Police union should share in economic pain - East Valley Tribune: News

Police union should share in economic pain

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Posted: Thursday, July 30, 2009 1:18 pm | Updated: 2:19 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Our View: Martin Bihn, a lawyer for the Chandler Lieutenants and Sergeants Association, sounded mighty arrogant when he presumed it would be the city that faces public shame in a showdown with the union over merit pay.

Martin Bihn, a lawyer for the Chandler Lieutenants and Sergeants Association, sounded mighty arrogant when he presumed it would be the city that faces public shame in a showdown with the union over merit pay.

Tribune writer Ari Cohn reported earlier this week that CLASA was prepared to challenge in court plans to suspend a process that turns merit pay into permanent raises for union members. Chandler simply wants to offer merit pay as one-time bonuses, which may or may not continue next year, as part of the city's efforts to hold down expenses and to balance its budget.

"CLASA and I sincerely hope to avoid the negative publicity attendant to this sort of litigation as well as the embarrassment to the City when it loses," Bihn wrote to the city.

Police unions receive relatively good support in a state that always has featured widespread anti-union sentiment. But police unions certainly aren't immune to public backlash when they make outrageous demands in bad economic times.

One Mesa police union, for example, has generated a lot of public anger as it pushes an expensive (and so far losing) court battle to force that city to pay officers while dressing for work at home.

Every other Chandler employee, including fellow police officers, is facing some kind of pay reduction or wage freeze this year. Of course, this mirrors the economic pain that is being endured by most Chandler residents.

But the 48 members of CLASA were insisting they alone should be completely immune to the community's fiscal woes. Shame on them.

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