Emanuel won’t say whether police will be rewarded for NATO Summit work
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org May 23, 2012 1:18PM
Updated: May 23, 2012 1:27PM
The Chicago Police Department “performed incredibly well” during the NATO Summit, and so did a lot of other city employees “you didn’t see,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday, refusing to say whether police officers would be rewarded during contract talks.
“There will be a time for that process…When those discussions come up, we’re gonna be dealing with them from the basis that they’re the best police department — best trained, best led to do their job,” Emanuel said of a police union contract that expires June 30.
He said the police performed “incredibly well, as they do every day,” and that they were “led very well” and “trained well.”
He didn’t mention police Supt. Garry McCarthy, whose leadership on the front lines in helping diffuse a potentially volatile confrontation with demonstrators at Michigan and Cermak has turned him into a local hero.
But the mayor said the applause reserved for the police should be shared.
“Our fire department did great….I went over to the OEMC. They did great. People at the water department who were all involved. People at the CTA….All of `em performed well. The Police Department, you saw. There was a lot of stuff you didn’t see that you should know deserves credit and recognition,” he said.
Despite the ugly image of baton-wielding officers squaring off against protesters who tried to provoke them, Fraternal Order of Police president Mike Shields said his members “did an amazing job” keeping the peace and turning the other cheek during the summit and deserve to be rewarded in their paychecks and pensions.
Asked Wednesday how he reads Emanuel’s statements, Shields said, “Politicians have a short memory, but I don’t think the public will forget the amazing job that police officers did protecting the front lines of the city of Chicago…The public needs to put pressure on Mayor Emanuel during contract negotiations and pension reform talks in order for us to get the benefits that we deserve.”
The Chicago Sun-Times reported in late March that police officers might have to wait until next year to negotiate a new contract — and forego a retroactive pay increase in 2012 — thanks to an embarrassing oversight by the FOP leadership.
A little-known clause requires unions to notify the city between Feb. 1 and March 1 that they intend to terminate their contracts and commence negotiations on a new agreement. If they don’t serve notice during that one-month window, the contract automatically rolls over for another year.
City Hall contends that the FOP missed the deadline, giving Emanuel an opening to either put off negotiations until June 30, 2013, or negotiate only those items that would cut taxpayer costs — like the policy that allows officers to take 365 sick days every two years.
A mayoral confidant emphasized that the mayor has not yet decided whether to “stick it in the ear” of rank-and-file officers, “But we’re reserving the right to be selective in what we talk about because they blew it.”
Shields denied that he had missed the deadline.
City Hall has since begun negotiations on a new contract with Chicago firefighters, while the FOP cools its heals. By the time police contract talks begin in earnest, the NATO Summit will likely have faded from public view, the sources said.