nothing to stop the onslaught of daily domestic violence, robberies, assaults, larcenies, drug overdoses and crisis intervention calls our cops respond to that are leading to personnel burnout. It’s just a matter of time before the next exodus of our officers leave for other agencies offering better working conditions. Believe us when we say those conversations are being whispered again in our hallways. Or choose to do nothing and wonder what happened once the exodus starts.

Offering calming reassurances everything is ok and pointing to a 5.9% drop in FBI crime stats as proof does nothing to improve the city's image - remember we still lost 1/3 of the police officer staffing that have never been replaced. Recorded crime has fallen, but we are dealing with unprecedented demands. Downtown has become a ghost town chock full of drunks, drug addicts and homeless vagrants scaring away just about everybody else. The latest downtown businesses to give up and close are the Seehund Restaurant, The Bistro on Bank and the downsizing and consolidation of Monica's State Street Diner. Not to worry though did we mention city crime is down 5.9%?
So just how busy are we? New London with just 68 police officers averages 75,000 calls for service a year. According to CT Department of Public Safety statistics New London receives 25,000 911 calls annually. Connecticut cities with similar 911 call volume include: Bristol, Greenwich, Hamden, Manchester, Meriden, Norwich, Stratford and West Haven yet all those agencies have a mean number of 116 officers each. So have all these other agencies got staffing numbers wrong just enjoying taxpayer largess or is there a problem in New London with police department staffing?
Some readers may recall eight years ago when we had 96 officers, but many are not aware or may have forgotten in 2007 when the city hired OSS Law Enforcement Advisors ( READ OSS REPORT ) from Texas to conduct an independent assessment of police department operations and recommended 11 years ago NLPD have 118 officers due to high call volume, severity of cases, times consumed on calls and agency shift relief. Since then we lost 35% of sworn staff and have only become busier. So if anyone cares to listen, yea… we're real busy and we're really tired.
So if anyone is paying attention the common thread repeated in all this is - we don't have enough cops. Each shift has our people plugging their fingers in the crumbling dike we call New London and hopes the dyke won't fail during our shift.
While we all standby for to multi jurisdictional city department heads deconstructing this spike in recent violence most if not all of those participants work Monday thru Friday 8:30-4:30 leaving only the police to once again do all the heavy lifting, with the same five cops per shift for the entire city. Maybe the answer is simply hire more firemen, because we never seem to have enough and don't need to convene a panel experts to deconstruct that request.

Abba Eban was an Israeli diplomat, politician and author credited with some famous quotes that could fit New London's past 50 year history. Eban said "History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives" and "[they] never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity". It is our hope with the beginning of a new year New London finally finds the opportunity to reinvigorate itself with wise decisions for economic growth and prosperity.

Some good New London news to begin 2018 with when Standard & Poor's credit rating agency upgraded the city’s bond rating to A+, a sign of fiscal stability. S&P classifies all debt-issuing entities they review according to the following scale: AAA, AA+, AA, and AA- (Very High Capacity to Repay Loans) with low chance of defaulting. S&P provides an AAA rating to any borrower that has an extremely high capacity to repay its debt. hey are considered to have a very low chance of defaulting. A+, A, and A- (Strong Capacity to Repay Loans) are financially stable under current economic conditions. BBB+, BBB, and BBB- (Adequate Capacity to Repay Loans) the ability to repay is less assured and more vulnerable to changing economic conditions than the previous ratings these are the lowest investment grade bond ratings S&P assigns.

On the other hand many of the city's, middle and upper middle class residents south of the hospital are the highest taxpayers are feeling trapped with high taxes, users of little or no city services and stuck with houses nobody wants even at fire sale prices as more landlords subdivide housing stock catering to Section 8 recipients, sober/halfway house clients or homeless that have brazenly flooded the city straining city resources. In fact a recent Day story was critical of so many closed, empty downtown store fronts and increased blight.
The New York Times described New London as "being on a roller coaster looping through episodes of colorful municipal politics and flashes of optimism for a revival before returning to chronic economic distress". So in the end the health of the city depends on which rose colored glasses you are using.

