Police Chief Breaks Silence

The day San Jose Inside readers have been patiently waiting for has arrived. The busiest guy in town finally turned in his answers to questions that were submitted back in October. After we detailed how a Q&A with the chief went wrong last Friday, Moore sprang into action with a 4,501-word email. Below are the questions and answers, preceded by an apology from Moore to readers for the delay. We’re sure all of you will understand.

Chief Moore: First, let me begin by thanking all of those whom submitted questions on this forum. I appreciate the opportunity to respond directly to those who sincerely care about the future of public safety in our city.  Although my responses have been delayed due to events of the past month, I felt that the questions deserved more than a one or two line response. I apologize for the delay and look forward to answering whatever questions people have about our police department.

I would also like to invite those with questions to listen to the monthly KLIV town hall radio show during which I take questions live on the air. Many of the questions submitted here (and my responses) have been addressed on previous shows and are available on the KLIV website. If anyone has further questions about these topics (or others), please feel free to email them to me at chief.sjpd@sanjoseca.gov. You can remain anonymous if you wish, but as those who have worked around me for the past 29 years will tell you, I respect candor and appreciate those who stand up, identify themselves and speak their mind—even if you think I may not like what you have to say.

1. What are you doing differently from Rob Davis to make sure officers understand how to work with San Jose’s diverse population—and with mentally ill residents?
Curious

During the selection process for my position, the City Manager sought and received an unprecedented amount of community input concerning the state of the Department’s collective relationship with the community. What she found was that many segments of the community felt completely disconnected from the Police Department. Furthermore, she found that these same people wanted a stronger relationship with the Department but did not know how to accomplish that. What became abundantly clear to me was that, even though we are one of the finest police departments in the country, we had a blind spot.

We needed a mechanism to engage our broader community and to be able to receive constructive feedback about how we do business. As one of my first acts as Chief, I invited a broad group of community leaders to serve on a newly formed Community Advisory Board (CAB). The CAB, which includes both critics of the department as well as supporters, meets on a regular basis to provide feedback to the command staff and me. Most recently, they have been asked to help develop a comprehensive community policing plan for San Jose. These community leaders have been incredibly helpful in allowing us to hear and understand community concerns quickly and be able to resolve concerns more quickly than in the past.

We have also updated our racial profiling policy to reflect a more comprehensive and best practice bias-based policing policy.  The new policy covers officer conduct throughout the course of the entire stop, rather than just at the point of the initial stop.
       
We continue to operate our Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program, which trains our officers to safely interact with mentally ill people in the field.  Our dispatchers continue to be trained in CIT as well, which assists them in assessing the need to dispatch CIT officers to calls involving the potential for a confrontation with a mentally ill person.  We currently have 210 officers who have received CIT training and we have just trained an additional 39 officers and dispatchers in the past few weeks.  

2. You have stripped personnel from investigations to staff patrol, creating a situation where very few reported crimes will get the necessary follow up investigation. Why didn’t you redistrict the patrol division and scale it back to 12 districts again? This would have eliminated the need for the Southern Division command structure. If part of the reason is the inability to quickly and efficiently reprogram the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system, why was this system implemented, and wasn’t this done on your watch in Bureau of Technical Services (BTS)?
Joe

It is no secret that our Department is experiencing the most difficult fiscal crisis in our 162-year history.  In our last budget cycle alone, we had to eliminate 183 sworn police officer positions.  When you add the cuts from the previous four years, we have seen our sworn ranks reduced from a high of 1,409 to our current level of just under 1,100. This represents a 22% reduction in our sworn strength. We cannot let this pattern continue. The safety of our community depends on having a sufficient number of well-trained officers to protect and preserve our quality of life. That said, when our $30 million budget reduction target was presented to us earlier this year, we had to identify deep cuts.

Last November, we conducted a number of town hall-style meetings within the Department to seek input on how to best structure our proposed cuts while doing our best to maintain our core service of responding to 911 calls for service. During these meetings, our staff came up some great suggestions that were included in the budget. As a result, we eliminated a number of positions within the Bureau of Investigations and consolidated several of its units.

