Friday, August 10, 2007

A HARD QUESTION for the Little Rock FOP concerning more money for the mayor

Since it has been disclosed that Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola will get a raise to $160,000 per year, and since your police union has endorse the two votes for increasing the mayor's powers, and presuming an annual police officer salary of $40k, has the mayor's office identified which THREE officers will be laid off to pay for his raise.

Have you been promised that the cuts will not come from the police department? I ask this only as a concerned citizen and I would hate to think any police officer suffered any financial harm because of this bad idea, because you provide an essential service and you are good professional people.

If the LRPD will not bear the cuts to pay for this new salary line-item, who will? The city has announced a shortfall of $2.5 to $3 million. This is not an idle question.

I mean no disrespect to the police, but I believe your union has done you a tremendous disservice.

Whatever the opinion Little Rock cops have on the mayors salary increase, they won't have a say in the outcome because few of them can vote in city elections because they live out of town. The Kommuter Kop Korps shows how much they care for the plight of the citizens of LR by choosing to live elsewhere. Until LR adopts a residency requirement for cops & firemen, the situation can only get worse.
Pat, I respect your opinion but I'm speaking first hand in telling you that the police unions existence is first, to represent it's members to best serve this community; and to negotiate and establish proper standards for wages, hours, and other conditions of employment. In endorsing any candidate for office it is the union’s responsibility to support those persons who they feel are the best qualified for the job. Who better to align yourself with than the person who is best suited for the job? Unions have forever aligned themselves with persons in political positions, why not LR FOP? City Board members are of the utmost importance to develop Union/City relationships. With law enforcement high on the Mayors list it is unlikely he will only strengthen the manpower rather then reduce it. Previous officials and managers have left unfilled positions open for years to manage their other budget needs. There is a direct correlation between the reduction in officers and an increased crime rate. Supporting a Mayor who’s record was tough on crime was exactly what this city needs and it was the FOP who made the proper decision to tell the citizens of Little Rock who the right person for the job would be.
As for anonymous, he has no recollection that the city implemented a residency requirement for both police and firefighters several years ago. It is true that 40% to 45% of police officers live outside the city, even more for firefighters. These reasons are many, and vary from cost of living, schools, and the work environment that is a byproduct of the job. Who wants to subject their family to the propensity of danger that occurs when you run into the felon you arrested yesterday but he's eating next to you the next day at Outback because the jail is full? The last thing he told you was you'd live to regret this!
Are the citizens of Little Rock better off having their police live in the city, yes, no doubt? Should the same freedom they help protect be taken away from them and they be forced to be told where to live? Personally I think not. Maybe incentives should be implemented to encourage the desirable result of having them as your neighbors? Either way they report everyday to work and provide the thin blue line. Thank God their there! Oh, the city dropped the requirement of living in the city. It reduced the hiring pool so greatly they couldn’t fill the vacancies. The standards are that high, as they should be!
Pat, the Mayor now has the responsibility that the city manager had. Why do they both have similar salaries? Both have responsibilities that support hefty salaries. Personally we need to ask ourselves why are we looking at this $2.5 to $3 million defect? Look no further than the City Finance Director who’s now resigning. He predicted a revenue increase of 4.5% over last year. That kind of revenue didn't happen. They say it's because our surrounding cities are spending their money at home instead of coming to Little Rock and spending it here. Who in their right mind couldn't see the progress that's been occurring in our neighboring cities?
There’s a lot of waist in city government, lets hope that the Mayor properly identifies this waist and all city employees can earn their just salaries.
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