Local 724 Political News
Political Director Chuck Flynn
Members were blindsided when Chief Pete Richard announced his immediate retirement after almost 35 years of police service, the last 9 with NLPD. He became acting Chief the appointed full Chief during very tumultuous times. With a steady hand he righted a listing ship by implementing significant policy changes including state of the art Use of Force reporting and body cameras. He shall be remembered as a cop’s cop who balanced service to the public with fairness to his personnel.
We have no doubts the ever increasing public demands with intentionally less funding to accomplish the mission made the goals impossible to achieve. We thank him for his selfless public service and wish him good health and fortune in his next chapter.
As a new month begins two more officers – good cops- are leaving NLPD one to retire another for another agency before this month is out. Looking forward to July, expect at least two more officers heading out the door for suburban agencies while another has plans to retire in August. These departures don’t even count other officers who have secretly pending application with agencies as far away as Florida.
These new vacancies will significantly increase human costs on our personnel already being ordered in to work shifts even on their days off resulting in tired and pissed off people who don’t want to be at work. This domino effect of dwindling staff hasn’t even kicked into high gear yet.
We state unequivocally our staffing problems will get much worse long before it ever gets better. Maybe when the public feels the pain of many non violent calls we will refuse to respond to or experience delayed response to calls for service they will understand just what less police really feels like.
We predicted this exodus last year from regressive legislation at the State Capitol and zero support from City Hall. Our elected officials have bent over backwards to appease the small but vocal anti police crowd at the expense of public safety.
Our cops have decided why stay where you aren’t welcome or appreciated. Councilors have ignored serious discussions with law enforcement professionals on city public safety other than repeat loud and often their zero sum plan that all education and social service agency revenues must only result from defunding the police budget.
Councilors safe inside their Zoom meeting progressive echo chamber are convinced that less police will result in a safer and more attractive New London. Anyone else find it strange how all these other cities throughout the nation that have cut police now experience unprecedented crime rates spiking at record levels from defunding, no bail laws, reducing prison sentences, relaxing probation/parole oversight terms and steady attrition of officers with smaller pools of applicants. Not to worry New London our City Hall wizards of smart insist – it won’t happen here.
With the recent retirement of long time treasurer Roger Baker who officially ends his Union treasurer duties on June 30 and Todd Lynch announcing he is retiring effective June 25th has been the deciding factor for this writer to also step down as Vice President on June 30. These vacancies will allow for new Union leadership to forge their own path.
There are some big challenges ahead, if law enforcement officers ever needed a union, it’s in today’s climate seeing how our noble profession has been demonized. Where cops face scrutiny and criticism from those who do not walk in our shoes. Yet, these people have turned into self-proclaimed experts into every aspect of our line of work with weak politicians who won’t fight for hardworking public servants who wear the badge.
As elected union officials we are unapologetically fierce advocates for work place rights and fairness. Historically Unions brought about many major improvements for union workers that are now widespread among union and non-union jobs alike, such as paid vacations, weekends, sick leave, minimum wage, the eight-hour day, child labor laws, overtime pay, pensions, worker’s compensation, health insurance, holiday pay, parental leave, workplace safety regulations, lunch breaks, and much more.
For over 10 years these monthly updates has been a public voice for our member’s concerns and at times a peek behind the curtain on issues impacting their wages, benefits and working conditions.
Some updates were scattered with wit, sarcasm and insider PD humor poked at ourselves while others were in your face ready to square off with cold hard facts. We cheered for politicians that stood with us on important issues for our members and provided ugly truths with vigorous Bronx cheers to those who were against us.
In collective bargaining you don’t get what you think you deserve, you get what you negotiate. While we didn’t always agree with some political leaders on every issue we did respect them at the bargaining table allowing for good faith bargaining beneficial to both sides.
Over the past 20 years under the leadership of past president Chip Segar and current Todd Lynch we brought the fight with determination, preparation and perseverance to reverse five unjust terminations, favorably settle many grievances and win most formal labor hearings including $100,000 finding against the city for direct dealing with an employee’s medical insurance.