As for redistricting, a good rule of thumb is that we should redistrict every ten years.  The redistricting process allows us to even out the calls for service across all of the beats and districts in the city. This has become particularly important as the City has annexed a number of county pockets in the past few years. In an ideal world, we would have gone through this process last year. However, given the tremendous budget uncertainty, I felt that it was best for us to wait so that we could stabilize our work force and determine exactly how many sworn personnel we will have available to put into the field.  We have already reduced our command staff from 52 lieutenants to 37.  This effectively means that we are deploying a command staff as if we had three patrol divisions, and not the four that currently exist.  It’s important to remember that regardless of how many districts we have, we still need an adequate number of officers deployed to serve a growing population and patrol the same geographic area.

3. Why is the police department still handwriting reports or at minimum having to produce hard copies of each one? There has been a quest to implement a new RMS and VFR system since 1998 and not one has been implemented. What are you doing to rectify this problem, and will you hold people accountable if this system proves unworkable yet again?
Eddie

While the San Jose Police Department does continue to hand-write many reports, we are currently in the process of transitioning to an Automated Field Reporting / Records Management System (AFR/RMS).  After several years of applying for various grants, we have secured the necessary funds, selected the vendor (Versaterm) and have begun the implementation phase of the project.

AFR/RMS will allow officers to complete their reports on computers in their patrol vehicles and then submit them electronically, thus eliminating the need for paper reports.  The automated features in the new system will also remove several steps in the routing process, which are currently being done manually by civilian records personnel.  It will also allow patrol officers immediate access to crime/suspect data much faster than ever before. 

We currently have a team of both civilian and sworn personnel dedicated to implementing this critical project.  We anticipate that the new system will be deployed next year.  This will greatly increase the efficiency of the Department.  Though some specialized forms (such as those used by multiple agencies) will still be in hard copy form, our Department will finally become “paperless.” 

We have also introduced a number of other new technologies in the past few years which have helped us become much more efficient. Our Mobile ID program helps us identify suspects more quickly than ever before. Our electronic citation system is faster for officers and greatly reduces the error/kickback rate.  In addition, our GPS-based priority dispatch protocol has significantly reduced our priority one response times. These technology projects (and others) are crucial to ensure that we become as efficient as possible with the few officers that we have left to protect the public.

4. Chief Davis said the city of San Jose needs about 1,700 officers to stay on par with the national average. Today there are fewer than 1,100 officers. It seems possible that this number could easily get down to 800-900 officers. How do you anticipate the department will function at that level? Thanks for agreeing to answer tough questions in this column.
— question

The short answer to your question is that with less staffing, we must prioritize how we provide services.  Our main priorities now are reducing and preventing violent crime, as well as responding to 9-1-1 emergency calls.  Obviously, with the bulk of our resources going toward these two priorities, many other low-level crimes/tasks may not be given the same attention they once were. 

Our sworn staffing level currently sits at approximately 1,100 officers.  This is extremely low for a city of our size.  To go any lower than this level would be, I believe, dangerous for both the community and the Department.  I have voiced this to the Mayor, City Council and the City Manager. Optimally, a city of one million residents should have at least 2,000 cops. While I know we do not have the funds to maintain a force of that size, we must ensure that we go no lower than we are today.

5. How can we everyday citizens assist our police department through community policing?  Also, please give us an idea of what NOT to do when we see a crime in progress. Thank you.
Kathleen

Kathleen, thank you for all of your good work in the community.  Now more than ever, it is important for our residents to get involved in keeping their community safe.  There are a number of ways residents can help our Police Department.  First and foremost—get to know your neighbors. It is amazing how many of our residents have never met their neighbors. Second, keep an eye on your neighborhood and report crime and suspicious activity.  Often times, when residents see something they think is out of the ordinary or suspicious, their instincts are right! Though we realize that not everyone has the time to organize a formal neighborhood watch group, we do encourage communicating with your neighbors and even meeting periodically to discuss neighborhood issues.  We also encourage you to invite the officer who patrols your beat.

Lastly, if you see a crime in progress, dial 9-1-1 and report it to the police.  We ask that you be a good witness and supply details to responding officers. Providing good, descriptive information such as license plate numbers can go a long way in helping us solve crimes and taking criminals off the streets. 

