The issue of seeking concessions from the unions representing police officers is a legitimate one.
Hamtramck’s two police officers’ unions have refused to concede so much as a nickel to help with Hamtramck projected $3.3 million deficit, which could lead to a state takeover.
But to draw a line in the sand with threatening the safety of individual officers is not only nuts, it’s political suicide.
Such is the case with City Councilmember Tom Jankowski who held up the purchase of 59 bullet proof vests and demanded that officers be required to pay for half the cost of the vests with their clothing allowance budget.
Two weeks ago the Police Department said it had only until Sept. 29 to tap into a federal grant that will pay for half the cost. The other half would be covered by the city’s drug forfeiture fund. In other words, at no cost to the city.
Free money. Free vests.
Incredibly, Jankowski said no. Well, that’s his business and we’re sure voters will be made aware of this come election time.
But more disturbing was the blind acceptance of Councilmembers Mohammed Hassan, Cathie Gordon and Kazi Miah to postpone the purchase agreement on the request by Jankowski.
That postponement will now put added pressure on the Police Department to hurry up before the Sept. 29 deadline to have the vests custom-fitted and delivered by the date, or face losing the federal grant.
At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the three councilmembers did some fancy footwork to rationalize their delay.
Let’s be upfront about this: Not all requests for a postponement of an issue have equal value. Jankowski was clearly against the deal. We don’t know what his motive was in delaying the purchase, but that’s his problem.
This deal was as simple as it gets, yet the councilmembers in question claimed they wanted to know for sure the finances were in place.
Hogwash. The money was clearly there two weeks ago and if there had been a problem our city manager would have spoken up. That’s what we pay him to do.
If Councilmembers Gordon, Hassan and Miah can’t even distinguish a ruse to stall the deal and overcomplicate the issue, we have to wonder whether they can truly serve the city.
The delay of the deal caused a lot of needless anguish and grief in the community. Councilmembers, get your act together and start thinking about what’s good for the community instead of what you perceive to be the courteous thing to do when a fellow councilmember decides to derail an issue.
You serve the community, not fellow councilmembers with a political ax to grind.
And, by the way, kudos to Councilmember Catrina Stackpoole who voted against any delay in the purchase and standing up to Jankowski.