Members and Supporters:
Many have informed us that they have contacted the Mayor by phone and or email. Attached is a Mayor's Email Response that was forwarded to us. Mayor Coleman is trying to avoid the very real and very embarrassing pay discrepancy between St. Paul police officers and other metro area police officers with irrelevant and erroneous information that results either from incompetence or deliberate falsification by his staff. Here are the facts:
· State law requires public employers to provide compensation to employees that bears a “reasonable relationship” to the compensation paid to employees of other jurisdictions performing similar work. Every three years, each city must file a report with the State of Minnesota regarding the compensation of its employees. The only “compensation” reported in these documents is wages. Thus,the Mayor’s “total compensation” argument is contrary to the comparisons dictated by Minnesota Statutes.
· The parties have a long-standing bargaining history (recently been upheld by an arbitrator) which establishes the proper comparison as based only on the wages paid to police officers in the 27 cities in the metro area having a population in excess of 25,000. The Mayor is trying to change the measuring stick by switching not only to “total compensation” but also by changing the make-up of the comparison group.
· The Mayor’s claim that “total compensation” raises the competitiveness of St. Paul Police wages is based primarily on the health insurance package for St. Paul employees. However, the comparison is flawed not only because health insurance data is not included for all cities in the comparison group (thereby grossly understating the “total compensation” of these cities) but also because the data is based solely on the amount of money the City would pay for an employee who elected “family” coverage despite the fact that far fewer than half of St. Paul employees even take family coverage. Further, the City includes in its number the amount of its contribution to an employee’s VEBA account but does not include VEBA contributions made by other cities. Finally,much of the City’s data is simply incorrect – including even the dollar amount the City of St. Paul pays for family coverage. When you can’t even accurately report your own data, you really shouldn’t be making comparisons to anyone else.
· Even if “total compensation” were used – assuming the data were complied accurately and with some statistical integrity – the ranking of St. Paul police officers increases only to 18 out of 27 (from 22 out of 27 when considering only wages).
The Mayor’s claims are mindful of the old yarn about how the Soviet newspaper reported the results of track meets between the USSR and the USA. When the USA won, the headlines read “Soviets finish second.” When the USSR won, the headlines read “USSR finishes first, Americans last.” So when Mayor Coleman says that St. Paul’s “total compensation” is among the top five in the metro area – that perhaps would be true if there were only five cities in the comparison group. However, based on the actual comparison group of 27 metro cities, neither the Mayor nor his data have any credibility.
David A. Titus, Federation President