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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..

DECEMBER UPDATE


December has arrived! In the words of Dr. Seuss how did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?
Local 724 November elections resulted in some changes on the Executive Board, we welcomed newly elected members Max Bertsch and Luke Delgrosso. Both of them bring energy and new ideas to the board. We thank Brian Laurie and Rob Pickett for their service, both have previously served several intermittent terms over the years.
Over the last four years we have established and maintained a good working relationship with Chief Pete Reichart, CAO Steve Fields and Mayor Mike Passero. While we don't always agree on every issue there is a chemistry between labor and management that allows everyone to speak openly without spoiling our personal and professional friendships. The result is a focus on problem solving and moving forward. As 2019 comes to a close we can unequivocally say we enjoy a significantly better relationship that has led to much better morale throughout the building.

Thank you to the Chief and City Hall for committing 7 new police cruisers plus with the help of grant funding a new traffic enforcement car and support service vehicles. Additionally Chief Reichart is finalizing plans for long term plan programmed fleet replenishment. To become a reality the plan requires approvals from both finance department and city councilors. These new cruisers are desperately needed, rank and file look forward the new cars hitting the road soon.
On the horizon our current contract expires on June 30, 2020. Negotiations with the City are expected to start sometime after the new year.
Local 724's members, friends and associates conducted our annual and successful holiday food drive benefiting the United Way/Gemma E. Moran Food Bank of Southeastern Connecticut. 2019 marks our 14th year of involvement. The food drive is our biggest in size and duration annual civic event we participate in.
Our many donors were excited to "give us the bird" this year. Among the notables were Mayor Mike Passero, CAO Steve Fields, FDNL members. Special shout out to Eric Anderson from the Birdseye Café for his generous $100 cash donation. We collected 69 turkeys and an estimated 3,000 pounds of non perishable food and $610 cash donations that will purchase Shop Rite gift cards for our Holiday Adopt-a-Family program.
It's nice that in this season of giving so many diverse people regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds or political views all came together helping our fellow citizens in need. Thank you to everyone who stopped by for their very generous donations making our campaign a success
Hearty congratulations and appreciation to Dustin Adkins who once again took charge of the food drive, plus members Roger Baker, Brendan Benway, Todd Bergeson, Max Bertsch, Rusty Cavanaugh, Chuck Flynn, John Green, Eric Hulland, Zach Kelley, Joe Kondash, Ryan Linderson, Mike Liachenko, Todd Lynch, Wayne Neff, Deana Nott and ACO Tonia Kloiber. All are commended on a job well done. Ideas are great but without those members who selflessly give of their own time to help nothing is possible.
Next up is the FDNL/NLPD toy drive on Dec 6th Warterford Walmart 4:30-1000pm.

President Lynch has been busy with two big issues of late; the critical need to hire more police officers and the pending implementation of police body cameras.
In 2014 City Council passed an ordinance mandating 80 officers at the department. When the ordinance was implemented the understanding by city council was manpower increases would be done incrementally. Reality is more like sporadically and we have never come close to meeting that goal, as of this writing we have 67 officers. To reach that manpower goal the city would need about $1.2 million.
While councilors have approved some intermittent funding for new officers and several have been hired, we've been stymied by retirements and departures from the department that has kept our numbers dangerously low. Mayor Passero has assured us anticipated new hires this year could bring us to 75. We shall see.

The elephant in the room are twelve officers who are or soon will be retirement eligible this year. They include three of three captains, two of three lieutenants, three of twelve sergeants, two of six detectives and two master patrol officers representing almost 350 years combined police service. If they left on short notice agency command/supervisory staffing would be decimated and hard to replace.

