2011 Wasn’t so bad; 2012 Could be a Challenge
2011 was an eventful year to say the least. Our objectives at the beginning of the year were to extend our contract and to pass legislation that would address the "pension issues" that have become a nationwide focus. We also wanted to avoid lay-offs and to play a part in the appointment of a new Chief of Police who have the respect and confidence of the members.
We were 4 for 4. It wasn’t a bad year.
While other local police departments like as Oakland and San Jose were subjected to huge givebacks in addition to lay offs, we were able o steer the ship and stay more than afloat. We were able to extend our current contract while continuing to receive raises in 2011 and again 2012. Rare advances in these tight economic times! The contract is secure through June 30, 2015 with all of our current provisions intact. We joined with other labor and business groups in the city to bring fair and equitable pension reform through a consensus measure, Proposition C, and we won handily. While our pension contributions have gone up our measure created a mechanism for those same contributions to come down in better economic times. We suffered no layoffs and we expect none in the future. Our relationship with new Mayor Ed Lee is an excellent one and we believe he shares our vision of safer streets and a fully staffed police department.
Hopefully, with some of these difficult issues behind us, we can enter into a less hectic time in our department. We know there will always be some issue with which we need be concerned.
Occupy SF isn't going away and the economy will remain weak for another couple of years, but I think we can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel. Internally, we are looking for innovative ways to reinvent ourselves. Law enforcement has changed greatly over the past 15 years or so. We now earn salaries that are competitive with many in private industry and there is an expectation of increased education in the law enforcement community. We are trying to stay in step with modern law enforcement and a big part of that is working with Chief Suhr on a comprehensive "Career Development" program that is both fair to the membership and also brings us into the 21st century in the world of law enforcement. Cities will continue to find ways to integrate civilians into our profession, and is incumbent upon the union to assure that jobs are protected while at the same time recognizing that some tasks my be more efficiently handled by non-sworn workers.
At the POA, we have never been more financially solvent. Our investment in the commercial building that houses our tenant, the Paragon Restaurant, has paid huge dividends as over 700 of our members utilized it in some capacity in 2011. We look for an even more successful 2012.
We know that it is impossible to please everyone but know this; we are recognized as one of the most successful and well-run police unions in the country. Our accomplishments over the past 15-years are virtually unprecedented!
We are a strong and committed political entity in San Francisco and will continue to represent the men and women of the SFPD in a professional and business-like manner. May w