6. What percentage of police officers live more than 50 miles from San Jose? San Jose has reduced its police officers to a level that barely covers the city during normal times. In the event of an major disaster or emergency that affects thousands of residents, how many of the officers living beyond 50 miles, with roads blocked/airports closed, will be able to respond for duty within four hours to a major emergency like a earthquake, explosion, chemical/toxic spill, etc.? What are the city’s emergency plans, if any, to supplement city police force now that we have significantly reduced police force if other police department/mutual aid are also engaged in disaster or emergency work in their cities and are unable to assist San Jose?
Concerned D6 Neighbor

While we do have many officers that live within the City of San Jose, there are also many who live in outside jurisdictions.  There are a number of factors that go into an officer’s decision on where to settle down. These factors include the cost of living, the housing market, and other family considerations.  While we do not actively track exactly how many officers live outside the city at any given time, the percentage is close to 50%. Regardless of their residence location, all of our employees are expected to adhere to a Department policy which subjects them to call back during a major emergency or natural disaster. As a side note, I have recently spoken to a few officers that have moved back to San Jose from outside of the city. With housing prices dropping in San Jose and the increased costs associated with long commutes, it has become more cost-effective for them to live in San Jose.

To address your question regarding how we would supplement our forces if they were severely depleted in the event of an emergency, there are several options available to us.  These options include mutual aid requests from other local agencies, as well as State and Federal emergency management assistance.  For example, the National Guard is capable of airlifting emergency personnel to trouble spots during emergencies as they did following the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake.  I vividly remember boarding a California Air Guard helicopter that transported my unit to Santa Cruz to assist in their disaster response. As in any emergency situation, our first responder community will be there when needed.

7. You ordered ICE agents to go home. You stated the reason was because the ICE agents did their job and stopped gang homicides “completely” (no gang-related homicides since June, the same time the ICE partnership began). How many “gangbangers” did ICE deport to achieve this milestone?
Where to Start?

I am sincerely thankful for the service of the two Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents that worked with our gang investigators this past summer. While working at SJPD, these two agents were not involved in administrative deportations. Their work was largely analytical in that they helped identify patterns and provided “another set of eyes” on our violent gang cases.  However, the bulk of the heavy lifting in our gang suppression efforts this year was done by our Special Operations METRO Unit.  Between early June and late August, the METRO Unit was responsible for over 300 arrests, the majority of which were gang related.  Additionally, our Patrol Division gang cars made some excellent arrests that helped keep the violence down. As a result of these collective efforts, we did not have a single gang-related homicide from June 14th through the beginning of the school year.

8. A couple of weeks ago, on at least two different occasions, you told officers that if the sick time buyout was lost/taken away you were going to retire because you could not afford the loss of $200,000.00+ dollars (the value of your sick time). In light of the POA’s recent pension proposal to the city—it does away with the sick time buyout—are you going to retire if the city accepts the POA’s proposal?
Where to Start?

I, along with all other City employees, am paying close attention to the pension reform negotiations currently underway at City Hall.  Every one of our city employees will be facing some tough decisions as the presumed ballot measure takes its final form. Many senior staff throughout the city are waiting to see what the final ballot language says before they make any retirement decisions. As for me, I am proud to have served in the San Jose Police Department for over 26 years. Although I am eligible to retire, I enjoy my job very much and I hope to stay for several more years.    

9. Can you tell me how many supervisor/command staff positions have been demoted a step in rank and pay as a result of officers being laid off? How many detective positions have been cut as a result of officers being sent back to patrol in order to meet minimum staffing levels?
Richard

As part of the FY 2011-12 budget, we had to demote 15 Sergeants and lay off 63 officers.  As a result of recent retirements and officers leaving to work for other agencies, we have been able to re-promote 6 sergeants, and have offered reinstatement  to all but 16 of the laid-off officers.  Unfortunately, many of those offered their old positions back have declined because of the potential for being laid off once again.

As for the detective positions, we eliminated 61 investigative positions in order to maintain patrol staffing levels.  This shift in resources allows us to keep our response times closer to our targets. However, with 61 fewer investigators, our focus will be on following up on violent crimes and we will have to triage property crime cases and investigate only those that have significant solvability factors.  Unfortunately, as I have stated publicly, some low-level crimes may not get investigated at all. 

10. Many voters and residents do not understand the working relationship between police chief and your boss, the city manager. Please explain how much or little the city manager affects police department policy, budget, police procedures, salary/benefits or administrative issue.
— Wondering

Under our City Charter, the City Manager is an appointee of the Mayor and City Council.  I, along with all of the other department heads, report to the City Manager, Debra Figone.  I enjoy a good working relationship with her and, contrary to the belief of some, she has been very supportive of the Police Department.  She allows all of her department heads tremendous autonomy, but like all those who are ultimately held accountable, she needs to be kept informed of significant events occurring in our city. With respect to employee discipline, the Director of Employee Relations has been delegated the final authority for suspensions, demotions, and dismissals. As for pay and benefits, these items are negotiated with the various bargaining units through the Office of Employee Relations.

