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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..

AUGUST UPDATE

With the dog days of summer upon us many are taking well earned vacations including this writer on Island time, which prompted this update to be publish earlier than usual.


The Legislature is moving a glacial pace to bring a budget on line. The Democrats were instrumental in obtaining huge concessions from state labor unions who voted overwhelmingly to ratify a concession deal negotiated by the Malloy administration. The estimated savings could be as much as $1.57 billion this fiscal year and $24 billion over the next two decades. Concessions include: A three-year wage freeze and three furlough days for most workers; Higher health insurance co-payments and premiums; Increased worker contributions toward pensions and retirement health care; And a new hybrid pension/defined-contribution plan for future employees. The state would grant four years of layoff protection to bargaining units that ratify the wage freeze and furlough days. And it would extend the benefits contract, which covers all workers, for five years, pushing its expiration date to 2027.

The problem is the Republicans being led by Senator Len Fasano and House Minority Leader Themes Klarides refuse to allow for hike in sales tax or highway tolls to raise much needed revenues instead they not only want more employee concessions but want "structural changes" to collective bargaining. Meaning Republicans don't want to negotiate they want to legislate union collective bargaining rights, benefits and working conditions. Republicans want to solve all the state economic woes on the backs of middle class tax paying state and municipal workers. These workers aren't responsible for the state not properly funding the pension programs or throwing away money they didn't have at an ever expanding social services programs and shouldn't be punished for failures of past and present legislatures.

There remains a deep disconnect between Republican and Democratic leaders which seems to have little chance for improvement or a new budget anytime soon. But it should also be pointed out that both Klarides and Fasano are considering a run for Governor which means this is political posturing. What is a sure thing is organized labor gets out the votes on Election Day, if either one wants to punish workers with more concessions they will have many pissed off union workers making sure neither is elected.

Inside the Washington beltway our own US Senator Dick Blumenthal, politically isolated from the rest of the country due to the royal court type environment in DC has proposed sending half a billion of our taxpayer dollars to Ukraine to help their wounded soldiers. While certainly a nice gesture we, as a nation, simply can’t afford to be providing extra medical care for them, or anyone else for that matter, when we seemingly can’t even provide sufficient care for our own wounded veterans showing just how out of touch he is with his constituents.


Here in New London, the city called too tough to die by Murray "The Eye" Renshaw, cops continue to work without a contract that lapsed on June 30. The patch work schedule demands order in shifts just to have five officers to cover the entire city with a heavy work load on calls for service. The weekend of July 15 resulted 268 man hours of police overtime, many volunteered for the extra duty but six officers had to be ordered in for a double shift instead of being home to be with families when the dept ran out of volunteers to cover shifts.

Additionally Support Services lost three of our eight dispatchers having recently quit. While two new hires are still in early training phases and not on their own, the remaining five dispatchers must fill six slots 24/7. Such a demand on personnel not only jeopardizes dispatchers from excessive fatigue it potentially harms the public and fist responders. Just another daily SNAFU to deal with in the Whaling City.

To illustrate our dilemma, a recent evening shift had the usual only five cops working when a call for shots fired came in. As police arrived they found spent bullet casings and blood. They had a crime scene, an unknown injured victim and unknown armed suspect possibly still in the area. At the same time a domestic disturbance call of a man actively beating a woman in another part of the city and the fire department in another far corner of the city out with an unresponsive opioid overdose requesting police assistance. All requiring an immediate police response. That is what our job is like more often than not with grossly understaffed overworked officers.

As NLPD continues to struggle with several years of critical manpower issues having lost almost 33 patrol officers with no relief in sight the Board of Education advertises to immediately hire 76 new positions. While we won't dispute if the BOE needs those positions, our complaint is our concerns go unabated every fiscal year because Councilors are told monies must be spent on the children if there is to be improvement.
New London per pupil expenditures are $16,730 ranking in the top 16 statewide yet out of 180 high schools New London graduation rates average 74.1% which puts them in the bottom 15 in the state. That graduation number is bolstered higher by counting the STEM high school with a higher graduation rate than the high school.
How much is enough and what's too much when other city needs are continually ignored especially this year when this City Council went out of its way to award the BOE an additional $1 million from the city side of the budget.
Less cops means: fewer police on the street, protracted delay for routine calls, little to none pro active community based policing, more officer order ins (over 550 last year) more use of sick time (over 675 book offs last year) and more seriously injured cops (10 last year). Torn rotator cuffs, broken bones, lacerations and soft tissue injuries just to name a few
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Our agency continues to widen its mission expectations by a demanding public who remains clueless to our acute staffing shortages. These expectations for services have not been matched by an increase in personnel or resources, leaving us to question how we can accomplish these missions. Predictable and sufficient funding is necessary to meet this ability now and in the future. The issue is proportionality.