We want to take this moment to extend our thanks and appreciation to DPW for recently renovating our report room. George Frankawitz, Bill Barlow and Donny Yourk for their hard work and extraordinary efforts polishing up this turd of a building are greatly appreciative of their herculean efforts.

With the 2018 race for governor growing daily with an ever expanding list of contenders, the Republicans recently held a forum in Windsor attracting seven candidates who broadly outlined their interests with predictable turnoffs — unfunded pension and retiree health liabilities, wasteful spending, excessive regulation and career politicians.
Why must every Republican playbook require them to cut wage and benefits for public employees to get elected? We are hard working middle class families that pay our fair share of taxes and overwhelmingly turn out on election day. If they want our votes in 2018 they better come up with better ideas than simply attacking our hard fought and fairly bargained wages and benefits.
One point of interest came from former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst volunteered that if elected governor he would ask the General Assembly to reinstate capital punishment and end the release of inmates before completion of sentence. Now there is an idea worth taking a looking at.
While Dan Malloy and former criminal justice sidekick Mike Lawlor are quick to crow what a better place Connecticut is now by how many prisoners they released, prisons they closed and umpteen second chances they doled out to career offenders with meaningless probation sentences citing statistics that show crime is down.
We're confident the families of these recent homicide victims as well as other crime victims don't share Malloy's rosy outlook on his criminal justice reforms. In the words of Ronald Regan, "We must reject the idea that every time a law is broken society is guilty rather than the law breaker. It's time to restore the American precept that each individual is responsible for his actions"

Representative Chris Soto accepted our invitation to speak at our December meeting. He provided a frank perspective on some legislation he co-sponsored last term and what he learned throughout the process that illustrated the many sides of an issue that come to light that may have not been known when an initial bill was offered.
Our position is and remains we must have a seat at the table when it comes to political discussions affecting our members because if labor doesn't have a seat it's because we are probably on the menu. Soto welcomed our input on future bills that may have an impact on our members. We look forward to those talks.
Representative Soto certainly realizes New London is a distressed municipality but we provided a firsthand day to day perspective of what it's like to be severely short staffed, using failing equipment and a budget that demands daily sacrifices. Further that any up front grants to entice program participation that becomes an unfunded mandate will become a yearly budget gremlin forcing us to cut personnel to continue funding, a choice we can't make.
Since New London doesn't have the ability to self sustain a budget of their own and the state payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) program has never worked as intended since its inception, he favors legislation that would require some if not all tax exempt city entities to pay some kind of pro-rated tax or service fees to assist New London. We simply can't continue the path were on and welcomed his ideas to allow everyone to pay some type of fair taxes for future sustainability. Thanks for Chris making time for us with your busy schedule.

 

 


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Why Political Action

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.

   

Local 724 gets recognized on the national level!

On January 28, 2011 at the Council 4 Campaign for the Middle Class Seminar in Meriden The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO thanked the New London Police Union- Local 724 for their efforts in the Labor 2010 campaign.

Lee Saunders, International Secretary-Treasurer and AFSCME Council 4's Sal Luciano who is also an International Vice President honored Local 724 with a certificate "In recognition of their tireless work and commitment during the 2010 State of Connecticut general elections". To this day labor leaders throughout the state continue to praise our Malloy/Wyman Pre-Debate Rally as a new benchmark of what local labor can achieve when committed to a goal.

Chuck Flynn was honored to accept the award on behalf of our entire membership which will hang proudly in the 724 "Hall of Justice". I want to personally thank everyone that participated in some way no matter how big or small. Our election success was due to the collective efforts of our TEAM-Together Everyone Accomplishes More.

 


724 helps East Lyme fight the cause

Why Political Action


Shooting from the lip
Political Director C Flynn

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