Mayor Ballard informed the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #86 that his next budget will NOT include the necessary funds to allow a 3% pay raise promised to IMPD and IFD through their collective bargaining agreement. The Mayor intends to renege on the IMPD/IFD contract and seek salary reductions. The FOP was informed that “they (Mayor’s Office) cannot find enough efficiencies to significantly close the budget gap and that the only place they could find the money was in ‘character one’ (which is the budget line, that includes salaries).”
Does Mayor Ballard really believe the only avenue remaining to “close the budget gap” is police and fire salaries? The Mayor recently gave his staff of Deputy Mayors and administrators’ significant salary increases averaging 18%. Mayor Ballard spokesman, Marc Lotter said the raises were funded through vacated positions and did not increase the mayor’s budget for this year and next. Which vacated positions is he referring to? IMPD seems to have a host of vacated positions as of late. They haven’t hired a significant number of officers in the last 2 years and they are losing many officers through retirement and those seeking other employment. I also find it very difficult to believe the Mayor has eliminated all the wasteful spending from the budget and his last resort is to cut police and fire salaries. This is a typical tactic of progressive liberals; claim budgetary problems due to foolish spending and then demand the only proper fix is to reduce public safety funding. An 8/13/12 Indy Star article detailed the shortage in new recruit classes for IMPD and the expected attrition of street officers. However, while officers patrolling the street are important, having an acceptable number of detectives to investigate crimes is equally imperative; and those numbers are also dwindling. IMPD states they have managed to do more with less because of its “zone concept” of policing. However “zones” appear to be a more effective way to hide manpower deficiencies than effectively police the city.
Before the mayor starts slashing our police and fire salaries, and further demoralize an already over-taxed and under-appreciated agency, a few more questions must be considered: How much money does our city spend on the arts, professional sports, and various other events; and have they ever tried to recoup the cost? How much is spent on travel for IMPD Command Staff, Mayoral Staff, and the like for conferences, trainings and “business trips”? How much money is wasted on buying the services of the Ten Point Coalition to patrol areas that are overrun by thugs created by the vary thugs claiming to be “concerned”? How much does the Deputy Mayor of Neighborhoods make…$120,000!? What does he do? How much has been spent on bike lanes and cultural trails, and their maintenance? There is plenty of wasteful spending in a billion dollar budget. The mayor may very well have cut his own political throat on this latest blunder…the first being the hiring of Dr. Frank Straub-self ascribed police savior and unparalleled intellect. If crime related issues fail to be addressed, cases go unsolved, police manpower is reduced, police wages are cut and police morale sinks further, someone must be held accountable.
Of course, Mayor Ballard’s desire to slash IMPD salaries could just be spiteful revenge; the FOP failed to endorse Ballard last election and there are consequences from failed political endorsements. Side Note: I’ve mentioned before that it is very foolish for the local FOP to try and endorse Mayoral and Council candidates; it amounts to gambling their future wages and benefits with election results. Endorse state and national candidates, but stay away from local endorsements.
Having said all this; any IMPD Officers who may read this article please note the following: Fight for what was promised to you by the mayor by using logic and reason, but don’t expect blood out of a turnip or truth from a politician. Elected leaders should be frugal with our money and spend it wisely. They should be held accountable for their spending priorities, but they shouldn’t renege on promised pay raises detailed in a legal contract either. Most importantly, please don’t stop doing what you are so good at doing; catching bad guys. I realize there will be a great temptation in the next few months to “shut down” and stop caring; especially since your Chief(s) and Mayor don’t appear to care for you, but there are thousands of citizens that do care about your wellbeing. Continue to be professional and serve as if serving The Lord. (Ephesians 6:7). YOU ARE NOT ALONE.