Thursday, May 7, 2009

COPS Hiring Program Explained in Terms even Gordon Palmer can Understand

Ok, let's get this out of the way before I get to today's post. Yesterday I said talking about the underfunded courthouse security when a new courthouse was on deck was kind of stupid. Roughly 4 hours after that was posted, this happened. So yeah, they could probably use that money and I'm a jackass. Luckily this is Stockton so there's a lot of jackassery going around. Let's take a look at some of that jackassery, shall we?

I stumbled upon Oakland blog A Better Oakland this morning and I did so just in time apparently as V Smoothe breaks down the requirements for the COPS Hiring Recovery Program that our own city is relying on to balance the budget. It's a highly suggested read considering Oakland's facing a lot of the same problems we are.

In addition to that, it only takes about 2 minutes to realize that the Department of Justice was right, assuming that money is coming our way is a horrible fucking idea. Gordon Palmer dismissed that accusation as political posturing, saying "Of course they're going to say that. ... Until they grant the money, they aren't going to tell any city, 'You're going to get the money.'" And then he went ahead and said "If I were in their shoes, I'd probably say the same thing."

Well, here's the thing Mr. Palmer, if we want to get the money, the guy in your shoes (aka YOU) has to also be saying the same thing. Let me explain:

According to the grant application guide (and this is in the Better Oakland post, I'm just rehashing it for you here) there are three ways, and only three ways, we can use the grant money. We can hire new cops to fill positions vacated by laid off cops, re-hire laid off cops, or retain cops that were scheduled to be laid off.

That last one is where we run into a little bit of trouble. As of today, the city has only sent layoff notices to 55 cops. Those cops are expected to be laid off according to the budget Palmer wants to adopt that relies on receiving at least half of the COPS money we applied for, barring some sort of last minute concessions by the SPOA (ha!). See the problem yet?

The grant money only applies to cops laid off or scheduled to be laid off (and hiring new cops, but try and get that past the union) at the time of grant application (which was April 14th). So assuming the grant money is there and planning layoffs accordingly can't work because we're supposed to act like we won't get that money (even though we totally qualify for and should get it). If we don't get that money we're expected to layoff upwards of 90 police officers. In other words, we're downplaying our budgetary woes when we should be exaggerating them. Unfortunately it's not politically smart to do that locally because of fuckasses like Alan Pettet scaring the town shitless with threats of an armed gang of vigilantes roaming the streets.

So what does this all mean? Frankly, I'm not totally sure. It could be that official layoff notices weren't needed and they just needed to put the planned amount of layoffs in the grant application. But I really wouldn't put it past the city to have fucked this up royally.

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