SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

March 12, 2014

Scanlon: Police contract a win for the city

(Continued)

The community policing stipend is also worthy of comment. As we all know, police officers work three shifts: days, evenings and nights. The starting and ending times of these shifts are fixed and often do not correlate well with the needs of the community for police presence. The community policing stipend in the contract gives the police chief broadly based flexibility to adjust shift hours to meet community needs without incurring overtime.

Now for the “healthy day” issue, it is all about motivation and saving money for the city. Police departments all across the state and beyond suffer from the prospect of sick-leave abuse by some officers who, after working a highly paid detail or time and one-half overtime, have been known to call in sick the next day and take advantage of their sick leave allowance. Healthy day programs create an incentive for more desirable behavior from the city’s viewpoint by reducing sick leave and encouraging officers to use “healthy days” to take their time off when it does not impact minimum manning and, thus, does not require filling those staffing needs with another officer who is being paid time and a half. It is a matter of economics and human motivation.

The recently settled contract is innovative and, compared to the recent Boston settlement, is an extreme bargain for Beverly. It is fair to both sides. Let me conclude by saying that far from being something signed on the way out the door, as the editorial stated, this contract offer lay unchanged in the patrolmen’s union’s hands for several months before it was finally accepted by the union. Many patrolmen were not thrilled with it.

Bill Scanlon

Former mayor

Beverly

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