How to save police jobs: open letter to PBA President Vince Lombardi

An open letter to Vince Lombardi: A Win For Taxpayers And Police

Hoboken resident Scott Siegel offers a specific plan to save jobs of police members.

1) 4 year (2 retro) wage freeze.

2) Accept demotions. Private companies are downsizing and demoting. Look at what’s happening to police and fire in every major city in this country. According to the last budget the average member of the Hoboken police force earns $105m per year vs. $65m for the average Hoboken family. Your men would still have highly compensated positions. Agree to a one time waiver of bumping rights.

3) Convert current health care plan to a lower cost nontraditional plan including reimbursable high deductible portion. Same Cadillac deal but more cost effective.

4) Pay 1.5% of salary, co-pay per month towards health care. Much less than private sector and your men will start to have some skin in the game. Hopefully this will lead to greater flexibility and savings down the road. Put in a rational drug co-pay as well.

5) All demotees and those making less than $50,000 are exempt from above payments.

6) Work 40 hours a week like everyone else. This will cut down on overtime.

7) Enact a rational vacation/time off schedule.

8) Curtail back end pay such as longevity and unused vacation, etc. Limit overtime maximum final payout in the last several years. Grant no more than one year base pay upon resignation. But, grandfather in anyone who retires by this contract’s end to encourage retirement.

9) Buy fewer police cars. Walk the beat and get to know the community better. Buy lightweight/heavy duty coats, uniforms so you can walk year round. The more we know each other the more effective crime stopping will be. Plus a cop who walks a beat can notice unusual things better compared to just driving by.

10) As retirings occur replace clerical police with Class 2 officers. This should cost less with no need for police training beyond forms, reports, etc to be filed. Attrit one, then replace one until clerical spots are filled, then attrit to an agreed upon level.

11) Throw in any other givebacks that you offered Judy.

12) This should save us the kind of money that taxpayers will approve of and will generate good will between the police and the community. If it is short of $2.5mm let’s roll our sleeves up and dig deeper to save Hoboken police jobs.

13) Knock off the $20mm surplus. That’s bull. It’s $12mm. By distorting the truth you will only hurt your cause.

14) No layoffs if approved.

Why do this?

1) 20 year+ veterans: Gov. Christie has given the NJ Legislature until Christmas to pass reforms in pensions and healthcare. Next will come civil service and arbitration reform. The Assembly barely passed his budget. When it came time for the property tax cap they read the writing on the wall and passed it by a tsunami 73-4 vote. Take a cue from the BOE who are retiring in droves, hoping to be grandfathered in. Will it work? I don’t know, but the chances are better than if you wait for the reforms to pass.

2) Demotees: By waiving bumping rights you can protect the jobs of your brother and sisters that you emotionally stated you cared so much about. With reform coming spots will open up and promotions will be needed to fill retirement spots.

3) All else: The potentially laid off police will soon find out how much you really care. Are you posturing or are you real? They and I will find out soon enough.

4) Some speakers said we need all 152, others said we could attrit. Both can’t be right, if we can attrit we can layoff now too. It’s up to you to prevent this.

5) Remember: 10% of the citizens you protect are unemployed. Another 10% have given up looking for jobs. Many others are making less and are on the verge of losing their jobs. Most would gladly accept a demotion and the lavish benefits your men enjoy. The taxpayers have taken nearly 100% of the brunt of a decade of fiscal mismanagement. Do you want to save jobs or protect your gains? You can’t have it both ways. Choose wisely for the sake of your brothers and sisters.

6) Too bad you can’t kick in the cost of t-shirts, highly paid consultants and TV ads, your men could have used those funds.

7) Let me be clear. I never blame the individual for accepting a high salary. It is your credibility on the line. Feel free to come up with alternatives totaling at least $2.5mm net in today’s dollars and starting to marginally reduce future liabilities. If your numbers are real I’d support them. It’s time to begin in a small way to restore the social compact which is clearly broken in Hoboken.

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