Could City Council have allowed BOE "only" 60 new hires this year and allowed us to hire sixteen new officers? The problem will be exacerbated with as many as 10 current officers eligible to retire in the next fiscal year. There is no back bench to pull from these are all front line officers. We know we can do more with new officers. This staffing problem has been ignored for at least the last 4 fiscal years due to either by willful negligence or a wanton disregard to our issues, you make the call.
While New London suffers with 8.5% unemployment, 40% population earning less than $35,000 per year and housing values have dropped 30% in the last 10 years there is some good news to report. Our homeless industry continues to expand as the Homeless Hospitality Czar Catherine Zall adds a major addition to her State Pier Road tax exempt command center.

Did we mention the shelter averages 58 calls a month for police/fire services at this location since January 1 of this year, which doesn't include their four other off-site homeless locations that also demands city services. To extrapolate the average monthly calls for service will be estimated 700 calls for the "Hospitality" Center this year, clearly not many hospitable clients there. To think Czar Zall has access to all those city emergency services 24/7/365 without paying even one thin dime in taxes. Isn't New London great?!
We are not opposed to offering a hand up to our less fortunate citizens in need. But from our first hand experience most of these homeless arrive from all corners of the state and beyond. Many from other cities and towns social services agencies that give them free bus ticket to New London. Because other cities have learned to solve their homeless problem for the cost of a bus ticket - to New London, since we accept anyone all the time.

We also have a "wet" shelter, meaning our city "clients" can be under the influence of alcohol or drugs as long as they are not in immediate need of medical attention and don't cause problems with others - it's ok! Is that why it was named Hospitality Center? Of course the negative results to this hospitality to us normal taxpayers are a lot of calls for emergency services and a downtown chock full of drifters and grifters causing a weary public suspicious of promised solutions that never seems to go away by the daily circus of quality of life issues throughout the city while waiting to bed down at the shelters each night.

With municipal elections just four months away, we are interested in what specific platforms candidates will take for the police department. Any ideas must include demonstrable plans to increase staffing to at least 80 officers to comply with City ordinance. The City agreed to implement two K9 teams in FY17-18 and additional two teams in 18-19.
We need critical infrastructure improvements at the PD and new cruisers. It's been over 10 years since OSS Consultants looked at PD operations. In that study they recommended 118 officers based on the number of calls for service and severity of crimes reported. Perhaps a new look from unbiased outside police executives is in order to see where we are and we need to be.

Speaking of SNAFU's - our old police cars are new again, as our newest cruisers from 2015 approach 60,000 miles and 300,000 hours running time. This unprecedented pace is leading to premature lifecycle failure. Since few if any new cruisers are on the horizon for the patrol division we have returned our vintage high mileage fleet of 2009-2011 Crown Victoria's to front line cars again.
These old war horses were meant to be replaced by the 2015 models. Our members fear catastrophic failure is a distinct possibility while on a high priority call since these old cars that have questionable repair histories suffering from New London deferred maintenance protocols to save money and no longer considered reliable by our officers.

The war on police continues with over 70 police officers killed since January 1, a 9% increase over 2016. Additionally over 50,000 police officers were assaulted in the US ranging from pushing them to shooting them and causing injuries. People now are more willing to engage the police in combat. Last year approximately 50,000 law enforcement officers were assaulted, that ran the gamut from pushing them to shooting them and causing disabling injuries.

Here in Connecticut a report by the Office of Legislative Research shows the number of assaults against police officers has averaged around 800 per year. (http://www.cga.ct.gov/2009/rpt/2009-R-0463.htm.) Approximately 28% of those cases resulted in outcome of guilty. On top of that Connecticut has one of the most lenient penalties for assaulting police compared to all New England and surrounding states. Ask any career criminal where they want to do their prison sentence, they all say Connecticut. Easy time and shorter sentences compared to New York , New Jersey or Massachusetts. We can thank Dan Malloy and former Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Mike Lawlor for the hard left turn soft on crime approach.

