Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland says he is confident more police officers will want to come to this city. He points to what he says are big improvements in salary and retirement health benefits. Ask the heads of the Memphis Fire and Police Associations whether he’s right, and you’ll get a far different answer. Let’s just say they think he is full of baloney.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland says when you hear the association presidents saying these things, and he says you will hear them, remember that this upcoming year will be one where contracts are negotiated. The Mayor says “You gotta remember that union officials are advocates for their employees. And their always trying to be those advocates. They have to take extreme positions.”
Strickland thinks critics of his recent changes to retired workers health insurance plans are taking extreme positions. “I know that they were unhappy with the changes made a couple of years ago,” he says, “but we have made them better, and we will continue to take steps to better compensate them.”
He says this the mayor does. Yet Memphis Fire Association President Thomas Malone says in his words morale is “in the tank.”
Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams says the administration isn’t trying to make anything better. “We don’t want you to say we’re trying to fix this,” Williams says. “We want you to fix it really.”
Mayor Strickland says the difference is his folks are talking about the associations. “We’re communicating with the officers and firefighters more than in recent past.”