Friday, July 9, 2010

Police Union Calls Loffredo "Childish," Council Defeats Police Scheduling Proposal

At Thursday's rescheduled Common Counil meeting Police officer and police union president Derek Puorro demanded Councilman Vinnie Loffredo's resignation from the Personnel Review Committee calling Loffredo's outburst at the last meeting of the commitee "a childish, unprofessional rant" which including table banging and shouting.

Loffredo, for his part, said he has no intention of leaving the PRC.

A proposal to shift police patrol officers to a new 4-2 schedule (four days on, two days off) as opposed to the current 5-2, 6-1 schedule (five day on, with two off alternating with 6 on and 1 off), was presented by Acting Police Chief Patrick McMahon. The new schedule had been negotiated with the police union and vetted by the city's Personnel Director Deborah Milardo.

According to McMahon, the new schedule would allow him to more evenly distribute police patrols across the city, avoid overstaffing and shortfalls, and allow the chief to adopt a stricter control for scheduling and sick days. He also said it would provide untold morale benefits for patrol officers who have a stressful work life, and an unpredictable at-home schedule.

"This is a way to provide them more stability," McMahon testified.

He also said that the change would have no cost effect on the city, and this is where Council members opposed to the plan disagreed vehemently with McMahon. The new schedule would effectively reduce the yearly hours of each patrol officer from 2,088 to 1952, or 17.4 days less work each year. Officers annual pay would not be reduced.

"I have to disagree that this is a favorable thing from a taxpayer's perspective," Council member Gerry Daley said. "The reduction in hours is effectively a 7% increase in their hourly wage."

Daley and Loffredo argued that in difficult financial times it would be hard to sell a reduction in hours without a reduction in pay to the taxpaying public.

Council member Phil Pessina, a former member of the Middletown Police Department, argued passionately in favor of implementing the new scheduling plan. In addition, he was angered by the introduction of a complex substitute resolution by Loffredo which was designed to reject the planned schedule change. In it, Loffredo cited what he termed an "illegal" arbitration modification by the mayor and the police union along with his financial objections, which he had aired at the recent PRC meeting at which he admitted he "became heated."

Pessina accused Loffredo and his Democratic colleagues of "dropping the resolution" at the last minute to avoid scrutiny by Republican members and the general public.

"You say 'we' formulated the alternate resolution," Pessina said. "So the terminology of 'we' is the eight Democratic council members. You keep using 'we the council' when it's just the majority members."

Pessina said the amended resolution should have been reviewed by the mayor, the personnel diretor and the finance director. He cited the difficult and dangerous work lives of police officers as the reason a schedule change, with less work days, and more weekends at home, should be adopted.

"If we don't adopt this change we are doing a disservice to the men and women who are working on our streets," Pessina said.

After the meeting, officer Puorro said that the police union would take the issue to binding arbitration where "it will cost the city thousands" to settle the matter.

"We're disappointed in the Democratic majority," Puorro said. "It's obvious they don't care about the police officers who work on patrol."

The substitute resolution to reject the proposed schedule change was adopted by a six to four vote along party lines.

In other business, the Common Council voted to $150,000 in funding for preliminary exploration of remediation of the former City landfill at the former Omo Manufacturing site. They also voted to inform the federal EPA that the city will pursue a lead role in cleanup at the site.

The Council also approved a waiver of building permit fees, amounting to $156,000 for the construction of the proposed new headquarters and medical building for the Community Health Center.


Bob Reutenauer said...

"A proposal to shift police patrol officers to a new 4-2 schedule (four days off, two days on)" ...

Ed... seems like you may have this part mixed up! may want to correct.. too many people out there who will believe this and use it too bash public servants.. some on the council may believe it too.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Councilman Vinnie Loffredo. Cutting time (7% pay increase) of the Police is not in the best interest of Middletown. They have a contract. Please have them obey and live up to the agreement until it ends. Then, if possible, renegociate the terms.......

Anonymous said...