We achieved competitive salaries, reduced city pension liabilities by enrollment in CMERS state pension plan, obtained cheaper and better medical benefits from CT State Partnership Plan, improved work schedule to 5-2/5-3, reduced city accrued leave liability with Terminal Leave provisions, initiated bridge loan program for officers with pending disability retirements, introduced Master Patrol Officer, Investigator, Senior Sergeant, Utility Service Sergeant and Detective Sergeant positions plus expanded and then directed public fund raising campaign to re-start our Canine program to an authorized four K9 handler teams to name just a few accomplishments.
Local 724 is the little Union that did big things. In 2006 we hosted the first labor rally supporting John Destefano for Governor outside the Garde Arts Center. Since then every major statewide election with a televised political debate at the Garde has drawn thousands to the pre-debate labor rallies for contested political races including candidates and incumbents Malloy, Wyman, Courtney, Blumenthal, Murphy, Lamont, and Lembo. A rather colorful and boisterous celebration at the top of State Street highlighting democracy in action.
Along the way we became friends with many political leaders including Congressman Joe Courtney, Mayor John Destefano, Governors Dan Malloy and Ned Lamont, Lt Governors Nancy Wyman and Kevin Sullivan, Comptroller Kevin Lembo,
Attorney General George Jepson. Senators Andrea Stillman, Heather Somers and Paul Formica. Representatives Joe delaCruz, Holly Cheeseman, Ernie Hewet, Mayor Mike Passero, CAO’s Jane Glover and Steve Fields and Councilors Bill Satti, John Satti, Beth Sabillia, Peg Curtin, Marty Olsen, Wade Hyslop and Rob Pero to name just a few.
Special shout outs to former Hanafin’s Pub owner Diarmuid Hanafin, Joe SanJuan of the Recovery Room Restaurant and Ozzy Ozkan of College Pizza for their generous hospitality over the years.
Also, Thor Torgersen of Pyramid Marketing Design and Technology for his excellent services usually on very short notice and Lee Elci of WJJF 94.9 talk radio for not only defending police officers in general but giving Todd Lynch a powerful platform to a large audience of smart listeners every Wednesday morning.
Thank you to former city Risk Manager Paul Gills who was not only effective dealing with neglected city infrastructure problems but also an honest broker on many important issues concerning the health and safety of our members. You absence is felt every day.
We salute our many fellow labor leaders who have always been available to help when asked, including: AFSCME International President Lee Saunders, Regional Directors Jimmy Howell and Tim Birch. From AFSCME Council 4: Jodi Barr, Larry Dorman, Brian Anderson, Zak Leavy, Troy Raccuia, John Miller. From former AFSCME Council 15: Jeff Matchett, the late great Tom Carozza, our past attorneys Bob Murray, Ken Delorenzo, Eric Brown, Harry Elliot and Rich Gudis. Statewide labor leaders including: UPFFA’s Pete Carozza, CT AFL-CIO’s John Olsen, Lori Pellitier, Sal Luciano, EB Metal Trades Ken Delcruz, Teamsters Rocco Cala and Bevan Sweet, Laborers Keith Brothers, SECT Labor Council Wayne Burgess, Carpenters Union Chuck Appleby, Chris Bachant and Ted Duarte. New London DPW presidents Dave Kotecki and Bill Barlow, Fire Union presidents Steve Jolly and the late Rocco Bascilica. Space prevents from listing everyone we have enjoyed working with. Our proven objective is, TEAM=Together Everyone Accomplishes More!
We are all labor leaders who consider it and honor and privilege representing our members to make a difference and not afraid to fight for what is right. Todd and I gave it our all for what we believed was right for our members.
Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president of the United States, once said: “No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” Todd Lynch gave his all as Union president and is honored as the most effective president this Union has ever had. It was a pleasure to work alongside him. Good luck in your retirement Todd, it was well earned.
Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better. Barack Obama once said, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time… a change is brought about because ordinary people do extraordinary things.”
As we turn the reins over to our new Local 724 leaders we wish them good luck and continued success in their future endeavors always putting the best interests of the membership first.
This shall be my final Update. I thank all our friends, associates and supporters of Local 724 for their participation and support on a multitude of labor and public policy issues. It’s been a great ride and made great fiends along the way.
In the words of Jimmy Buffett it’s time to, “Breathe in, breathe out, move on…”
The views expressed by the author may not necessarily reflect the views of all Local 724 members.