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Tortured Negotiation/Arbitration Process Shows True Colors of City Leaders

May 1, 2018
Martin Halloran SFPOA President

As of this writing, the arbitrator has yet to rule on the MOU between the CCSF and the SFPOA that will take effect July 1, 2018. Although raises are forthcoming, all indications at this time reveal that Mayor Mark Farrell, DHR Director Micki Callahan, and some members of the Board of Supervisors believe that either our cops do not deserve or are entitled to comparable raises of our counterparts in Bay Area law enforcement agencies.

Or, they just don’t care.

The POA has been negotiating in good faith with DHR and SFPD management for over 6 months. Although we have offered movement, we have been stalled and obstructed by the City decision makers (DHR Micki Callahan, Mayor Mark Farrell, etc.) who were either non-engaged or absent from the entire process.

The POA brought forth nationally recognized subject matter experts to testify. They, along with compelling testimony from some of our own members, testified on comparable agencies, CPI, wages, and working conditions. All made an overwhelming case for proper in-line raises. Part of this testimony revealed that our rank and file officers and sergeants have fallen below or will soon be below the market comparables, but the SFPD command staff is 25% to 30% above the market comparable in Northern California. That’s a lot of money for an all-time high of 16 command staff members. The POA clearly and soundly made our case through testimony in arbitration. But unfortunately, and not surprising, politics has crept into the process.

It was once again confirmed through testimony by Chief Bill Scott, contrary to statements made by some members of the Police Commission and the Board of Supervisors, that the POA has not delayed or obstructed any DOJ recommendations. Yet, the anti-law enforcement zealots cling to this false notion.

Question to Chief Scott: Has there been any meet and confer at which you believe the POA was using labor law to block the department from moving forward?

Answer: No. I didn’t – I can’t say that. No.

Sadly, the anti-law enforcement attitude of some elected officials, including members of the Board of Supervisors, has trickled down to DHR and their bad faith bargaining has lead them to proposing minimal wage increases. Even more insulting is their proposal that the POA surrender or forfeit our bargaining and appeal rights as part of an overall agreement. We cannot and will not stand for that. We will die on the hill for that. San Francisco has been and still is a strong labor city. None of us surrendered our labor rights when we swore to serve and protect.

City Hall appears to be listening to the unsubstantiated and baseless nonsense from the #NoJusticeNoRaise group led by the ACLU. We were hoping that the arbitrator was not. The neutral apolitical arbitrator is responsible and is obligated to make a ruling based on facts and figures presented to him. We were surprised when recommendations came forward from the arbitrator that fell outside of that realm. We believed that a professional experienced arbitrator was a neutral, independent third party, and was not to be influenced by politics. I hope this proves to be true.

The POA Negotiation Committee that Vice President Tony Montoya put together has been absolutely phenomenal. Rick Andreotti, Greg Stechshulte, Matt Lobre, Dan McLaughlin, Past President Gary Delagnes, Gregg Adam, and their support team have put in countless hours. Their commitment and dedication to those who put their lives on the line every day in this city, to ensure that you receive your due compensation, has inspired me. It has been my pleasure and honor to be part of this team.

The City has made it clear that they never came to the table seeking a deal. Based on their insulting proposals of take-a-ways, they care little about our members and the extremely difficult and hard work that we do.

Here are a couple of non-economic examples of their ridiculous proposals that were brought forward by Chief Scott and members of the Board of Supervisors.

The Chief shall be able to transfer 50% of any personnel at each district station, at any time, based on the needs of the department; A direct conflict with P-1 and seniority?

The DOJ Recommendations shall be incorporated into the MOU and the POA shall not have any appeal rights or meet and confer rights related to the implementation of these recommendations; A direct conflict with the Peace Officers Bill of Rights and the Myers Milias Brown Act.

We have seen DHR Director Micki Callahan twice through this process and have not yet had a one-on-one conversation with her about 2200 city employees who apparently she looks after. The last time I saw or heard from Mayor Farrell was about 10 days after he was sworn in as Mayor. He wanted to meet to discuss the needs of the department and my members, but it is clear now that he wanted to lay the foundation for his run for Mayor in 2019.

Farrell and Callahan could have cut to the chase and closed a deal long before arbitration. They have the authority to do so. This is how it has been done for decades. Neither the POA or Firefighters 798 have ever needed to resort to arbitration. In the past, the mayor’s office has always worked things out. That didn’t happen this time. Farrell was advised by consultants and fellow politicians to stay away from the POA. Sadly, in this city the cops and the POA are considered toxic to political survival.

What has the Mayor been doing in his last month as Mayor before he leaves office and launches a campaign to actually run for Mayor in 2019? Farrell spent the last week of April appropriating $45,000,000 of city money to new programs to pick up discarded syringes on the streets, move the homeless in tents to a new location in the city out of view of a news crew filming, and installing cameras and fences in city owned parking garages. All needed in this filthy, drug infested city, yet a mere fraction of that money could keep our cops on the streets rather than retiring early, and it could recruit the best and the brightest to fill their spots.

During this long and arduous process, the POA has made movement towards all recommendations brought forward by the arbitrator. Yet the city continued to stall and be the obstructionist. We have lost confidence in the arbitrator so Tony Montoya rallied the POA team to propose another package that will benefit the members rather than having a minimal unfair economic package rammed down our throats. I believe this will serve our members better. By the time this edition goes to print, I am confident that I will be proven right.

The likes of Tony as a passionate, honest, credible, lead negotiator further demonstrates what past leaders of the POA have done for the membership. My first pay check after I joined the San Francisco Police Department was $16.97 an hour. I was happy to get it, even though it was a pay cut from my previous job. Why? Because I just wanted to be a cop in the City. Tony is following in the footsteps of past Presidents and negotiators such Gary Delagnes, Chris Cunnie, and Al Trigueiro to ensure that our members are protected, respected, and properly compensated.

The fine and dedicated men and women of this department are entitled to and deserve fair wage increase. Sadly, the decriminalization of felons and the de-policing of the police has led us to where we are today. The spineless statements and actions from those in SFPD management and city government, along with their silence on their so called “controversial” issues, only further demonstrate that they just don’t care about you.

Regardless, we know what is right, we will remain strong, we will do what we have sworn to do, and we shall prevail as long as we stick together.