FOP responds to Martinson

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On Saturday, I received the following press release from Philip Evans, president of the Tulsa Lodge #93 of Fraternal Order of Police, in response to Tulsa City Councilor Bill Martinson's presentation during the Council's debate on Thursday, June 18, 2009, about the budget. Here is Evans's statement, verbatim:

The Fraternal Order of Police does not normally take an active roll in public theatrical politic, but in light of the attempted coup of Thursday evening's City Council meeting there is actually no choice. When four elected leaders, Counselors:
Westcott, Gomez, Eagleton, and Martinson, actively attempt to get rid of 20% of public safety officers from both the Police and Fire service, the public needs to take notice. There are two main misconceptions that need to be addressed.

The public generally has no idea of how police officers are paid, however, city counselors are not the general public and should be well versed on our system.
Many years ago the City established a "universe of comparable cities", ten cities much like Tulsa in size and population. The goal was to make our wage system comparable to
that of similar cities. The Fraternal Order of Police Negotiations Team struggles to bring Tulsa up to the average wage; but Tulsa currently remains near the bottom of the list. And even remaining low on the list requires spending over $100,000 a year on arbitration, lawyers and forensic accountants. The FOP has been contemplating changing the tactics to just comparing Oklahoma cities instead of a nation wide group. If such happens, Tulsa, being the second largest city in the state, would rank about fifth in wages.

As a result of the last city council meeting, the FOP dissected Mr. Martinson's presentation slide by slide in light of the most currently available data. The FOP believes that the data presented by Martinson was out of date and to the direct benefit of his budget proposal. The below link to the original budget proposal is:

There are some interesting points of data that were available, yet were "hidden" from his presentation. Most 2008 crime data was available, but Martinson chose not to present it since the outcomes were antithetical to his point.

For example, slide 48:
Violent crime, 1997: 4,596
Violent crime, 2007: 4,552

But in 2008, there were 4,992 violent crimes--from the data in Martinson's own presentation. That's an 8% INCREASE IN CRIME. Also, Martinson cites a "73% explainable variation" co-relation of unemployment and crimes on slide 30. Crime peaked when unemployment hit 6.5 in 2003.
The Tulsa World just reported that Tulsa's crime rate is now 6.3%.

If Martinson's historical perspective is true, then we should prepare for increased crime according to the same variation. On Martinson's own terms, the "historical variation" suggests about 31,500 crimes will occur--versus the 28,500 he portrayed in 2007.
So, that would portend a 10% CRIME INCREASE. According to Martinson's proposal we would have to fight 10% more crime--with 149 fewer officers. There are many issues with the actions of Thursday's night City Council Meeting. The Fraternal Order of Police believes the public needs to be aware of the course the four councilors were attempting to chart. If the Mr. Martinson would have received one more vote, the Citizens would have woken up July 1, 2009 with 149 fewer police officers, and approximately 120 fewer fire fighters.

Councilor G. T. Bynum, who voted for the Mayor's budget, wrote previously that "under our contracts [with police officers and firefighters] we can't reduce salaries/benefits so the result of [Martinson's] proposal would have been to lay off 20% of our police and firefighting forces.

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Ackja said:

"Many years ago the City established a 'universe of comparable cities', ten cities much like Tulsa in size and population. The goal was to make our wage system comparable to that of similar cities."

Yes, it's a feedback loop. Every city's police union uses this same method to constantly ratchet up wages. Ours aren't as high as San Antonio's, so we get a raise. Then San Antonio's FOP argues theirs aren't as high as Tulsa's, so they get a raise, and on and on . . . .

There are no real market constraints. This method insures constantly rising wages, without regard to city revenues and without regard to actual local job market competition (as evidenced by the fact that thousands apply for a handful of police and fire jobs each year).

Jeff Shaw Author Profile Page said:

I wonder if there are any studies that discuss why crime rates go up and down. Surely there must be. I wonder if crime rates fluctuate without regard to the number of police.

I would suspect that when the average person calls a police the crime has already happened.

How is that prevention? Does it make any difference if there are 200 or 205 police officers?

The gut feeling I get is the same one I got when the UAW's Ron Gettelfinger wasn't making concessions with GM last year: "They are not there to help, only looking out for the union."

Now the UAW owns part of GM. Perhaps we ought to sell the Police department to the FOP.