The body camera program has been pushed by Chief Reichart in response to a few vocal councilors and community activists as the newest transparency panacea to improve all police interaction issues and cut down on frivolous lawsuits. No doubt audio/video can offer benefits to criminal and internal investigations. Yet in some cases people are disappointed that the quality of the audio and or video can be choppy with a myopic viewpoint not meeting their expectations since the captured video should look and sound like a professionally edited movie scene.
However, in a city perpetually challenged by funding the Union's biggest concern is and remains the associated program costs and yet to be determined unknown costs. This proposed four year program has an estimated $200,000 per year cost in new money for four years amounting to $800,000.
Furthermore the suggested numbers don't include officer training costs or the hiring of a minimum of at least one new full time employee to handle the anticipated swarm of Freedom of Information requests from court officials, defense and plaintiff attorneys, activists and public for obtaining and processing each request that comes with this program up and running which could cost another $100,000 or more per year which also has not been budgeted for. These and other yet to be determined costs are real money that would come from a police line item budget that hasn't even been created yet.
Our questions are simple and yet remains unanswered. If we don't have money now for necessary manpower, equipment or fleet upgrades, where did we suddenly find money for body cameras? If we already had the money why haven't we hired more officers? If councilors choose not to fund this multi-year obligation in successive budget years - which is more probable than not - it has to come from somewhere. Our biggest costs are personnel so we have justifiable reasons to fear layoffs of real cops will be required to feed these still to be determined body camera costs.
Norwich recently approved $300,000 in funding for their body cameras and cruiser cams. New London City Council Public Safety Committee Chairwoman Alma Nartatez, - who has never once met with police union leadership - stated, “My opinion is that we need to implement body cameras and follow the lead of Norwich…This means it needs to be added in the budget.”
New London councilors have a terrible history of inconsistent police budget funding each fiscal year that more often than not has been bare bones after their budget workshops, we rightly fear losing even more manpower going forward. Secondly, if our council wants to follow Norwich's lead they also have many more officers than we do - so let's hire more cops.
Lynch was quoted in a recent news article “They’re nice [body cameras] to have but not a necessity. A necessity is manpower, which we are drastically short on. We need bodies a body camera is not going to get to your home to save your life, lessen response time ... or prevent drug trafficking. This is done with manpower…. If the city finds $1 million, we would hope that money goes towards filling the 80-officer ordinance long before it goes towards body cameras" he said.
As we close out 2019 we want to thank the many people and businesses who took time out their days this past year to send kind notes, gifts and assorted food and treats during the year and especially around holiday times.
Throughout the past year, from touring classes of school children to moms and dads with young children stopping by the police department to hand us a gift of appreciation to the many area businesses who dropped off delicious food and treats throughout around the holidays including; Texas Roadhouse, Clarion Inn, SubVets Groton, Jeff Suntup from Bernie's Service and Cross Sound Ferry to name just a few. Their thoughtful kindness is appreciated especially in these difficult anti police times we now live in.

As 2019 come to the final turn this will be the last update until the new year. We take a moment to look back at our 2019 updates.

In January as Todd Lynch kept the Red Sox Nation safe in spring training we predicted no serious Democratic challengers to Mike Passero when Chris Soto accepted legislative affairs position with Governor Lamont allowing Anthony Nolan to become next state representative. February arrived as we congratulated Joe Pelchat as new sergeant and donated $300 to help Coast Guard members during government shutdown. During March Chief Reichart offered informal agency re-org proposal while the General Assembly sought 20% contribution increases to MERS retirement. April was annual city budget talks, again offering no new police vehicles for upcoming fiscal year while an Old Lyme developer hinted at huge downtown re-development idea. May we said goodbye to Scott Jones, Patty Kehler and Kristy Christina. June kept the SRO and Detectives very busy with the Board of Education investigations and warm weather brought a new swarm of homeless people from all points outside of New London.
In July we thought the new budget would get us to 74 officers-it didn't. With many members enjoying vacation President Lynch complained of no formal talks with the City or Chief to come up with workable re-org plan. August was another successful National Night Out at Ocean Beach and we welcomed rookies Mike Jarvis and Joe Hajj to the agency. September we said good bye to Kevin McBride and Larry Lee upon their retirement and K9 Zeke joined the department. Republican mayoral challenger Marty Olsen promised if elected, more police visibility but offered no funding or plans to increase staffing. During October Josh Malaro resigned for the private sector while DPW worked hard to complete the 23 month long renovation of the Shift Commanders office - it's still not done. November Matt Cassiere and Jeremy Zelinski were promoted to Sergeant while Justin Lawrie promoted to Detective.
We take a moment to reflect on our brother and sister officers who died in the line of duty and won't be with family and friends this holiday season. May they all rest in peace, we'll take the watch from here.

With greetings of peace and prosperity, we wish the very best to allour family, friends, supporters and associates of New London Police Union during this festive time. May you enjoy all the best now and throughout the coming year.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Season's Greetings from our family to yours.




 

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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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