Will the SFPD Forgo Raises?

Categories: Politics
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Is he a politician or not?
One of the reasons why so many people like Mayor Ed Lee is because he has that understated aura of being nonpolitical. But in reality, the mayor is rather good at the sport of politics, and he's even better at down playing it.

A clear example of this is when he made the trade with the powerful police union last month. He appointed Greg Suhr as the new chief, just as the union wanted, and now he's asking for his payback -- literally.

Not even a month after Lee appointed Suhr, the tears of joy and the back-patting party is over -- Lee is asking the newly minted chief to get to work, and that doesn't entail fighting crime.

As the Examiner reports this morning, Suhr's biggest job now is persuading his rank and file to defer approved raises and give back some $10 million to help stave off another mind-boggling deficit.

San Francisco cops are slated to get $14.5 million in raises this fiscal year, the Ex reports, and the Police Officers Association is reportedly, and understandably, reticent about giving up these bonuses.  Here is where the wildly popular Suhr enters. Lee partly chose him as chief because he knew Suhr -- being supported among rank and file -- could help him cajole police officers into giving back those raises.

A City Hall insider told SF Weekly after Suhr was appointed, that the new chief was a bargaining chip -- and Gary Delagnes, the president of the union, admitted as much to reporters. But Suhr came at a high price, and our source warned at the time that rank and file would not be happy about having to give back millions.

"Basically, the union held the city hostage and said, 'Here is the deal. You want us to play ball on givebacks and pensions, then you give us the chief we want,'" our source told us.

And that makes Mayor Lee a politician.

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My Voice Nation Help

Hows about a follow-up Erin? Or perhaps just a bit more reporting like f'rinstance, is it at all realistic to expect that Greg Suhr, "wildly popular" though he may be (and why would that be?) could simply by force of personality influence thousands of the rank and file to forego a contractually guaranteed raise?  In other words, why would the vast majority of police officers be so enraptured by the appointment of Greg Suhr, and his commensurate increase in pay of over $100,000 per year (pensionable of course) that they themselves would forget their obligations to their families and give up a pay raise when the entire political apparatus of the City is, to one extent or another, working to take a big bite out of their paychecks come November with various pension-reform initiatives? You've gotta stop taking the easy way out just to make deadline. Forget your "source", and talk to cops. Unless Delagnes has agreed to rig any election (which is necessary) seeking to amend the existing contract, then it just ain't gonna happen.

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