Meanwhile in Chicago as of July 22 there have been over 363 shooting homicides and 1703 people wounded including six police officers, all but 18 of the victims were black or brown. That number averages to 58 murders and 271 wounded per month. of the 2051 shootings to date- 18 of these shootings were police related resulting in six officers wounded, nine suspects killed and 9 wounded. At the same time Chicago Black Lives Matter proclaims they exist end state violence and criminalization of Black communities by deconstructing white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchy. Well that certainly sounds fashionably progressive. Just think how much more this movement could achieve if they focused on more obvious issues in their community such as: black unemployment, educational achievement, single motherhood, household income, poverty rates, black on black crime and drug abuse.

 

 

 

2017 SAILFEST WRAP UP

As our overworked New London officers continued to soldier on without a contract the most distressed city in the state needlessly spent an estimated $125,000 underwriting a drunken weekend party called Sailfest 40th weekend. Some of those expenses were for an estimated 1100 law enforcement man hours. New London Police utilized over 750 man hours while our mutual aid police agencies added another 425 hours. A big thanks to our mutual aid brother and sister officers!

That now gone forever money could have hired a new police officer, purchased badly needed new police cruisers, fixed broken police cell blocks, allowed for the promotions of needed detectives and sergeants and or fixed the many broken computer applications. Instead we have tired cops, foggy memories and a dirty downtown.

The crowds were bigger, bolder, drunker and rowdier this year with many fights Saturday night. The Bank Street fights started before the first shell even was launched. We applaud the Mayor for taking a stroll down Bank Street at 1230 am to see firsthand the underbelly of Sailfest after the fireworks crowds, Day reporters and event organizers have gone home and what type of crowds and behaviors remain behind for the exhausted police to deal with. Fortunately none of our personnel were hurt this year.

Reviews from social media comments ranged from the positive: "loved it as always , It was nice this year, Thanks to Foxwoods, and the city of New London for a great Saturday!!!" to the negative: "Too many people in a small space …If you want this event to continue with good cash flow then get rid of the punks Every year there are less and less vendors. ..Nothing really fun about it….Horrible event. Kids smoking pot everywhere and cops doing nothing about it. Everyone else blowing smoke in your face and dropping every profanity known to man. Young girls dresses like prostitutes and men all over them. Will never even think about doing that again. It has nothing to do with sailing…To many punks on l side looking for fights etc.sad.... bunch of stupid drunk people talking crap and starting fights…Crowd and traffic control afterward was non-existent. It was a free for all!.. After the fireworks were over walked the creepy dark state street to where our car was parked, can't figure out why new London wants to keep their streets unlit. Not a safe feeling being in downtown NL"

It reminds us of The Day's Rethink Sailfest story published on 7/13/06 which read in part, "New London needs to rethink seriously the Sailfest. There may not be an obvious answer to the problem of huge crowds on Saturday when there are fireworks, but it's clear that public safety personnel were overwhelmed and the potential for future serious injuries is evident.. Is the event worth the potential trouble?" We offer the suggestion since we are the majority underwriter of the event, make it like Hartford's Riverfest, a Saturday night only fireworks event with food vendors. No midway carnival rides and keep streets clear of bazaar vendors. If Sailfest organizers don't want a scaled back event then fully fund it themselves.

We want to offer a special thank you to Mayor Mike Passero and Chief Administrative Officer Steve Fields who came to the Police Department Saturday afternoon on their own time to cook for all the local and mutual aid police officers prior to fireworks assignments. Their efforts have not gone un-noticed and were greatly appreciated. Thanks are also in order for Chief Pete Reichard who set aside expense money to buy more than enough food for our troops. A shout out to our dispatchers and secretaries who made some fantastic meatballs, stuffed clams and assorted salads.


On Fireworks night Amtrak police mutual aid officers held their own roll call at their South Water Street Command Center where they honored the pending retirements of Sergeants Jim Moran and Bill Bessette for their dedication of over 60 years of combined police service. Both spent many years working in and around New London and are congratulated for a job well done.

It reminds us of Paul Harvey's explanation of police retirement: " When a good cop leaves the 'job' and retires to a better life, many are jealous, some are pleased and yet others, who may have already retired, wonder. We wonder if he knows what he is leaving behind, because we already know. We know, for example, that after a lifetime of camaraderie that few experience it will remain a longing for the past times. We know in the law enforcement life there is a fellowship which lasts long after the uniforms are hung up in the back of the closet. We know even if he throws them away, hey will be on him every step and breath that remains in his life. We also know how the very being of the man speaks of what he was and in his heart still is…So what we wish for both of you is that you ease into retirement, in your heart you never forget for one moment that 'Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be calls the children of God' and you are still a member of the greatest fraternity the world has ever known ".

