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The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Saturday, October 10

PBA statement on proposed layoffs

This from PBA President Ed Lewis:

October 9th, 2009


PBA President Edward M. Lewis,Jr. issued the following for immediate release

The PBA has read with great interest the public statements of Finance Commissioner Kenneth Ivins suggesting that City Unions should agree to long term agreements with no raise, no longevity payments and increased employee contributions for health insurance plans. Our response is simple. If the City has a proposal for an agreement they should make it at the bargaining table. The PBA does not bargain Contracts in the News Media. The PBA contract expired at the end of 2008. We have been trying to get the City to bargain with us since July of 2008. The place to do that is at the bargaining table, not the six o’clock news.

As for the City’s suggestion on higher employee costs for health insurance, that too is a subject that needs to be discussed at the bargaining table. But the Commissioners do not need our permission to change the contribution rates they make for their own health insurance that the City currently provides at no cost to the Commissioners.

As for threats that the City will begin layoffs if the Unions will not make concessions, we say simply that The PBA is proud of the job it’s members do in protecting the citizens of Saratoga Springs. We believe the Citizens expect and deserve a professional, fully functional police department that has enough personnel to provide quality police protection. No one can seriously argue that the City will be just as safe with fewer Police Officers.


Anonymous Kyle York said...

Dear Mr. Lewis,

I will, with no pleasure, seriously argue that this city will be just as safe with fewer officers.

We do not need three police vehicles and one officer on horseback to keep watch on Caroline Street. One car at the top of the street is plenty presence enough. OR one mounted officer, an extremely visible deterrent and a popular photo op.

The Merchants take their responsibilities seriously with their security at their doors. They know that trouble on the streets is BIG trouble on their balance sheets.

One cruiser with a radio will do just fine.

With a reported figure of 6.6 officers on patrol, one officer is routinely wasted due to the policy of immediate back-up calls to any officer call on Broadway. Tonight it was two cars responding to a drunk outside Lillian's.

We can eliminate the back-up officer, the officer who lingers for a while and then drives away until the next back-up call in front of a packed sidewalk cafe.

A traffic stop on the edge of town near the Northway? Absolutely smart to call for back-up until the situation is fully assessed.

But how many times must I watch multiple units swarm around a vehicle stop on Broadway with a full crowd of on-lookers?

So yes, CUTS can be MADE. But the real issue is what you call a "fully functional police department that has enough personnel to provide quality police protection."

With all due respect to the officers on the street, any department so top-heavy with administrators is clearly "dysfunctional." Any department that offers OT to the highest-paid instead of assisting the lowest-paid officers who NEED the OT... THAT is "dysfunctional."

But save that for another PR release. Let us gather on Caroline and evaluate the threat. And then, let's see if you can look me in the eye and say one less officer will mean anarchy, danger, and the end of our City in the Country.

-Kyle York
Supporting our Public Safety
Questioning our Public Trough

October 10, 2009 at 10:25 PM 
Blogger george said...

Now that the police union has issued its manifesto and their sole answer to the cities budget crises is to break the back of local property owners. That’s no sweat for Ed Lewis head of the PBA, were he lives very comfortably in Wilton were he pays no town tax and he and his family are safely protected by county Sheriffs and volunteer fireman.

October 12, 2009 at 2:00 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. York,

Hi, I'm Earth, have we met?

You sir, are a moron. When was the last time you were on Caroline St. after midnight, 1959? From your post, you obviously don't leave the comfort of your couch after 10 AM.

October 12, 2009 at 2:43 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 2:43. Way to make your point. Attack the attacker, not the facts. That said, I guess Kyle has a point. You sir have none.

October 12, 2009 at 5:22 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read the book "Real Police Work" by former Saratoga PD officer David Mathis.

Not much has improved.

October 12, 2009 at 5:39 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon - 2:43

I'm on Caroline street 2-3 times per week, supporting our local watering holes, and i can tell you that the police presence seems over the top. If bars have trouble keeping their patrons from getting too drunk and rowdy, fine them. They'll be more resposible.

Either way, the # of police i don't care about. I care about the cost of the police, and it's TOO MUCH. Something has to give, and i'm going to be angry if it's my wallet.

If they can't find a way to cut costs without layoffs, then they'll make due with less officers. As far as i know the budget only proposes cuts to funding, not staffing. That equates into X number of people under the current contract, and if the Police (or fire or DPW) want to propose a new contract that saves some of those people, that's great.

I know it's hard to admit that you have a little extra fat. Sometimes you have to be forced to trim it.

October 13, 2009 at 8:54 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The union's position is indefensible.

Hopefully, some sort of REAL political leadership will rise and represent the views of the city taxpayers.

That view is that the various city unions are out of control and need to be reigned in. Not by some chicken-poop manner, but with REAL personnel and benefits cuts.

Someone PLEASE explain to me why the public sector should be immume from economic realities? Please....

Mr Lewis, it is completely reasonable to ask that your membership make a contribution to its first-class benefits program. Make that a SIGNIFICANT contribution. If that doesn't work, then let's knock the benefits down to a "second-class' level. Your pick. is completely reasonable to ask that your local headcount be reduced. Make that SIGNIFICANTLY reduced. There is, quite simply, NO JUSTIFICATION for this city's public safety force being the size that it is.

If you disagree with that statement, show us the data. Make that REAL data.

Otherwise, stop with the fear mongering. You are embarrasing yourself.

Any questions? Good.

October 13, 2009 at 7:49 PM 

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