After a public tussle earlier this year between City Hall and the Glendale Police Officers Assn. regarding a 6% pay increase, and the implications that it could have on the budget, it appears as if it was all for naught.
The union refused to budge, the City Council went ahead with cuts, city executives warned of possible layoffs, and in July, pink slips were given to three sworn officers. Termination was scheduled for Wednesday, and we joined several community leaders in admonishing the potential layoffs.
But in that time, three other members of the department retired or transferred, freeing up resources to rescind the pink slips. Of course we’re happy, as the entire community should be, that Glendale’s been spared the hardest of cuts to a vital public safety agency.
Still, what if the retirements hadn’t gone through? We’d likely be editorializing on a different outcome. And so, while we’re glad to see it work out in the end, let’s not forget what put us in this precarious situation.
Every city employee union that was up for contract renewal this fiscal year gave up a little for the greater health of the overall budget, and ultimately, the job security of their fellow civil servants. Every union, that is, except the Glendale Police Officers Assn.
Our position on that entrenchment was never about whether the raises were deserved. Of course they were, but these have also been extraordinary economic times, which begs for acknowledgment from stakeholders — taxpayers, elected officials, businesses and civil servants. The police union never acknowledged the dire straits in the most productive way they could, putting three officers out on the line to dry for weeks as they hoped a work-around could be found to save their jobs.
Let’s keep that in mind during the mid-fiscal-year review and next city budget session. The economy may be flattening, but on a plane far below what it was. The Police Department may be out of the woods, but only for the time being.