The Salt Lake police union released copies of a letter to the U.S. Olympic Committee billed as a "pressure tactic" in its bid for higher wages and said if Mayor Palmer DePaulis is unimpressed, he hasn't seen anything yet.
Salt Lake Police Association President David Greer told reporters Thursday the letter, addressed to the USOC site-selection team, is aimed at countering a "high-level public relations campaign" by DePaulis, he said.The letter was not a description of crime problems in the city as Greer previously threatened. Instead, he said it was written to correct attempts by DePaulis to discredit the union when the USOC visited the city last weekend.
"I am gravely concerned that Mayor DePaulis . . . may have tried to discredit the Salt Lake Police Association while you were in town," Greer wrote. Greer said he heard "through the grapevine" that DePaulis had smeared the union.
Greer said the mayor's campaign to "disparage the entire police department" was born out of acknowledgment that the police department is in decline.
"We hope that the negative things said about the police department by the mayor . . . don't jeopardize the city's bid for the Olympics," he told reporters.
Meanwhile, DePaulis pledged to go back to the budget books for another offer for the city's employee unions, although he has said the city's 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment and 2 percent merit raise won't change.
"But if it (a new salary offer) doesn't include additional pay increases," Greer said, "than the mayor shouldn't waste his time." The union could increase "pressure tactics," Greer added.
And if DePaulis isn't moved by job actions already employed, such as picketing rededication of the City-County Building, then the union will turn to "Plan B," Greer said.
"I don't think that he's seen anything yet," Greer said.
While the mayor explores salary alternatives for his employees, Greer said a proposal to eliminate an annual garbage pickup program, for a savings of $300,000, and $100,000 for urban forestry in the DePaulis budget could be redirected.
"It seems to me that this may be the year that some of those things could be redirected to public safety," he said.
DePaulis criticized the union for using tactics such as discouraging downtown shopping and targeting the Olympics because they serve as potent economic-development tools to generate revenue for employee salaries.
But Greer said those tactics are necessary to "get the mayor's attention" on the union's immediate needs.
Here's what Salt Lake police and fire union members earn each month, compared with average Salt Lake County workers in 1988, 89.
City police union members $2,350
City fire union member $2,348
County non-agricultural worker $1,627