According to today's Boston Globe (9-22-08), Deval Patrick has kept his word on reforming police details:
Governor Deval Patrick has toughened his new rules on police details at road construction sites, outmaneuvering local police unions that were making a last-minute push to get around efforts to rein in the costly assignments.
The governor eliminated a provision that would have allowed local police details to continue at all state-supervised work sites – even on lightly traveled roads where the danger is low – if a local labor contract or municipal ordinance required it.
The governor tightened the rules following a Globe story last week that said local unions were scrambling to exploit the provision and protect the lucrative details for their officers before the rules take effect Oct. 3.
Naturally, police unions were apoplectic with rage not only at the thought of losing a cash cow but that the transgression was being committed by a (gasp!) liberal Democrat!
“In my 25 years in law enforcement in this state, I have never worked with a more insensitive and arrogant administration that is simply unwilling to listen on this issue,” said Arlington Police Chief Frederick Ryan, who is also a spokesman for the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs, which represents police chiefs in the state's largest communities.
“In a labor-friendly state like Massachusetts, it's outrageous that the administration would try to implement a policy that trumps labor's well-established . . .bargaining rights,” he said.
“You're kidding me,” Thomas Nee, president of the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association, said yesterday when told of the regulations. “This is a complete surprise to us.”
Completion of the regulations marks a political victory for Patrick, who has overcome an issue that plagued his predecessors. However, the move has generated heated criticism from unions that are among the governor's biggest supporters.
At a public hearing last week on the regulations, Robert Haynes, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, lashed out at the plan, saying it “reeks of political motivation.”
Actually, it reeks of reform. Reform that was long overdue. Kudos to Patrick for doing the right thing on police details despite the political hits he's going to receive from the unions.