Thanks again for your patience,

Chris Moore
Chief of Police

24 Comments

  1. “Optimally, a city of one million residents should have at least 2,000 cops. While I know we do not have the funds to maintain a force of that size, we must ensure that we go no lower than we are today.”

    How can you guarantee this when you have no academy and cannot control how many retire and leave for better jobs.

    • Figone wants 900 cops.  At leasts he admitted 2,000 is the need.  It is a pipe dream with Figone and Reed around but it should still be publicly stated.

  2. I had to wait that long for those pathetic answers. Chief, you are a incompitant, useless and waste of city money. Your answer regarding the city manager sounds as if it came strait out of her mouth! More proof that you are indeed her puppet! Nobody in our community who support the “TRUE” police officers as well as the officers themselves have any respect for you or Figone! Those questions were weak and you were able to answer them even weaker! Just go away already and cash in your sick time!

  3. Chief Moore,

    Why do you not stand up and answer this question:

    Mayor and City Council Members           Agenda June 21, 2011
                          Item#  3.11)b)

    RE: Pension Reform

    Dear Mayor Reed and Councilmember’s:

    I am representing only myself in this matter.  As a retired San Jose City Attorney familiar with this issue, I am bewildered as to what the city would undertake an action, which is so clearly violates the contract clause of the California and the Federal Constitutions.

    A long line of California Supreme Court cases establishes that retirees’ pension rights are an integral portion of contemplated compensation, which cannot be changed once they have vested (1).  Similarly, vested rights are protected under the contract clause Art. 1 S 10 of the United States Constitution.

    The California Supreme Court has held that with respect to active employees, some limited modification of vested pension rights has been allowed but the resulting disadvantage to employees, must be accompanied by comparable new advantages. 2 As a to retired employees, the scope of continuing governmental power appears to be ever more restricted.  The retiree is entitled to the fulfillment of the contract, which already has been preformed without detrimental modification.  The impairment provision does not prevent restricting retirees to the gain reasonably to be expected from the contract (3).

    It appears that you are being told that the Emergency Declaration, which you are contemplating, gives you the power to supersede the long established vested rights principles.  In fact, a post Proposition 13 case (4) that deals with a charter amendment, which places a 3% cap on police and fire pension benefit cost of living adjustments is so directly on the point that I have attached it so you can read it yourselves.

    Have your lawyers given you any authority that says you can enact a change in retiree COLA’s?  Have they provided some case authority that emergency modifications can continue beyond the period of the actual inability to appropriate the funds to pay the retirees as requested?  If so, please let me know what legal authority is being relied on.

    It seems to me that placing restraints on the COLA’s in the charter only diminishes any argument that the change is justified by a state of emergency.  It underlines the fact that the goal is to create permanent restructuring which is not a justification for diminishing vested rights.  For both policy and legal reasons, I urge you not to put the proposed reduction of retirees’ COLA into the charter.

    • So I got inspired to grab a copy of the U.S. Constitution off the bookshelf after seeing your post and am a little confused. 

      “Similarly, vested rights are protected under the contract clause Art. 1 S 10 of the United States Constitution.” which led me to actually read Article 1, Section 10 of the United States Constitution which talks about states printing currency or making grants of nobility.  Let’s bypass the legal micro-managed re-interpretation and quote it:

      “No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin money; emit Bills of Credit; make any thing but gold and silver Coin a tender in Payment of Debts; pass any bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or any Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or the grant of any Title of Nobility.”

      So I’m not a lawyer-type, but I think that ex post facto stuff translates as “after the fact” renegotiation of contracts.  But I’m confused, isn’t Social Security a social contract that’s been renegotiated unilaterally since I was a kid so that now I have to work until I’m 67.5 before I see a dime?  How does this apply, is this a state’s right thing or something else couched in legal rhetoric that allows certain people more rights than others?

  4. If Chief Moore was honest with his troops and the public, he might answer thusly:

    1. The question presumes that there exists a formula for honorably working with SJ’s diverse community, which is pure nonsense. The power to demand special treatment, whether possessed by a pampered group in a political sphere or a spoiled child in a family, has always proven an irresistible invitation to abuse. There’s no way for the police department to win the enduring support of any of the local rabble-rousers because these people know that the moment they stop kicking and screaming (like children) they lose their political power. Their racket is political extortion and their aim is to interfere with the fairness and impartiality in employment, education, and the enforcement of the law, facts which have never prevented elected officials from supporting them.

