Mayor-Elect Lee Leffingwell Negotiates Deal with Police Association

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The Austin Police Association and Mayor-elect Lee Leffingwell have cobbled together an innovative solution that will save the city about $5 million dollars during this difficult budget season.

Leffingwell and the Police Association hope the savings will protect this year's police cadet class, a move that will maintain the regular cycle of new officers on the street.

This is a way that I think would be best to keep the cadet class, and they agree with that. What we have talked about is that we can't afford to cut back on the delivery of public safety service on the street level.

The Police Department loses about 40 – 60 officers a year through retirement and resignations, this maneuver will save the Department from a potential 3-5 year shortfall in officers being trained and addressing the needs of the community.

Senior members of the Austin Police Association and Mayor-elect Leffingwell began working on this agreement over the last several days. The solution came as a welcome surprise to City Management and community leaders.

Some close to the Mayor praised both the Mayor and Police Association for their selfless negotiations.

“This is a very selfless act by the Police Association. To give up their raise they negotiated through a standard contract is the kind of service we want from our public safety officers,” said DeWayne Lofton, president of the Pecan Springs Neighborhood Association.

“I am proud of the vision Mayor-elect Leffingwell has shown by working out this compromise, and the leadership of the Police Association has taken in this bold step,” said Lofton.

This news comes as the city discusses ways to cut $45 million from the city budget during the economic downturn.

For disclosure purposes, I worked for Lee Leffingwell's Mayoral campaign.  News like this makes me proud to disclose the information.

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7 Comments

  1. Indepdence and Integrity
    Even before he's sworn in, Lee is showing the character that helped get him elected Mayor.  It's easy to say no to your enemies, it's much harder to say no to your friends.  Lee has shown great leadership in sitting down with the Police Union and establishing a framework for the Police Department to prioritize and contribute even more to alleviating the problems caused by the budget shortfall.

    Lee is a man of integrity and independence.  His leadership on Police pay issues is just the beginning of a new vision in city government.

  2. Thinking about Austin
    He hasn't even been sworn in yet and we're seeing him execute on his campaign promises and show the leadership and initiative we need. The ability to sit down with the Police Association and hammer out a compromise to save Austin $5 million is great. This is a true example of the reasons why we voted for Lee.  

  3. Compromise and Leadership!
    Both Lee & the Police Union deserves some props!  This was a completely unselfish act and shows how unions are about sacrifice and protecting workers and protecting the greater good of the community.  Both soon to be Mayor Leffingwell and the police union deserve props for this.  I voted for Lee because I knew he would be able to show great leadership and he has admirably shown that in this case.

    Thank you both for your hard work!

    Good Job, Lee!

  4. rosannescott on

    Kudos to Leffingwell
    Leffingwell has scored a major victory by negotiating the rare concession by the Police Association to forego an upcoming salary increase.   Already outperforming our ambitious expectations, Lee is demonstrating an innovative, yet sound approach to the budgetary problems we face.  Austin has made a wise choice in electing Leffingwell for Mayor.  

  5. Public Safety Union Acts on Behalf of the Public Good
    A special thanks goes out to the Austin Police Association for voluntarily giving up the raises it negotiated prior to Austin's current budget crisis. This huge sacrifice saves the cadet academy, ensures the future quality of public safety in Austin, and exemplifies how we are going to weather this economic storm together.

  6. A good thing to write about
    But to be frank Matt, at least from my perspective, you shouldn't feel the need to make a disclosure statement that you used to work for someone. While respectable to mention in passing in an article here, once someone is off a payroll, I really feel that one's past electoral work is just that- past. Politics, personal allegiances, and opinions can change within months of people getting elected.

    Even in this “activist journalist” state that we exist in, once the election is over, I don't see the need to make that disclosure. There are people I worked for last year that I may not agree with now and it's more honest I feel to new readers to not have to say anything than to qualify all our past work after it is done.

    But a great move by Lee and the APA nonetheless.

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