David V Author Profile Page said:

Martinson added a lot of fresh perspective last week. But he presented important data too late.

This whole council process has become a "hurry up court", ever since Taylor came to office.

We should have a deiberative process with time for constituents, unions, civic groups, and businesses to present responses to information presented in the manner that Martinson did.

I'm just thrilled that Martinson showed some signs of independant thought.

Some communist govts. have more open dialogue than what I've witnessed in some of our municipal decision making.

P.S. That 7+ million that Kathy Taylor gave to BOK would really help pay police budget gaps right now. FOP endorsement for Martinson I guess.

moogle Author Profile Page said:

I'm sure Mr. Bates has been around the software development business long enough to have seen shops that paid their programmers well and ended up being basket cases eventually unable to pay their bills. And there have been shops that paid their programmers the industry rate, were very productive, and made a profit.

The typical ignoramus might conclude this proves it makes no difference what you pay programmers. That ignoramus might even go so far as to prepare a Powerpoint presentation explaning how it makes no difference what you pay programmers.

Somebody with at least half a brain knows it does make a difference what you pay (up to a point), but there are other factors involved besides pay. Factors like competent versus incompetent management; managemant which works for the best interests of the company versus a bunch of good old boys looking out for themselves.

Speaking of management, that brings us to the city management -- folks like Martinson -- and crime rates relative to police pay. I have no idea if the TPD pay is outrageous. I'm pretty sure that isn't why the city finances are a mess. And I'm pretty sure crime rates are more closely related to the competence and integrity of city management than with police pay. But that doesn't mean it makes no difference what you pay people.

A quick look at the Wikipedia entry for Tulsa shows an abysmal growth rate for Tulsa relative to the growth rate of this area since 1970. Tulsa's decade growth rates are worse than the annual growth rates for the surrounding burbs. We'll be lucky to break even for this decade. If we manage to come out even, the steady increase in the percentage of Tulsa Public School students on the free or subsidized lunch program (currently around 80 percent) suggests the population Tulsa is keeping is shifting towards lower income.

Somebody mentioned a feedback loop in the previous topic. Tulsa has had a feedback loop going for decades where increasing crime and increasing numbers of section 8 trolls dumping their kids on the public school have been driving flight to the burbs, which makes the problem worse, which further drives flight, which etc. etc.

It is my opinion this feedback loop was started and has been continuously maintained by good old boy city management which sacrificed the long term health of the city for the short term gain of powers that be. That is why the city budget is in the toilet, not because of police pay. Tulsa should have experienced far more growth than it has -- in population, business, and ->tax revenue

When asked what he intends to do about this feedback loop, the best Martinson can come up with is to bellyache about police pay. Notta thing in the world wrong with city management, it's those durn unions what caused all the ruckus.

The standard response to mismanagement in the IT industry is for incompetent management to lay the blame on runaway employee costs and outsource to China. I expect we'll be getting a proposal from Martinson that Tulsa should start importing Chinese police officers.

(Now, outsourcing the prison population to China is an idea worth considering.)

David V Author Profile Page said:

QUOTE: "...When four elected leaders, Counselors:
Westcott, Gomez, Eagleton, and Martinson, actively attempt to get rid of 20% of public safety officers from both the Police and Fire service, the public needs to take notice..."

Statements like these are really irritating.
Not because they are so illogical, but because the FOP is picking a fight. They're taunting.

This is the thanks a guy gets for bringing up a discussion that is about a month overdue.

I'd vote down a budget process that lacked the time and care to allow informed perspectives to be addressed.

So why did the FOP launch this trash attack on 4 councilors after the budget is passed? Its not because they lost the vote. Its because they aren't secure in the power of their logical arguments.

I am losing more and more respect for the FOP as a political entity.

Others have rightly pointed out the "feedback loop" in this forum.

You'd think by the FOP statement that they're saying 4 councilors voted for more murders and rapes. Its about a big a cheap shot as to say "I think the FOP is more concerned about losing 147 member's union dues they'd have to go without."

Are we enjoying the cheapshots yet?

Perhaps a TPD audit and citizens' commission on budgeting priorities would be the rational way to bring more light into where the citizens' money is going.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 22, 2009 7:59 AM.

Mayor's budget approved 5-4 was the previous entry in this blog.

PLANiTULSA "Which Way Tulsa?" still open for voting is the next entry in this blog.

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