    2. Sacrificing the detective unit was a political decision, one aimed at preventing the response time to calls for service from worsening, which might give the public an alarming peek into just how much this city administration has sacrificed their safety. The department’s present ability to get a call dispatched to a police unit in a reasonable amount of time, even if the call is assigned to a unit 8 miles and 25 minutes away, creates the illusion that the public is protected, which thus protects the political images of Mayor Reed and City Manager Debra Figone. Identifying dangerous criminals, the primary function of the detective division, had to be sacrificed.

    3. Twenty years ago Chief Cobarruviaz announced the department would soon provide laptops for every patrol officer, so as to provide the means to meet professional report writing standards. During those twenty years there has been nary a sacrifice in serving the needs of the command staff, be it in stewarding the promotional process, filling positions, funding training and travel, and supporting them in their career building. This largess comes with a price, and in this, as it is in all police work, patrol always pays the price.

    4. At present staffing levels the best we can hope for is to temporarily provide minimum protection for the public. Chronic understaffing will eventually take such a toll on the workforce that its ability to provide even minimum protection will erode. Officers will slow down with age, disability rates will soar, and the entire workforce will soon lose the spirit, energy, and commitment that has always allowed them to “make do with less.” There won’t even be anyone interested in training replacement personnel. Mayor Reed stuck his knife so deep into this department that its bleeding to death is a near certainty.

    5. Community policing is a euphemism for sham programs that attempt to undo the damage caused by rotten parents. The positive stir they cause serves well the purposes of the politicians and police chiefs who expect to move on before the futility of their favored programs becomes too obvious. Law enforcement is in the business of saving lives and arranging consequences—functions for which they are qualified, not fixing broken young people—a task that may be beyond anyone’s means.

    6. Having officers living outside our city limits is not without its advantages. For instance, earthquakes tend to cause damage along individual fault lines, thus a quake that causes severe damage here is almost certain to spare some of the other communities in which our officers reside. But the fact of the matter is that such callbacks are extremely rare (none in the last thirty years), thus leading me to think that the public’s sudden interest in where cops live is really just about people being jerks.

    7. I sent those agents home because local Hispanic groups were pretending to be against immigration enforcement, when in reality what they really are against is any law being enforced against their own kind. Had San Jose’s gang population been composed of Newfoundlanders who’d snuck across the border those racist Hispanics would’ve been screaming “Go Home Newfies” and demanding an army of ICE agents.

    8. I hope to stay, but no way I’ll risk losing my chance to escape here with the same half-million dollar adios that Rob Davis got. Like most others in the command staff, I’ve spent at least 25% of my on duty time preparing for my next job, so I’m ready to walk away from here whenever the time is right.

    9. Rather than insult you with dishonest assurances and nonsense terms (triaging cases?), I will describe the situation as being in good news/bad news status, meaning the only way you’re going to get good news, meaning a detective assigned to your case, is if—here comes the bad news, you were so badly brutalized by a criminal that ignoring your case would hurt the city politically.

    10. As police chief, I report directly to the city manager, a fact that has apparently confused Ms. Figone into assuming she knows something about policing a city. Her ignorance, combined with an arrogance that seems intrinsic to the position, has severely damaged the department and put to risk the lives of my officers and the public. I am insulted by her actions, but I’ve made a commitment to the men and women of this department and will continue to serve and absorb the abuse (that is, up to the day my sick leave payout is jeopardized).

    BSM

  5. I see that Deb Figone scripted the “College Boy” Chief Moore’s responses for him or could she have possibly answered them herself? 

    Looking at Moore’s track record and his lack of “Field” experience it’s obvious that he does not grasp the importance of having more officers on the street. 

    Reed has his Expert’s Jose & Pete give him expert advice as the both were “useless” as police officers. 

    It is pathetic that our City administrators continue mismanage city funds.  Do we really need to continue with this charade of Reed and Figone’s?

    Bugsy, you always hit the nail on the head, and tell the truth without kissing up to the politicians like SJI moderators do.  They continue to Censor and Delete so many of our postings to save face.

    I think the time has come for SJI to pull the plug on this blog as “REAL” citizens voices are not allowed to be heard here.

