LB Police Officers Ass'n Says City Hall Negotiating Stance On Pay/Benefits Hurting Officers & City
One of the worst compensated police forces in the state.
(May 17, 2005) -- Making a direct appeal to area residents supportive of public safety and police causes, the LB Police Officers Association distributed an informational brochure to those attending a May 17 ceremony honoring LB Police Officers.
LBReport.com reproduces salient portions of the brochure text below.
[begin excerpted brochure text]
You're here today to honor the heroes of the Long Beach Police Department. We thank you for your acknowledgement.
Unfortunately, City Management has not been honoring these same officers.
Over the last year, Long Beach Police Officers have worked without a contract, and for the last four years have forgone pay raises.
We did this to do our part to help the City during tough financial times...
But now the City's [City Hall's] stand on our contract is adversely affecting our ability to protect the residents of Long Beach.
...[C]ity Management has worked against us, consistently sabotaging and shifting negotiations and stances...
...When compared to 10 similar cities in the state, Long Beach ranks 9th in pay and compensation. Of the 200 largest cities in the United States, only 4 have gone longer without a pay raise.
We've gone 4 years without any pay increase while taking responsibility for large shares of our health costs. In real terms and because of the spiraling cost of living, that results in a significant pay cut every year.
This is destructive to morale and shows the City's unwillingness to make quality Public Safety a top priority. Long Beach Police Officers at least deserve to make the average of comparable cities, or it will simply become impossible to attract the experienced, qualified police officers our city needs -- let along keep the ones we've got.
(Source: POLICEEPAY consulting studies, www.policepay.net)
Hurting recruitment and lowering standards
Low pay and poor benefits -- with a hostile city management structure that doesn't support Public Safety -- have a chilling effect on recruitment. In fact, recruitment of new officers has plummeted, and the exodus of experienced officers is increasing.
...We are looking at a situation where soon our force could be second or third tier -- those who are left as well as new recruits will be those who couldn't get hired elsewhere.
Long Beach deserves better.
Driving Away Experienced Officers
...Experienced officers are leaving Long Beach because they just can't afford to continue taking pay cuts and benefit decreases. Surrounding cities offer them the resources they need to support their families and they respect they deserve as Police Officers.
Experienced, veteran officers are the backbone of a stable police force. Creating a situation that purges them from our force is irresponsible and harmful to Public Safety...
[end excerpted brochure text]
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In handing us the brochure, LBPOA president Steve James noted the text indicating that of America's 200 largest cities, only four had gone longer without a pay raise. "How is it other cities can find ways to pay their officers and Long Beach can't?" he asked.
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