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February 12, 2010

Albany police union chief: No tears for taxpayers

Don't expect the president of the Albany Police Officers Union to win any community relations awards, especially from the city's beleaguered taxpayers.

During an interview with WRGB-TV, Chris Mesley made no effort to sugarcoat demands for police pay raises in the midst of a crippling recession (here).

I'm not running a popularity contest here. I have to answer to my members.

If I'm the bad guy to the average citizen paying their taxes and their taxes have go up to cover my raise, I'm very sorry about that, but I have to look out for myself and my membership.

Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings, who presumably looks out for both property taxpayers and the city treasury, has told nonunionized employees to expect zero raises in 2010.

Asked about Mesley's comments, Jennings replied, "I can't give money away that isn't there."

The Albany Police Union contract, which was approved in September, granted four-percent retroactive raises for both 2008 and 2009. The contract expired December 31. New contract negotiations have yet to begin.

Posted by Lise Bang-Jensen

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