Barbara's Response to Questions from IBPO
August 21, 2007
To: Officer Edward Saucier, President IBPO Local 378 and
Officer Donald Cummings, President IBPO Local 504
I do seek your endorsement; however, I am compelled to answer
your questions honestly.
My answers are driven by my sense of responsibility to the
residents and taxpayers of the city, especially District 4
which I represent.
The issues you raise are ones that are important to the police
officers and officials, largely from a financial gain perspective.
I believe that city employees should be fairly compensated
for their service to our city, but I do not believe that I
should commit to a stand on issues that are part of the collective
bargaining arena or clearly within the City Manager's authority.
I am, as you are well aware, a strong supporter of the Worcester
Police Department. I have repeatedly advocated for the Police
Chief's presented budget, including overtime, because I believe
that public safety, especially police protection, is a core
municipal service that cannot be denied. I am willing to vote
to raise property taxes above the 2 ½ limit so as to
protect the police budget, this despite clear and understandable
opposition from voters on tax increases. I have supported
the Chief's plan to stabilize the number of officers by putting
on more frequent classes. Community policing has my full support
as does the many activities that the WPD is involved in with
our youth, elderly, and at-risk populations.
Should you choose to endorse me, I will be grateful. If not,
my support for the WPD will continue because I believe that
the WPD's professional work in our neighborhoods is what keeps
Worcester a livable city. I thank you either way.
1. Do you support the Quinn bill? Yes.
2. Do you support coalition bargaining for health insurance?
I don't know enough about this issue to answer the question.
In general I support reduced costs to the city in an efficient
manner. If coalition bargaining does this without negative
side-effects then I would tend to support it. I am not convinced
at this point that this would be the case. I need to study
this more before answering.
3. Do you support fully funding an independent arbitor's
decision? No, although in general the answer is yes. I voted
to reject one of the arbitration decisions regarding the Fire
Department contract and feel that that option must remain
for extreme cases.
4. Do you support off-duty police officers at construction
sites? Yes and No. I believe that detailed guidelines are
needed for determining when uniformed officers are necessary.
While it is certainly true that officers on paid duty have
provided useful service to the community, there are also cases
where officers have appeared to be unnecessary. This is a
point of contention with taxpayers who are asking for reform
on paid details at construction sites. I believe that there
is a middle ground that can provide adequate police presence
where needed on a case-by-case basis.
5. Do you support fully funding retirees Part B costs? I
have gone on record asking the City Manager to find a way
to soften the increased costs facing some of our retirees
being switched to Medicare. The issue is a bit more complex
in that it appears that the city would need to pick up the
$93.50 cost for all retirees, not just the 350-450 retirees
that are affected by the adoption of Section 18. This is a
much more expensive proposition.
6. Do you support fully funding the authorized complement
of the WPD?
This is a budget decision and as such needs to be discussed
within that context each year. I will continue to support
the Chief's recommendation on this issue, while advocating
for a stable number of officers because I believe that it
is in the best interests of the city.
7. Will you support a home rule petition to increase the
COLA? I don't know. I will need to study the impact of this
on our unfunded liabilities. The unfunded liabilities are
substantial and threaten our future viability and must be
considered when deciding things like COLA increases.
Barbara G. Haller
Moving forward together.