  6. This is the type of misleading info the Mayor and Mercury news wants us to believe and drink the cool-aid.  How about the 7 million the city has put aside to get this on the ballot.  How about the money the city is taking from the general fund to pay for poor decisions of the RDA which is the city council.  How much will Reed take from the city to get BART here.  Funny he sits on that board to.  How much will the city spend to fight when the owners of the property the city needs for a ball park refuse to sell?

    Pension costs put San Jose in dire fiscal straits

    The city of San Jose faces a fiscal death squeeze as it tries to fund ballooning costs of employee retirement benefits.

    To pay the bill, it must lay off workers. Whereas 10 percent of general fund expenditures went toward pensions and retiree health care in 2007-08, this year it’s 22 percent. In the same four-year period, the city has eliminated 1,592 jobs, or 23 percent of the workforce. It’s going to get worse.

    To be sure, other factors contribute to workforce reduction.

    But retirement costs are the most significant. And of the two key components driving those costs — pensions and health care for retirees — the former accounts for about 85 percent of the bill.

    On Dec. 6, the City Council will consider asking voters to approve the state’s most far-reaching public employee pension reforms. The problem is particularly severe in San Jose but not unique to the city.

    Those who resist change parrot the myth that a strong economic recovery will fix this. They’re wrong. Market losses since 2008 have exacerbated the problem, but they are just one of many factors driving the costs.

    To understand why, consider the components of pension costs.

    For this exercise we’ll use San Jose’s police. The pension costs for general city workers are expensive, but the price for police and firefighters is nearly double.

    Pension costs are typically calculated as a percentage of payroll. For San Jose police, the total payment is about 85 cents for every payroll dollar. Of that, the city pays 75 cents and workers pay 10. The 85 cents is divided into payment for newly earned pension benefits and payment on the debt for miscalculations of the past. For each year employees work, they earn additional future pension benefits. Newly earned police pension benefits currently cost 38 cents on the dollar. The city contributes 28 cents and employees pay their 10 cents. These payments, after future investment earnings, should theoretically cover the benefits when those people retire. It’s important to understand that past market losses do not affect these numbers.

    But what happens when retirees live longer than anticipated?

    When employees are retroactively granted larger pension payments that had not been previously funded? When employees are guaranteed cost-of-living adjustments when they retire that had not been factored into the cost? When projections about future investment returns are revised downward?

    And, yes, what happens when past investment earnings don’t meet expectations?

    Suddenly, there’s not enough money in the pension system. It’s what accountants call an “unfunded liability.” It’s essentially a debt.

    Two key points about that debt: First, it’s solely the responsibility of the employer, the taxpayer.

    Second, it’s a debt for retirement benefits that have already been earned, benefits for labor that has already been performed. Yet pension systems amortize it like a home mortgage. San Jose stretches payments over 16 to 20 years, passing on to the next generation a major cost of current labor.

    It’s the installment payment on that debt that comprises the second part of pension costs. That’s 47 cents on every payroll dollar for San Jose police.

    To make matters worse, the pension system has yet to fully account for the investment losses of the Great Recession. In San Jose, those losses are eased into the accounting over five years. So look for payments on the unfunded liability to increase in coming years.

    Moreover, as the city reduces its workforce, it has fewer employees over which to spread the cost of the unfunded liability. That has driven up the cost per employee.

    Adding the current 75 cents in city costs to every dollar of payroll just to pay for pensions is unsustainable. By city projections, it will be roughly 84 cents next year. Add in retiree health care and the city cost for police post-employment benefits will reach 96 cents on the dollar. (It’s nearly 99 cents for firefighters.) Without change, the city forecasts, San Jose in four years will be spending 30 percent of the general fund budget just for retirement benefits.

    This is a fiscal emergency.

  7. in my 30 years, this is without a doubt the most spineless COP.  How does anyone want to work in San Jose.  Public safety, dispatchers, or just good honest working employees.  Not a peep out of employees working for these corrupt council members.  It is their retirement as well.  Are they afraid to speak up?  This is not just an attack on public safety, all present and retired employees will suffer under this plan.

    I am sick of the mercury news and the mayor having a love relationship and printing only what they want.  They both have a hate for public safety but this effects all city employees.

    Other unions need to speak out, it is your retirement benefits as well.  This COP will walk soon with thousands, with the rest of us not so lucky.

