(This is) in response to John Crawford (R) and Russ Jehl (R) (and their) opinion of collective bargaining and the need to abolish the collective bargaining privilege from the police and firemen’s contracts.
The ordinances are nothing more that a politically motivated party-line fight that puts our police officers and firemen square in the middle of that fight that is based on the premise of saving pennies in the city’s budget. The ordinances that are proposed are intended to take out the collective bargaining agreements from the not-yet-negotiated contracts by the city, and this sends the message to our police and firemen that the city is not going to honor their commitment to bargain in good faith in the future negotiations with the union anyway.
The op-ed coauthored by the two Republican councilmen is nothing more than emotional right-wing propaganda written to scare the residents of Fort Wayne into believing the Republicans’ so-called research, facts and figures and, oh, by the way, the facts are from the Republicans that they are giving us as facts or facts as they see the facts.
Maybe their own facts show the lack of concern for the past few years the spending spree the City Council has been on in their tenure as majority of Republican councilmen. Now our Republican councilmen are concerned with fiscal responsibility when the pennies that can be saved in the city’s budget are hurting our finest public employees.
The real facts are the street patrol officers are short-handed already, and is this not what the last tax increase was to go for, increasing the manpower for police and firemen? Then what was the tax increase for if not to keep the city’s pay scale in line with other cities’ pay scales? The police and firemen work for the retirement benefits that come along with the job; the benefit package is why they work for the wages that are not equal to the risk of the job or in line with other cities the size of Fort Wayne’s wage scale.
I do remember this wage disparity with other cities of Fort Wayne’s size brought up as one of the reasons for the tax increase last fall. We as a city agreed to the past contracts that included the current benefit package, and now our council wants the police and firemen to relinquish a major part of their wages and their future to save us the taxpayers a few pennies of the city’s budget. Yes, this, too, is an emotional response to the silly proposal of an ordinance from our councilmen, but I owe the police and firemen my support for what the street patrol officers and firemen have done and do for me every day. The street patrol officer and firemen put their lives on the line every day and that fact alone is enough.