A Slightly Longer History of Police Budgets in Cranston
Two substantive objections offered in the comments section to my short history of the Cranston Police Department budget were…
- The figures for the Napolitano years include some million-dollar-plus temporary “rent” costs associated with the construction of a new police station, and
- Napolitano’s first police budget was the 3rd year of a contract negotiated by his predecessor (that would be Steve Laffey, for those not paying attention), and therefore can’t be held against him.
In FY09 (the “year” that started July 1, 2008), the evil Laffey contract had expired. If the Democratic Mayor/Democratic Council believed that the City had been snookered into a backloaded contract, their hands were free to make the corrections and “fundamental changes” they thought were necessary to get department spending down to levels they thought reasonable. It certainly appears that that’s what Mayor Laffey did in the first year of the contract that his administration negotiated, where the amount spent decreased by over 1 million dollars from the previous year.
But the only major adjustment that Mayor Napolitano and the Democratic City Council called for in the FY09 budget was a pay freeze. Mayor Fung has gotten the police union to agree to a pay freeze, plus only a small raise for next fiscal year — but now the Council and other contract opponents are saying that the pay freeze doesn’t really count as savings. That doesn’t strike me as wholly consistent. I’d appreciate it if the next commenter who says that “this contract is a giveaway” would explain how an 18 month pay freeze, followed by a small increase after that, plus the increased health care co-shares, all with no retroactivity, is a “giveaway”.
If the Democrats on the City Council think that more drastic measures, like layoffs or pay cuts have become necessary, they should inform the public and the Mayor of this. They might also consider providing an explanation of why their eleventh-hour call for “fundamental change” should be seen as anything more than political posturing, when the Democratic Mayor/Democratic Council certainly didn’t act during calendar year 2008 as if changing contract terms scheduled to take effect in July of 2008 was a significant priority.
I don’t think the Cranston City Council has any better idea of what “fundamental change” is this year than they did last year, when they saw no need to act on the police contract. Maybe the Council’s actions are being driven by something that changed between last calendar year and this one; I wonder what that could be?