  8. With all that is going on why do you not stand up to protect your officers.  You never make a comment such as this when it is in your best interest and that of city employees?. Or are you just waiting to fill your pockets with retirement money.  This would only help your money grab!

    Mayor and City Council Members           Agenda June 21, 2011
                          Item#  3.11)b)

    RE: Pension Reform

    Dear Mayor Reed and Councilmember’s:

    I am representing only myself in this matter.  As a retired San Jose City Attorney familiar with this issue, I am bewildered as to what the city would undertake an action, which is so clearly violates the contract clause of the California and the Federal Constitutions.

    A long line of California Supreme Court cases establishes that retirees’ pension rights are an integral portion of contemplated compensation, which cannot be changed once they have vested (1).  Similarly, vested rights are protected under the contract clause Art. 1 S 10 of the United States Constitution.

    The California Supreme Court has held that with respect to active employees, some limited modification of vested pension rights has been allowed but the resulting disadvantage to employees, must be accompanied by comparable new advantages. 2 As a to retired employees, the scope of continuing governmental power appears to be ever more restricted.  The retiree is entitled to the fulfillment of the contract, which already has been preformed without detrimental modification.  The impairment provision does not prevent restricting retirees to the gain reasonably to be expected from the contract (3).

    It appears that you are being told that the Emergency Declaration, which you are contemplating, gives you the power to supersede the long established vested rights principles.  In fact, a post Proposition 13 case (4) that deals with a charter amendment, which places a 3% cap on police and fire pension benefit cost of living adjustments is so directly on the point that I have attached it so you can read it yourselves.

    Have your lawyers given you any authority that says you can enact a change in retiree COLA’s?  Have they provided some case authority that emergency modifications can continue beyond the period of the actual inability to appropriate the funds to pay the retirees as requested?  If so, please let me know what legal authority is being relied on.

    It seems to me that placing restraints on the COLA’s in the charter only diminishes any argument that the change is justified by a state of emergency.  It underlines the fact that the goal is to create permanent restructuring which is not a justification for diminishing vested rights.  For both policy and legal reasons, I urge you not to put the proposed reduction of retirees’ COLA into the charter.

  9. Lots of losers if unions win pension fight

    Chis,

    do not drink the cool-aid.  This city is hiding millions of dollars.  They just want to pass the blame on to city employees.  Many hard working will be effected, this is not just a police and fire issue!

    This mayor and council has lead us down a dangerous path.  This city is solvent
    and yet they still want to attack hard working individuals.

    ___________________
    Even if San Jose’s employee unions are successful in a long court case over the city’s proposed pension reform ballot measure (“San Jose leaders paint grim budget picture without pension reform,” Nov.

    23) as a breach of their vested rights, it would be a hollow victory. San Jose would then be on the hook for the unsustainable pensions and could declare bankruptcy. Retired employees might then have to accept pennies on the dollar and feed off the corpse. City employee unions should be careful what they wish for.

    Chris Dresden

    San Jose

  10. put the duck tape back where it deserves.  Nothing good coming out of this puppet’s mouth.

    Lets ask the city manager some questions which would never have the courage to answer anything.  Or Cuckie, which would probably over load you system. Then I could post all his BS responses to my emails.

  11. Truth Is

    ” Then I could post all his BS responses to my emails.”

    Please post your emails to / from Mayor so everyone can see what you mean

  12. Wow, just wow. His answers are plastic, artificial and ring of a politician waiting for his time to jump out of the burning plane with his golden parachute. This is the guy who starts looking in the Duty Manual when a fire fight starts. I wish he would take his buyout and just go to D.C. where he belongs. HE IS NO LEADER OF MEN.

    • Great Post Officer X   Like I have always said this guy Moore is nothing more than a “Book Cop”, if he doesn’t have a book to tell him what to do next he is lost… Hence your reference to the Duty Manual.  Great view of the truth you have X….

      • Thanks Frank. Sadly, this Chief’s “performance” is no surprise to many inside SJPD. Always known as a “nice guy”, most knew he would bow to community groups, and to the Figone/Reed Hydra which guards the coffers of city hall. He had strong internal support because of his strong internal relationships and an impressive (academic, read no street experience/police work) resume and a flock of fans/promotees waiting in the wings. A Batts appointment would have turned SJPD upside down with everyone looking for a chair with the music having stopped. Really, it is what we needed. In these times of strife and really, war, with city hall, he is our very own Neville Chamberlain. Aren’t we lucky,…