After receiving an invitation from acting Police Chief Chris Moore to address the troops at a series of shift briefings, Mayor Chuck Reed might have taken it as an opportunity to mend some fences. But according to several cops in attendance, the mayor did little to try and dispel the acrimony from the election season battles over Measures V and W. Instead, in the first meeting, Reed reiterated his judgment that San Jose’s finest were riding a “gravy train.”
Describing the scene when his boss met with the men-and-women-in-blue, Jose Salcido, Reed’s law-enforcement goat roper, understates: “They werent’ happy.“ At a subsequent meeting, Reed offered what Jim Unland, the police union veep, describes as a begrudging apology.
That didn’t stop Sgt. Paul Francois from penning a blistering screed about Reed in the POA’s monthly newsletter, which goes to print Jan. 25. “If there was any doubt before, there isn’t any now: he hates us,” Francois writes. “He hates us and thinks we’re over compensated good-for-nothings.” Members of the POA called the mayor “defiant,” “arrogant” and “a hypocrite.”
City Manager Debra Figone will have her work cut out for her as referee of the continuing contract negotiations, which will likely end with the police conceding 10 percent in pay and pension reform, or suffering more layoffs.
And like any good rumble, the fight isn’t just confined to two parties. January’s POA newsletter also included a nasty message from president George Beattie to former POA leader Bobby Lopez, who is recruiting members to form a new union known as the Fraternal Order of Police. Under the headline “Notification of Condemnation,” Beattie uses a rather unfortunate analogy: “Do I get into the mud and get dirty with the pigs? Or do I stand aside and watch them sully themselves?” To think we’re only three weeks into the new year.