If it puts more officers on the street how can it be a bad thing? I do not understand how it is a increase in pay at all. They are paid for a forty hour (I'm guessing its at LEAST this) week and this maintains that schedule how can there be an increase? Honestly if it gives them a better schedule and they have more time for family, isnt that what we want? Their jobs are stressful enough. Let's face it most that will blog on this and want it turned down just do not like Police Officers.

I do agree they have a contract and it should be upheld. Let's remember this the next time you want the City's Unions to give up the pay raises they fairly negotiated. Name calling should have never been a way to go about doing things however. I'm sure the Union President was upset and how some council members react to things. I don't see them ever getting anything from this council.

They have a long standing hatred (Dems) for organized labor in the City's public sector. They seem to focus their hatred towards the Police more than anyone else. I wonder why!

Anonymous said...

up no offense but the rest of us work full time 5 days a week and get 2 off- no way in h%ll should the cops get an extra day off every 7 days. In case you don't understand basic math as some anonymous posters working less for the same amount of money means you get more $ for doing less. Hello?
Either way 4 days on 2 off, 2 on 4 off, stupid stupid stupid. More officers on the street but less are working? Doesn't work. Basically the officers are getting 2 extra weeks of paid PAID i remind you vacation a year. Wake the heck up citizens! As your boss if you can have every Friday off and keep your same pay check and see the response you get. If the police get this is just shows how stupid we all are as a collective town.
And by the way "Operation Extended Shield" was a load of bs- cops did DUI checks on Main Street at 6 pm on a Wednesday- wow they caught 11 parole violators or something- they should come out to Main Street when the bars get out on a Friday or Saturday at 11 pm and catch some real criminals and some prostitutes openly selling the goods in the Northend. I guess it was past their bedtimes cause their home lives are 100 times harder than everyone elses according to the chief

Anonymous said...

I think cops should get to come to work around 10 am or so, get 2 hours for lunch, a nap, and go home at 2ish- cause we as a town should be paying them to do as little as possible and stay home and play with their kids. 4 days on and 2 days off, or 5 days on 3 days off- its the least we could do. The cops were right not taking or responding to explosive complains over Fourth of July weekend, because its not like any of them could have been serious anyway. Its better that they stayed home with their families and enjoy the evening, whats a little brush fire between good neighbors? More family time for cops. It takes a village remember?
Cops should only have to work 20-30 hours a week but we as a town should pay them for 40 hours.
If they have to shoot something even if its a rabid anima,l i think that they should get atleast a week paid for recovery from stress- everyone knows that their jobs are the most stressful on the planet and they were forced to become cops and no one told them it would tough.
While we are add it citizens should have to spend the weekend washing the cruisers and shining the officer's shoes, just to show our respect and due diligence.

Village Idiot said...

"I do not understand how it is a increase in pay at all. They are paid for a forty hour (I'm guessing its at LEAST this) week and this maintains that schedule how can there be an increase? "

Hey anonymous 3:42 pm - which would you rather have 1 quarter, or 4 shiny new dimes?

Now tell me how 4 days on and 2 off DOESNT give the police more than the already given 2 weeks paid time off???

Someone please draw this poor citizen & the council people who "didn't get it" a diagram

Anonymous said...

I don't have a problem with the police working 7% less if their pay is adjusted 7% less.

Anonymous said...

Just a reminder regarding the comment about the Democratic Council not supporting the police department. It was the Dems who put additional officers in the budgets. It was the Dems who supported the new computer system and up to date police equipment. Did they not support a 33% increase in pay on the backs of the taxpayers.. yes they did. Are they not supporting less work for the same pay, resulting in a 7% increase in pay on the backs of the taxpayers, yes they did. As a person on fixed income with family members unemployed or held to no increases in pay for the last 3 years, I thank the Democratic Council for their intelligent analysis of the contract and support of the police department AND the taxpayers of this city.

Anonymous said...

I've listened to the tape from the personnel commission meeting. Not only should vinnie step off the comission he should resign from the council. His temper is out of control and he's going to end up costing us in lawsuits. Abusive, degrading, demeaning, vile and child like describe the rantings. I wouldn't have sat thru it and neither should anyone else. Vinnie you owe a few people a huge apology.