Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Police Protest

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Instead of watching for law-breakers, members of the Boise Police Union will be the ones protesting tonight.

The Boise Police Union will look decidedly un-police like when it stages a protest in front of Boise City Hall beginning at 5:30 p.m. in an effort to draw attention to stalled contract negotiations.

“It’s time to let the public know our plight and let the mayor know we care,” said Kip Wills, union president.

Boise Police officers have been working without a contract for 15 months, and union members blame the stall on the city.

Wills expects roughly 100 people to picket in front of City Hall tonight, including members of the police union, local carpenters union and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. He promises that the protest will not impede traffic or other city functions. “We are the police after all.”

Wills said a contract worked out with the help of a mediator met the needs of both the union and the city, with police officers becoming the best-paid law enforcement officers in the state while giving up the highest-care option of their health car plan, a substantial savings for the city.

But Wills said Mayor Dave Bieter’s assistant for administration and policy, Jade Riley, dismissed the contract because of political reasons, worrying that it would anger the firefighters union.

Wills said the union would still sign that contract if approved by the city, whether it is for the police-union preferred four years, or the city-preferred two years.

“We would sign it today,” he said.

Wills said other contracts presented by the city do not offer police officers enough compensation for dropping the highest health care option.

Union members also believe Riley should remove himself from the negotiation process because of his own dealings with the Boise Police. Riley was arrested for drunk driving in April.

“We know where our problem lies, and it’s with the mayor and his staff,” Wills said.

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