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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..

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.

 

 

December Update


The police union conducted its biennial election for union officers this past November. Many incumbents returned to office with three new Executive Board members: Matt Cassiere, Brian Laurie and Josh Malaro.
Outgoing EB members Joe Buzzelli, Deana Nott and John Michaud are applauded for their time and efforts. Like any organization ideas are great but execution makes them happen. It comes down to a core group of people that make the time and energy to ensure mission success, that core included our departing executive board members.

Local 724 along with our friends and associates once again conducted another very successful holiday food drive benefiting the United Way/Gemma E. Moran Food Bank. This year marked our 13th year with the second highest overall collection that brought in a record breaking 111 turkeys and an estimated 3,000 pounds of non perishable food, $325 cash donations to the food bank. We also plan to distribute an additional $600 from the food drive for our Holiday Adopt a Family program providing ShopRite supermarket gift cards.
Our many donors included visits from Mayor Mike Passero and former Mayor Daryl Finizio who was "happy to give us the bird" this year. It's nice that regardless of politics we can all come together to help our citizens in need. We thank the mayors and everyone else for their very generous support making our campaign a success.


After almost a year of waiting Local 724 members are proud to offer congratulations to Pete Reichard after he was formally chosen and sworn in as our newest Chief of Police. The process was long but the results were worth the wait. Rank and file officers are eager to formally begin a new chapter of this agency history and curious to see what the future holds.
Chief Reichard has demonstrated his ability to juggle meager budgets, politics, union issues and the many demands for police services required of an urban police agency. While we remain severely challenged with manpower, equipment and training there is a measureable tone of civility returned to the building. We wish future success to Chief Reichard, because his success benefits the agency and citizens alike.

CharlieIn the 1959 novel Flowers for Algernon character Charlie Gordon is a mentally retarded thirty-two-year-old man, chosen by a team of scientists to undergo an experimental surgery designed to boost his intelligence. Dr. Strauss asks Charlie to keep a journal. The entire narrative of Flowers for Algernon is composed of the “progress reports” that Charlie writes. In 2017, Charlie Gordon no longer blogs, instead he provides "reports" about others to his friend down the street but fails to reveal his own troubles yet to be discovered.


More good news to report, DPW carpenters are actively underway with long awaited renovations to our report room and shift commanders office. Both will undergo significant remodeling which we hope will not only improve working conditions but improve efficiency too.

Voters spoke this November with congratulations in order to our returning incumbent City Councilors. We also welcome newcomer Alma Nataratez and venerable war horse Marty Olsen back to another new term as Councilor. With the state budget mess resolved we hope city hall can begin to work on and implement a real plan to move the city forward with measurable results.
We extend our appreciation to outgoing councilors Martha Marx and Tracee Reiser for their public service and for especially supporting us with yea votes ratifying our new police contract. Thank you and good luck in your future endeavors.

The speculation if Nancy Wyman would not run for governor in 2018 came to a halt when she announced she would not run. After 40 years in government she chose to spend more time with family. Always friendly and available to Local 724 issues, we offer a heartfelt thank you, for her many years of service to the citizens of Connecticut. Good luck in your next chapter Nancy.
Wyman with the highest name recognition now out leaves a field of over 30 potential lesser known B list candidates when it comes to statewide name recognition vying for the job- all. That all changed when Hartford's 38-year-old mayor Luke Bronin announced he is seriously considering a run for the job. Funny two weeks earlier he claimed he had no interest in leaving Hartford.

Well that announcement brought out many Hartford Courant bloggers who had a much different opinion of Mr. Bronin. Take for example this one: "No more than two years at any job he's ever had, no accomplishments as Mayor of Hartford, a begging tour that went nowhere, no union concessions and running a city that Moody's has in junk bond status and the TV personality of a test pattern. How can he lose?"
It’s hard to imagine anything getting done in Washington these day. In fact while our Connecticut senators continue daily news releases of Never Trump Resistance Congressman Joe Courtney has been quietly but effectively representing the state and his district after successfully negotiating a huge new defense spending budget. The final defense bill that would boost the number of F-35’s requested by President Donald Trump from 70 to 90 , Sikorsky-made Black Hawk helicopters from 45 to 53. Besides boosting the number of F-35s — whose engines are made by Pratt & Whitney –and Black Hawks requested by the White House, the defense bill authorizes the construction of four ‘heavy lift” CH-53K helicopters.
Also $5.9 billion for the Virginia- class attack submarine program and authorizes the Navy to build three submarines a year in 2020, 2022 and 2023. Currently, the pace of Electric Boat’s production is two subs a year. It also authorizes $1.9 billion for Electric Boat to continue development and design work on the new Columbia-class sub happening right here in New London.
In mid November while waiting for a flight at Regan National Airport I had the chance to speak with and congratulate Joe on his great work securing this deal. Please remember his efforts on our behalf to help secure our nations defense industry and provide good paying jobs to Connecticut families next November when he runs for re-election.

As we begin to gather with family and friends this holiday season let us not forget the 118 officers killed in the line of duty in 2017 as of 11/28/17. We hold them up as heroes because that’s what they are. It takes a special kind of courage to be a peace officer and they gave the ultimate sacrifice keeping us safe. We are reminded of the words given by President George H.W. Bush dedicating the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial, "Carved on these walls is the story of America, of a continuing quest to preserve both democracy and decency, and to protect a national treasure that we call the American dream".


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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

4 Crippling Leadership Mistakes