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Contract Fight Not Just About Money

* Re “Police Lose Ground in Contract Battle,” Dec. 27:

Thank you, once again, for taking note of the ludicrous situation faced by the officers of the Huntington Beach Police Department. Your article tries to summarize the issues in the most recent conflict between city management and the Huntington Beach Police Officers Assn., but there is much more to the story.

Readers may be left with the impression that it is all about money. They may look at the close figures quoted in your article and wonder if the officers are being reasonable. The other issues are harder to explain.

Certainly, salary is significant and has a profound influence over attraction and retention of quality personnel, but negotiations are equally tangled over changes the city wants to make in personnel rules and benefits, which hurt the officers. This latest arbitrary decision against the officers’ interests is just another in a long line of malicious actions taken by City Hall. When a professional is considering employment, management’s relations with employees greatly matter. Those relations in Huntington Beach are malignant.

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Considering the repeated public acknowledgments that the Huntington Beach Police Department is suffering tremendous recruiting problems, the denials by city management are disingenuous, to say the least. When will the public finally demand ethical, proactive behavior from City Hall? How bad will things have to get?

MIKE KELLY

Huntington Beach


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