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Tue, Dec

LAPD’s Labor Contract and the Unacceptable Lack of Transparency

LA WATCHDOG-On Friday, the Los Angeles Police Protective League announced that its rank and file officers had rejected the one year contract that had been offered by the City. 

According to Tyler Izen, the President of the 9,900 member LAPPL, “There is a deep-seated frustration and anger among the officers caused by their low pay, working conditions, a disciplinary system that is viewed as biased and unfair, and their perception that management is unreceptive to their problems.”  

In particular, the proposed contract did not provide for any raises for officers hired before 2009 or any cost of living adjustments.  

The City also failed to fully fund the $112 million of banked overtime that was accrued as a result of a budget gimmick that was used to “balance” the budget during the City’s financial woes.  This short sighted policy which “saved” $85 million since 2007 has also caused major organizational problems as there are fewer officers available for duty as they are now required to take time off each month to work off this liability. 

The only raises were for the 1,000 officers hired since 2009 at salary levels 20% below the previous starting salaries, another short sighted budget balancing stunt that made LAPD starting salaries uncompetitive with surrounding jurisdictions. 

But the whole process involving this new contract between the City Council, its secretive Executive Employee Relations Committee and the LAPPL stinks as the closed door negotiations are not transparent to Angelenos or the media.   

We have no idea how this contract will impact the budget deficit that is expected to be $165 million next year and $425 million over the next three years. 

What is the impact of this contract on the Police Department’s $2.5 billion fully loaded budget?  

What is the impact on its 13,700 employees whose fully loaded compensation package approaches $160,000 a year?  

What is the impact on the Fire and Police Pension Plan that is already $4.5 billion underwater? 

What is the impact on the City’s annual required contribution the Pension Plan that is expected to balloon to over $700 million in two years, a fourfold increase from the $175 million in 2005?  

As a side note, this pension contribution would increase to over $1 billion if a more realistic investment rate assumption were used. 

We need to reform the way labor negotiations are conducted as the overly generous and unrealistic contracts resulting from previous closed door negotiations are one of the major reasons our City experienced unprecedented financial turmoil during the Villaraigosa era.  

Before any negotiations begin, the City, possibly through an Office of Transparency and Accountability that was recommended by Mickey Kantor’s LA 2020 Commission, would be required to complete an independent analysis of the financial and organizational impact of any new contract. 

Furthermore, any offers and counter offers would be disclosed to the public within 48 hours. 


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Finally, before any contract is submitted to the union membership and the City Council, it must be posted for at least 10 days along with a detailed analysis of the multiyear financial impact on the City’s budget, pension plans, and infrastructure.  

The City would also be required to provide a detailed listing of any campaign contributions made within the State by the public union involved in the negotiations and any contributions received by any elected City official from that union. 

To earn the trust, confidence, and respect of the “frustrated and angry” voters, Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Herb Wesson led City Council must require the City to be open and transparent in all labor negotiations, including the current negotiations with the Police, Firefighters, and the City’s civilian workers.

 

 (Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee,  The Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate. Humphreville is the publisher of the Recycler Classifieds -- www.recycler.com. He can be reached at:  [email protected]. Hear Jack every Tuesday morning at 6:20 on McIntyre in the Morning, KABC Radio 790.) 
-cw

 

 

 

 

CityWatch

Vol 12 Issue 57

Pub: Jul 15, 2014