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Kozachik: Budget rift with police is unproductive

In an "Open Letter to Constituents," Councilman Steve Kozachik attempted to dial down the rhetoric between him and Tucson's police union over proposed budget-balancing measures. "The rank and file men and women who work for police and fire deserve our respect and our support. They have mine – and I have an obligation to balance that support with budget decisions that will allow us to operate the city."... Read more»

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May 3, 2014, 8:25 am
-3 +0

I know from personal experience that the sick leave sellback program helps the budget situation, as opposed to making it worse.  When a firefighter calls in sick, he is replaced by one on overtime.  They have constant staffing.  This means it costs fifty percent more to cover the shift.  Sick leave is for when you are sick, but sometimes there is a difference between being so sick you can’t do the job, and sick enough not to want to come to work.  It is not all about illness, but often in police and fire about injury.  Going to work with a sore shoulder as a clerk might not be a problem, but as a first responder in might be. 

Also, this program was developed more than ten years ago to find a way to increase compensation for public safety workers to attract the high quality that we want and to keep from losing our best to other agencies. One of the questions during the negotiations was how do we do this without just passing out money, but do it in a way that recognizes performance, or at least, attendance.  This allowed the city to recognize those employees who came to work. 

I hope the councilman will rethink his position.  If he is successful, I predict the change will cost money in the end, and reduce service to the community.

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