Letter to the Editor: President of police union thanks citizens for support, asks them to contact aldermen about contract negotiations
To the citizens of Quincy,
My name is Robert MeGee. I am a City of Quincy police officer, and I am the president of the PB&PA Unit No. 12, the bargaining union that represents all city police officers except for Chief Adam Yates, Deputy Chief Mike Tyler and Deputy Chief Travis Wiemelt. The three chiefs are not represented by the union.
I wrote this letter in the performance of my duties as the police department’s union president to inform the citizens of Quincy of happenings between the police union and the City of Quincy administration.
I want to make a couple of things clear.
- This is not an attack piece. In this letter will be facts which can and have been backed up by documentation. I will speak of a phone conversation — which, of course, I cannot prove that everything said in that conversation was actually said because it was not recorded. I, however, do have a witness to this conversation, and that witness can verify what I have written.
- When I mention the city administration, I am not speaking of our police chiefs. As union president, I can tell you any dealings I have had with Yates, Tyler and Wiemelt have been nothing but exceptional. These three gentlemen have treated our union members with respect, kindness and professionalism that you would expect from our police leadership. Your police chiefs have shown empathy towards the officers they oversee, and they also have already proved they are willing to hold officers accountable for their actions. I would hope we can all agree the accountability is huge. Accountability is how we keep our department running and running to the standards this community comes to expect.
- There have been several issues when trying to negotiate with Mayor (Mike) Troup and his administration. However, we are currently not negotiating anything with the city. Our union contract expired on May 1, 2021. We are still working under the terms of that contract. Our negotiation process has halted. We are set to go to arbitration with the city in reference to contact issues.
I want to update the citizens of Quincy about issues that have risen during the past month or so.
Nick Eddy, the union vice president, filed a grievance Dec. 14 with the city in reference to health insurance not following the union contract. The grievance was passed through Tyler, Yates and then on to the city’s human resources director. Once the grievance documents were provided, the city had 10 days to respond to that grievance. The city chose not to do that. In fact, the city did not respond at all to that grievance. Therefore, our union lawyers filed a lawsuit against the city with the Illinois Labor Relations Board.
I filed a grievance Jan. 9 with the city in reference to police officers not having health and vision insurance. All officers who paid for vision insurance did not have coverage, and some officers found they did not have health insurance, according to Blue Cross Blue Shield — the city’s primary insurance provider.
Today (Friday, January 20) was the 10-day mark for this grievance response from the city. The city also failed to respond to this grievance, which I find disturbing. because Mayor Troup and I had a 49-minute phone conversation during which he was told about this grievance. The mayor also read a local news article about the grievance and provided that news organization’s comments. During my phone conversation with the mayor, we talked about communication issues and not wanting to negotiate through the media.
These issues are not negotiations. These issues are clear contract violations resulting in the city not responding to a union grievance. The city administration either believes the police union does not deserve its response or is just flat-out refusing to respond.
I ask of you, the citizens of Quincy, to please reach out to your aldermen, alderwomen or the mayor’s office. Let them know what every single Quincy Police Officer knows. Let them know you support us, and you want this lack of caring, lack of communication and poor leadership to end. Please do that for your police officers.
We are frustrated. It feels like the city administration does not support us. We miss our families and our friends. We are being forced to cover shifts that there are not enough officers for. We worry about our co-workers’ safety due to our manpower being stretched to its limits.
However, we will not fail you. In your time of need, when you dial 9-1-1, your Quincy police officers will be there for you and your family day or night, rain or sunshine — and if we must, we will give our last breath for you. This silent oath for the citizens of Quincy has been passed down by generations of Quincy police officers to your current officers, along with our public oath that we make in front of the City Council at our swearing-in ceremony.
On behalf of every Quincy police officer, thank you. Your continued support means the world to us. We know how lucky we are not only to represent you and the City of Quincy but also how lucky we are to have the support of this great community.
Thank you and God Bless,
Officer Robert MeGee
Quincy Police Department
President, PB&PA Unit No. 12
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