Wednesday, November 25, 2020
News + Politics Major police reform item at supes committee Thursday

Major police reform item at supes committee Thursday

Should the city give raises to the POA without any new accountability?

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The Board of Supes Government Audit and Oversight Committee will hear Thursday a minor-sounding item that will have major, lasting impacts on police reform in the city.

Can we hold the police accountable if the city is going to give them raises without reform?

The item is set to be heard in closed session, but the public can still make comments on it. It’s called “Memorandum of Understanding and Settlement of Grievances, Police Officers Association.”

Here’s what it means:

The city’s Department of Human Resources, without consulting with the Police Commission, cut a deal with the cops to extend their contract – and raises that total six percent – without any requirements that the union stop blocking reforms and accountability.

Mayor Breed is blasting civilian city worker unions for refusing to give up much smaller raises. But her department has in effect caved into what the police union wants.

Which is: The right to block almost any policy reform, including things like use of force, but demanding the right to “meet and confer” – in secret – to influence those policies.

The POA has made any reform of the department far more difficult, and some of the supervisors have made clear that they aren’t going to approve any deal that doesn’t require the union to agree to those reforms.

The meeting Thursday will be the start of that process.

The Bar Association of San Francisco’s Criminal Justice Task Force puts it this way:

BASF-CJTF is concerned because this MOU was negotiated without consulting the Police Commission, S.F. Department of Police Accountability (“DPA”), the District Attorney’s Office (“DA”), or other key stakeholders in San Francisco Police Department’s (“SFPD”) collaborative reform process. The new MOU that extends the SFPD contract does not advance any of the objectives of the collaborative reform process. These significant omissions counsel against your approval of the MOU. At a minimum, we call upon you to delay a vote on ratification of the MOU until November, (1) to enable the development of accompanying reformsto the City’s relationship with the SFPOA, and (2) to assess the relative financial cost of rejecting the MOU after the November election, given that the election results could strengthen the City’s financial outlook.

Among the changes:

DHR must stop agreeing to meet and confer with SFPOA over management matters that are not subject to collective bargaining under California law;  DHR must set clear boundaries to the meet-and-confer process to end unreasonable delays on reforms for matters within the scope of representation; meet-and-confer meetings and related correspondence between DHR and SFPOA should be public and transparent; and DHR should consult with key stakeholders concerning reform objectives throughout negotiations with SFPOA.

I can’t imagine the supes approving this deal as Breed’s administration has presented it. The role of the Bar Association only adds to that political pressure.

UPDATE: If the supes don’t approve this contract, it will put about a $10 million hole in the budget, since the budget as approved assumed that the cops would accept delays in their raises.

Some critics say it would be easy to cut $10 million more from the police budget to cover that, but the mayor won’t have to do that — she can cut anything she wants to make up the difference.

The meeting starts at 10am.

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.

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