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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  Editorials    >    Not So Fast Home News and Tribune


Police and
Law Enforcement News

Not So Fast Home
News and Tribune

Thursday, February 1, 2007 12:00 a.m.

On January 27th the Home News and Tribute published an editorial in which they blasted the Perth Amboy PBA and accused them of being responsible for the layoffs of eight Perth Amboy police officers that occurred last week.  The piece was entitled Eight Men Out Police Union's Fault.


A few paragraphs from the article:

Eight Perth Amboy police officers are without jobs today for no better or more complicated reason than their union leaders are stubborn to a fault.

City Hall called for the positions to be eliminated in the fall, along with 12 firefighters' jobs, when it became apparent that revenues for the upcoming 2007 municipal budget would fall short. Rather than treat the layoffs as a done deal, however, city officials made it clear the jobs could be saved if the police and fire unions were willing to accept some contract concessions.

The fire union, mindful of the city's precarious financial position, sat down and worked out a deal. The agreement didn't take much. Affected firefighters were able to keep their jobs by deferring two years of salary increases, freeing up $311,859 to help balance next year's budget. The cuts were painful, it's true, but fair, given the difficulty of the times.

The police union could have taken a similar deal. In fact, it had agreed to a compromise, but union leaders later reneged on that handshake.

Mayor Joseph Vas is fuming over that broken promise. And in his defense, he has every reason to stew. So do the eight cops who were left out in the cold by their so-called union brothers. In the end, PBA leaders were willing to sacrifice all eight just so union chiefs could look tough in preparation for the next time negotiations roll around. Vanity played a part, too.

Christopher Croes, president of Police Benevolent Association Local 13, said the city could have pursued other avenues to prevent the layoffs. "Ultimately, it was the city's decision to lay off the officers," he claimed.

Baloney. It was his and his negotiating team's choice.

Because of it, a city and its citizens lose.

Eh, not so fast.

“Take concessions or we will lay some of you off.”

This is one of the oldest management ruses in the book. It’s a fantastic method to fracture unity within a union membership.

Fortunately, most business administrators are ethical and we don’t see this used much anymore. And, really, there is just no reason for it.

Think about it.  When a municipality or any organization pulls this stunt, usually one of two things is happening: Either they’re trying to remedy their own financial disaster brought on by poor manpower planning or they’re using an ultra-slimy negotiating tactic. 

We're not at all saying that this was the case here, but we are saying that a bright-line strategy of accepting concessions when faced with the threat of layoffs would be absolutely disastrous.

FOP and PBA locals have spent the past three decades negotiating law enforcement from the food stamps line to a decent living.  Perhaps we should stick to what has been working rather than accept collective bargaining advice from the media.

In all fairness, we concede that we're not privy to the behind-the-scenes details of these layoffs.  However, the City of Perth Amboy needs to be very careful in setting their priorities. There is a reason that this city needs 125 police officers.

Perth Amboy has almost 50,000 people squeezed into a 4 ˝ square-mile patch of land. It is a very busy town with a very busy police department, and their gang problem is only getting worse.

On January 15th the city laid off eight police officers to save money. Nine days later the city accepted a one-million-dollar bid to modernize an already built waterfront park.

It's got to make you think.

Getting back to the editorial, it seemed to have more bitter references toward police than it needed.  Perhaps the negative slant against the Perth Amboy police union had more to do with the author's true feelings toward law enforcement rather than his sudden concern for eight laid off cops.

Then again, maybe we're full of "baloney" too.

If any of the laid off officers are reading this and need assistance getting picked up, please email us and we'll do what we can to help.

Thursday, February 1, 2007 12:00 a.m.




Once again, Police and their unions don't seem to understand that They have got to get Their side of the story out to the public, whether it's during contract negotiations or a new ordinance. The "blue wall' of silence does not work in these situations. What the heck, I can't tell if the editorial is Fair & Balanced, but I'd like a neutral "3rd party" to tell me What is True. I don't have that here. And guys, let's not be so thin-skinned about criticism. This was not an anti-law enforcement stance, it was about a bungled contract negotiation strategy. These issues should have been addressed and discussed and reported to the community Way before push came to shove, leading to layoffs. Sure it's a tough job, but you knew that when you joined. What the heck, you can always become a teacher.


In regards to the Home News Tribune they are in the business to sell papers not the truth.  This is sad as often a spin on scandal or wrong doing is over stated to sell papers.  They love us when they want something but the police have all to often been the media's favorite whipping boy.


Those officers could not be counting on the layoffs.  That makes no sense.  The PBA must make concessions to keep these officers working. These same union leaders would take concessions if there job was at stake.   


The officers that were laid off asked the union to stay out of it as they had received promises of new jobs, all at higher pay, in the event of layoffs.  Those officers, in fact were counting on the layoffs.


You can never give in to this style of negotiations. It is like talking with terrorist. How would you know in six months they don't come back again and ask for more? Remember this was after two years of without a contract. The Home News Tribune missed the mark.


It's a sad state of affairs and I feel for my brother officers who are out of work. For those of us who have jobs that are "secure" now's a good time to remember how lucky we are.


It's a shame that the police and fire department couldn't remain united.  It might have helped.  Good luck to the officers.




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