Chelsea Police Continue Public Attacks in Contract Bargaining

The two-year-long negotiations between the Chelsea Police Patrol Officers’ Association (CPPOA) and the City’s Administration have been a tale of two very different tactics.

To this day, City Manager Jay Ash and his administration have been tight-lipped and have declined to talk about the ongoing negotiations out of a respect for the process and out of the typical tacit agreement to keep union negotiations out of the newspapers.

Conversely, with mixed to confusing results, the CPPOA have taken to using a very public platform over the last year to air their grievances and frustrations over not having a contact they believe is acceptable.

They have made emotional and frustrated appeals at public meetings, making fantastic and impasssioned allegations.

They showed up with inflammatory signs earlier this summer when the Fox 25 Zip Trip came to Chelsea – drawing as many jeers as cheers from those in the crowd.

Their message is that the City is not investing in the salaries of street-level police officers. This week, for better or worse, they have taken their salary gripes and applied them to Ash and Police Chief Brian Kyes in a document analyzing salary information they indicate come from public records. They also indicated it was just the beginning of an even more visible campaign over the next several weeks.

“I currently serve as President of the Chelsea Police Patrol Officers’ Association, and since 2010 we have been in contract negotiations with the City and have discovered an alarming trend in salary growth for City Hall management personnel that is in stark comparison to other entities in the city,” said CPPOA President Felix Rivera. “The unique conditions that surround police organizations during stalled or failed contract negotiations can negatively impact morale, and more importantly cast a shadow over public safety efforts and initiatives. In the following weeks we will be releasing additional reports that address and reveal other issues of concern regarding the City of Chelsea.”

City Manager Jay Ash indicated that the tactic being used by the CPPOA is predictable and a typical way that unions apply pressure during tense negotiations – in particular comparing union and non-union contracts.

“It is a popular union tactic to compare union contracts with non-union contracts,” he said. “A major difference, though, is at the end of non-union contracts, the employee can be terminated. In numerous cases, non-union employees are working without any contract and could be terminated immediately. The same in not true for union members. There are numerous differences like that, including the earning of overtime – non-union members don’t get OT, that cause such comparisons to be generally like comparing apples to oranges. We will continue to attempt to negotiate in good faith, value the work of our unionized workforce, and be responsible with taxpayer dollars. Beyond that, I cannot comment on the actual negotiations.”

The document released on Monday evening illustrated contracts given to Ash and Kyes over the years – both of which are non-union contracts.

The report alleges that Ash began his first contract in 2000 at a salary of $88,000 and has progressed to $169,000 through four total contracts – the latest one ending in 2015.

“Over his 15 years of employment Mr. Ash has received an average wage increase of 7.5% every year,” read the report. “That growth while unsustainable in most any format, has gone unchecked by a city government.”

Ash said on Wednesday that many things were not contained in the analysis – such as the fact that Ash does not take the City’s health insurance (valued at more than $14,000 per year), that he turned in his City-owned vehicle, and turned down numerous raises.

More importantly, it was indicated that he has found a great deal of success in turning Chelsea around through new development and that has been noted in numerous City Council evaluations of Ash’s contract and performance.

“Most importantly, it reflects a pay for performance – with bond rating increases, hotel development, etc. – that councillors and others value as part of my performance appraisal, which is not allowed by union contracts to be performed on union members,” said Ash.

8 comments for “Chelsea Police Continue Public Attacks in Contract Bargaining

  1. Big Brother
    October 11, 2012 at 11:30 am

    What other money has Jay received from McLaughlin and White ?????????

  2. Hook51
    October 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Chelsea, Same Circus,different Clowns !!!!!!!

  3. Chelsea Watcher
    October 11, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Do your research if your going to continue to pretend to be a “NEWS” paper. In Jays contract he gets a hefty cash payment from the City for NOT taking the health insurance. He also gets thousands of dollars a year for not taking a City car home.

    Last weeks paper lauded the 75% increase in pay for the City Council. This week you continue to slant your stories for your buddy Jay when it comes to the hard working, honest police officers who put their lives on the line protecting this community. Almost as slanted as the many stories you wrote promoting the GREAT work of Mike McLaughlin at the Housing Authority.

  4. Peg Smith
    October 11, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    These officers are probably the busiest in the state, when it comes to crime and do an OUTSTANDING job. Compared to surrounding communities, they are definetly underpaid. Just like the City Council, they want to be paid accordingly: in comparrison to other local police departments. If the City Council members deserve a pay raise which is comparable to other communities (which is what I believe they are asking), doesn’t the police force, which is the only thing keeping Chelsea above water and is allowing Mr. Ash to bring in business and development, deserve the same respect? From what I’m told; a 0%, 0%, 1% pay raise over a three year time frame sounds like a slap in the face to the men and women who are asked to keep his city safe and just shows how Mr. Ash really feels about his police force, regardless of his many public statements that he is the number one supporter of the Police Dept.

  5. Truth Be Told
    October 12, 2012 at 2:31 am

    “Chelsea Police continue public attacks…”
    This is why the Chelsea Record is best used for bird cages. There is no effort to understand and provide journalistic insight into why this issue exists. From what I understand the police here have a tough job to do, try hanging out in Bellingham Square when the sun goes down (Junkie Carnival!!). The influx of new developments and residential buildings on top of that is making this small city busier than ever. The police are actually the ones under attack and this newspaper is either too ignorant, or incompetent, to see through the distortion field Jay Ash creates. If we can double Jay’s salary and give the city council big raises, why are we ignoring the police?

    Chelsea Record… As slanted ever.

  6. Carol Epstien
    October 12, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    No Police. No Peace.

    October 15, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Jay may not be around to sign any contract after the McGloughlin’s indictment s are handed out.

  8. A Chelsea Resident
    October 18, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Tis a shame that the so called “Underpaid” Chelsea Police officers don’t do a hell of a lot when they should be since we pay you. Take for example, lovely fatty Bellomo. What exactly does he do again? Oh yes sit around Bellingham Square in his car and do nothing to help the flow of traffic at BS during the afternoon rush hours. A Police Van and 2+ cop cars with officers in them sitting and mingling with each other, while the fools of Chelsea cross the roads outside of crosswalks and snarl the traffic up. Bellomo has never done anything and so do many other so called “UNDERPAID OFFICERS”. Stutto does nothing except flex his muscles for passerby’s. What about the officers always sitting in the Arlington St. parking lot doing nothing for hours at a time? Again they want more pay for more time to sit in their cars and waste our money? They want to hire more officers to do what illegal speed traps on the Beacon St. exit that pulls in lots of money for the city. Could go on and on about the lovely chelsea officers will save that for another day. What about the photos and video’s I have of our own Chelsea Police Officers sleeping in their cars for hours at a time

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