With any big event brings out politics. With municipal elections on the horizon former councilors John Maynard and Marty Olsen have expressed their desires to return to City Council. It is safe to say some incumbents will not return. We applaud anyone seeking to serve their community. But our needs are critical and merely saying "I support the police" are hollow sound bites. We seek candidates that can identify our problems and enact solutions. We look forward to candidates who plan to support us with actions and not words.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JULY UPDATE


The Connecticut budget is a mess facing a projected $5.1 billion two-year budget deficit – a $2.3 billion gap in the next fiscal year and a $2.8 billion gap in 2018-19. As bad as things are here they could be worse. Illinois is grappling with a full-fledged financial crisis and not even the lottery is safe – with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner warning the state is entering "banana republic" territory. Facing almost $15 billion in unpaid bills and pension obligations, the state is hitting a cash crunch that is rare even by Illinois standards. A top financial official just warned 100 percent of the state's monthly revenue will be eaten up by court-ordered payments. Rauner is calling a special session of the Democrat-led General Assembly in a bid to pass what he hopes will be the first full budget package in almost three years.“We’re like a banana republic,” Rauner said earlier this month, after the General Assembly failed, yet again, to pass a budget package by the regular session deadline. “We can’t manage our money.”
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Back home in the land of steady habits the Legislature sputters and stumbles along waiting for the special session trying to craft a budget while interest groups of all shapes and sizes ensure the other guy's program is cut to save their own. One of the more vocal groups is the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM), a lobbying group for many of the state's cities and towns.

In late June CCM sent out a 30 second commercial to network affil iates and cable News 12 in Fairfield County with two issues: that state officials both broaden the sales tax — canceling various exemptions — boost the rate to 7 percent and dedicate the $700 million it would generate annually to municipalities. New sales tax dollars dedicated to communities would be exempted from the arbitration review process. In other words, an arbiter could not weigh those grants when assessing a community’s ability to afford worker raises.
A second proposal would amend state rules regarding binding arbitration — a process cities and towns routinely go through each year to settle compensation for teachers, police officers, public works staff and other unionized employees. CCM’s plan also would revise collective bargaining laws to make it easier for neighboring towns to economize and provide services on a regional basis. It also would exempt new services provided regionally from collective bargaining.

While the sales tax increase makes sense because there simply is not enough cost cutting to sustain a new budget and needs new revenue to make any plan work. But the insistence that unions in general and collective bargaining in particular is the cause of the state economy failures is misguided at best to downright fraudulent lie at worst. This effort once again highlights the political axiom never let a good crisis go to waste.
As Connecticut contorts trying to find a new budget and the United States deals with increasing terror attacks around the globe, North Korea seeks nuclear weapons to strike our country, the middle east burns and Iran continues with Russia to seek world domination. Our very own progressive left's water boys for the Democratic Party Senators Blumenthal and Murphy carry on their non-stop fight to delegitimize President Trump's election victory.


Senator Richard Blumenthal when not doing a TV interview or attending a local ribbon cutting has spent most of his time with partisan attacks against President Trump. Issues of late were suing Trump to release his tax returns, demanding Trump disclose all foreign deals by his company and insisting that Attorney Jeff Sessions now testify before the Judiciary Committee of which Blumenthal is a member because Sessions was too tight lipped when testifying before the Intelligence Committee. This is the same Blumenthal who campaigned saying he " wanted to go to Washington to make sure that Washington listens to the people. Washington isn't listening because it suffers from too much acrimony and partisanship".
While Senator Murphy enjoys the title of most liberal senator in Washington he spends his time blaming the Manchester England terror attack on Trump. Note to Blumenthal and Murphy- the election is over - Hillary lost. Stop the resistance nonsense and get back to work serving the people of Connecticut by finding issues you can agree on.

July is upon us as our overworked, understaffed diligent police officers continue to make New London as safe as possible for all residents and visitors without a contract that expired on June 30. Local 724 continues to engage in negotiations with the City to bring back a fair contract for its members. The purpose of government is to ensure the safety of its residents. While other concerns such as economic growth are important, a government’s primary duty is to keep its people safe. We hope the City shares those same concerns and gives us a fair contract.

