San Jose Police Union Spars Again With City Hall

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The latest saga has the chief of police scolding his command staff for blasting city administrators in an email. Damian Trujillo reports. (Published Thursday, Aug 22, 2013)

    The war of words is getting worse in San Jose, and observers are now saying enough.

    We're talking about the fight between city hall and the police union.

    The latest saga has the chief of police scolding his command staff for blasting city administrators in an email.

    It happened when the city manager's office bypassed the union and sent a letter to the homes of police officers, directly outlining the city’s latest contract offer.

    Officers were angry at the mailer, and 500 of them sent a form letter back to city hall, telling the city -- it's bad enough to work in a toxic environment city hall has created - the officers said they don't want to be reminded of this at home.

    Some lieutenants signed the form letter, so the chief sent them this email, telling his commanders to step in his office so he could emphasize why they were wrong in venting directly to city leaders.

    Richard Zapelli is president of the Willow Glen Neighborhood Association, and says he speaks for all similar groups in San Jose who are growing tired of the fight.

    “It's time. It's over with. It's getting old to the neighborhoods. We want to see them work together,” Zapelli said. “We have to bring thee police and city of San Jose together because this continuous fighting between the two is on good for either party and the citizens of San Jose."

    Police officers want back the 10 percent in pay they gave up during the recession. The city is offering 5-percent, plus a 4-percent one-time bonus.

    A former City Hall insider said the new mayor will have his or her hands full in 2015. He said this war between the union and city hall is releasing a lot of shrapnel, and a lot of people are being hurt by it. Zapelli says in Willow Glen, they're feeling the shrapnel of the war as well.

    “It leaves people queasy and you can't blame people for wondering why the two sides can’t come to terms,” political analyst Larry Gerston said.

    It’s a queasiness that shows no signs things will get better in San Jose.