Letter to the Editor: President of police union reacts to Troup statement on contract negotiations, insurance and residency

Robert Megee

Robert Megee

This is in response to the release from Mayor Mike Troup on July 13, 2023, following the no-confidence vote by the city council and appeal by the members of the PB&PA Unit 12 for expanded residency.

Mayor Troup said the city “chose” not to negotiate in the public. The fact is the city wasn’t negotiating in private either, which is exactly why the contract was moved to arbitration. The city and their legal counsel failed or was extremely delayed in responding to numerous emails from the bargaining unit. In fact, the mayor refused initially in beginning of the process for picking mediators but eventually did. He then delayed the start of picking an arbitrator. Both things, along with all of the emails that went unanswered, delayed the process greatly.

Regarding the statement that the union wanted the city to “maintain the practice of paying police officers not to work on holidays” … this is a practice instituted by the city many years ago to give detectives and detective supervisors off on holidays to avoid paying the holiday pay to those eight people. It’s an actual cost savings to the city that the mayor now wants to reverse, which will cost the city money with these detectives working on those days. 

The reason this was started many years ago is many investigative cases involve follow-up at businesses. Most businesses and banks are closed on most major holidays, which quite frankly meant it was very difficult to get any work done on those days. The city, in a cost-saving measure, told those investigators to stay home on those days rather than wasting taxpayer dollars as it relates to those days. 

This was a policy started by the city — not at any request of the union or its membership — and it has never been questioned by any previous administration until Mayor Troup took office.

The requested insurance language was not necessary prior to Mayor Troup changing the insurance plan with the required contractual notice — an action that members are still feeling the repercussions of today.

His statement that no employee went without insurance coverage is yet another misstatement by the mayor. Members and family members did in fact have lapses in coverage. We would not have known except for the fact we had members and members family go to appointments, only to be told they did not have insurance coverage. This was admitted by the city, so we are unsure why this misstatement would have been included in his statement to the public.

The mayor says residency was not submitted for arbitration. He is aware or should be aware that residency cannot be subject to arbitration. When these negotiations began, residency to try to add qualified officers to fill the void in officers within the Quincy Police Department was not at the level it is now. It has become a critical issue within our department. Our department has lost 20 officers over the last 2 years to retirement, other departments or variety of other reasons. 

Expanding residency by signing the memorandum of understanding presented to the mayor at last week’s council meeting is not only an effort to bring in more qualified individuals who are already certified police officers but to retain the quality officers we currently have. Retention has become as important as recruiting in the current environment, when so many departments are offering sign-on bonuses and other benefits as well as insurance that in many cases cost one-third of what the City of Quincy insurance costs employees. 

A memorandum of understanding is the mechanism to address contractual issues outside of negotiations and has occurred many times in the past on issues both parties agree too.  We urge the mayor to sign the memorandum to alleviate the current strain on our department and its members as soon as possible.

Again, we are at a critical manpower level that has resulted in the current manpower having to cover 247 unfilled shifts and three months with no real end in the near future.

Robert Megee
President
PB&PA Unit 12

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