July also means Sailfest….Ugh! Our 200,000 precious City dollars party weekend from hell with too many people in too small a space, where all the cops work too many hours with too little rest. Where drunks and fights result in the most weekend arrests all year and many neighborhood thugs on Dan Malloy's early release from prison program settle their scores knowing most of the police pre-occupied with Sailfest.
The upside to this chaos - vacation time is replenished July 1st. When you're officially done with everyone else's crap. Where a change in latitude is a change in attitude and some of the best memories are made in flip flops, where drinkin' rum before 10 am makes you a pirate not an alcoholic and when we fiesta like there is no manana with our toes in the water, ass in the sand and a cold beer in our hand. That's 724's secret incentive to get us through to the Monday after.

Here is the latest crazy example of our new world order of political correctness and progressive thinking taking over in Oakland California where ex-cons are encouraged to join the police oversight commission that will oversee everything from disciplining officers to the hiring and firing of the police chief. An application on the city's website for positions on the new nine member commission state "formerly incarcerated individuals encouraged to apply". One of the panelists who will decide the new members explained "we should welcome the viewpoint of all members of Oakland… and encourage people with criminal backgrounds since they have had frequent contact with the police". Members won't be subjected to background checks either because "it will discourage formerly incarcerated people from applying" The only group formally banned from applying are former police officers who need not apply.. This is a travesty and slap in the face to law enforcement.

On June 6 Representative Chris Soto made an impassioned plea for his colleagues to support HB-6663 An Act Concerning Police Misconduct. The bill sought any police use of force be immediately investigated by Chief State's Attorney within five business days and based on preponderance of information suspend the officer without pay until fully investigated. If convicted or plea of nolo contendere of any crime even minor misdemeanors that are not job related, police officers must be terminated. Representative Soto reasoned with his Coast Guard "law enforcement experience" that this was a good bill and everyone can be rest assured this is a good bill for accountability ensuring everyone will know what happened after a use of force event.

While the Bill failed to pass before the session ended be forewarned- it will surface again. We take exception to the Bill on many levels. First we applaud Mr. Soto serving his country protecting our freedom. But to that extent he implies he has walked in our shoes. Maybe then he can tell us about his biggest arrest he himself made while in the Coast Guard or the last time he had to use force to protect himself or another from imminent harm or effecting an arrest. Our money is he can't because he never has. Representative Soto has every right to support his Bill but he hasn't earned the right to say his military service somehow equates to our daily duties as working police officers.

Our concerns with the bill were it took away our due process and fair treatment under the law. The bill ignores a basic civil right of proportionality where a penalty must fit the crime. We stop people based on reasonable suspicion, arrest people on probable cause and convict them based on beyond a reasonable doubt standards. Yet the proposed bill in a five business day rush to judgment uses the absolute lesser standard preponderance of the evidence to make a preliminary decision to suspend without pay until a full investigation is concluded. Our system of jurisprudence gives everyone the right to due process. Where does it say police officers lose all their rights while protecting the rights of others?

Use of force is violence, it is compelling a non compliant person to submit through application of force as allowed by the law. Use of force is not pretty nor choreographed like a TV show. Each and every altercation involves at least one weapon and can be life threatening. Because if a cop looses in a fight they can be disarmed and killed or seriously injured by their own gun. We have the lawful right to use a greater force to overcome the resistance. Many people think any police use of force - even in self defense is excessive and when the law does not fit their perceptions it's unjust.

Lastly the suggestion that there is no accountability or good process in place without this bill is grossly misleading. There are many protocols and procedures in place both within police agencies and outside entities to ensure thorough and complete investigations. In fact, New London Police have the most encompassing use of force reporting in the entire state. If Representative Soto had asked us before sponsoring the bill we would have happy to enlighten him- but he didn't.

Cops are trained to work independently, but when they hear ‘officer needs assistance’ — individual cops come together quickly and with awe-inspiring force. That proved true with a recent incident that turned ugly involving our officers. The overwhelming response from area agencies illustrated the bond shared between men and women of law enforcement willing to risk life and limb for fellow officers to safely address the problem situation so that everyone goes home- safely- at the end of the shift. We humbly say thank you to Waterford, East Lyme, Groton Town, Groton City, Ledyard, Stonington, State Police and State's Attorney Inspectors for your rapid response when it was needed.

 

 


 

 


 



 


   


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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