Money for that police raise

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Mayor Kathy Taylor is busy trying to wash her hands of any tough decision-making on giving Tulsa police officers the raise that the arbitrator says they deserve. In the Tulsa Whirled today she's quoted as saying:

"So far, I'm pretty disappointed that the police haven't come to help me develop a solution to this problem," the mayor said. "We need to work as a team to figure it out."

She said the "easiest thing would be to accept the raise and not figure out how to pay for it long term, but that is not the fiscally responsible thing to do."

Taylor said she has asked Police Chief Dave Been and the FOP leadership to provide information by Sept. 1 on how to pay for their raise, but hasn't gotten a detailed analysis. She said she plans to call on them again.

"This shouldn't just be up to the mayor to figure out when the FOP and the chief are running the Police Department," she said.

It's hard not to hear a peevish, passive-aggressive tone in that comment.

It's the Mayor's job, as head of the City's executive branch, to allocate the City's financial resources to fit our priorities and meet our obligations. She has a finance department to help her with that task. She's already punted once on serious budget work this year, opting for a utility rate increase instead of limiting the growth of the city budget to the rate of inflation.

A couple of people have suggested a source of funds worth considering: The money currently used to pay the Tulsa Metro Chamber for convention and tourism promotion and economic development. Not all of the money, mind you, just the additional percentage of the hotel/motel tax that the Chamber has been granted every year since the late '80s.

It is reasonable to argue that nothing is more important to Tulsa's ability to attract conventions, tourists, and new businesses, and to retain existing businesses and attract the labor pool they need to grow and thrive, than to get violent crime in Tulsa under control. And to do that we need to retain our best police officers and attract high-quality additions to the force.

I'm pleased to see that four of the City Councilors are backing the raise. It seems to me that the Council could on its own initiative pass a budget amendment to make the funds available for the raise, then appropriate the funds. If the Mayor approves the budget amendment and appropriation, the raise would go in without the need for an election. The election would only go forward if the Mayor vetoed the raise.


Roy said:

Passive agressive peevishness? Exactly.

Job of gov't: restrain meanness. Not job of gov't: build islands. Police is a legitimate expense of gov't. How many police, their training and pay level, and how to obtain and allocate the necessary resources central to function of gov't.

But Taylor does not want to take responsibility for costs that compete with other expenditures of city gov't. Ie, she wants to have her cake (police force) and eat it, too (blame others for costs, continue spending elsewhere = instead of lessening costs elsewhere and spending for police, have both).

Which will make the vote (which is coming, btw) tough. Since the options won't be: 1) do your job, mayor, make the tough choices y/n, but will be 2) want police and safety or not?

Roy said:

ps: The council could make the funds available. It could bypass the mayoral evasion. But its members will follow the political path of no responsibility for gov't's actual job in order to continue advancing agendas of other jobs. The council will default to a vote of the people.

bob said:

"It's hard not to hear a peevish, passive-aggressive tone in that comment. "

So that is the politically correct term for bitchiness these days?

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 18, 2006 9:43 PM.

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