Making a Monopoly Out of Police Details

The following was recently received as a comment from Lt. Chris Billiot in response to our recent Letter to the Editor regarding the planned changes to the NOPD detail system.

I would like to invite and encourage anyone who would like to share their thoughts on police details to submit something to be published. It can be about these so-called “reforms” or it can be your personal experience working paid details with how the detail impacted the community we serve. It could also be about how working paid details has impacted your family.

I would also like to strongly encourage anyone who works details to ask their detail employer to contribute their personal experiences with paid details and how it effected their business or event.

I will be happy to give the author credit for the article or post it anonymously at the author’s direction. Furthermore, I will refrain from editing (except maybe spacing for readability like I did below). You are welcome to submit something even if you do not work for NOPD. Email me or call me about submitting something — Donovan Livaccari dlivaccari@gmail.com; dal@livlaw.com; 504-905-8280; or click Contact Me.

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Very nicely put, but I see this as a restriction of trade in which this City is vying for a monopoly of a business that has long been established.

I understand that the City is trying to pass this off as yet another “Best Practices of OTHER departments” but that is neither here nor there. I would like to know what the AFL/CIO think of this taking over of business opportunities that many new officers will never get to see. I believe this is why a Lawsuit needs to be filed to stop this. The sad thing is that regardless of Lawsuits, or any other action, this City will go forward with their plans and thus destroy the business opportunities for all.

My question to Salomone now, as it was back in June when I talked to him, is “What happens on a Saturday afternoon when a person (Let’s say a moving company) calls and requests a detail for that evening or on Sunday morning?” I wouldn’t work it for 40 an hour, much less 29. Some people will, but then it will be very few, and fewer as the years go on. Because even in the days when I WAS a detail hound, I’d rather do things with my family than work for the minimum, or less than I would in overtime… Unless the pot were sweetened to say 50 an hour or so, then my Wife would quickly say, “Oh really? We can have our anniversary dinner tomorrow, you should go make a quick 200.” So where will the manpower come from to fill the details when no one wants to work?

Although I do not work details, and could not if I wanted to at this point, I am the contact person for two Details that I have been involved with for over 20 years. It’s sad to say that neither of these two entities will use NOPD ever again, because part of one detail is already partially covered by Criminal Sheriffs, and the other is only a result of a personal friend who contacted me as a courtesy many years ago.

On funny note, I recently called a person who came to work part of one of the annual details last year in an emergency. I asked him if he’d like to work it again this year. His answer, “Thanks for the offer, lieu, but I’m sick of this shit, so I’m boycotting details from now on…” I applauded him his stance, and added that I wished I could be there with him. I am with him, but It seems shallow given the fact that I am not allowed to work them anyway.

As I told Mr. Salamone, I don’t see anything good coming from this, and I see nobody benefitting from it other than HIM, and those who eventually obtain employment to work under him.

Again, this is an infringement on free trade, and that’s how I’ll continue to view it. Thanks for fighting for us.

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Grandfather Heavy, Grandfather Lite, Grandfather ain’t Coming to Visit No More – The New Orleans Domicile Ordinance

In 1995, the City of New Orleans implemented a domicile ordinance. The 1995 ordinance required that one live in the city to work for the city. In 2005, following Hurricane Katrina, the City Council waived the ordinance. It was waived once more and on December 31, 2012, those waivers expired. What we were left with was a domicile ordinance that could have significantly impacted the NOPD’s ability to recruit new officers.

The Fraternal Order of Police argued that the domicile ordinance should be permanently repealed. While we were lobbying for the ordinance’s repeal, it became clear that we did not have the votes on the Council and there was going to continue to be a domicile ordinance in some form.

City Council President Stacey Head took the lead on modernizing the ordinance. Under Councilmember Head’s amendment (Grandfather Heavy), the following changes would be implemented:

1. New police and fire hires would not have to comply with the domicile ordinance until they became regular employees (permanent employees).

2. For police employees, that would be 180 days after becoming a regular employee (after P/O I probationary period).

3. Any employee hired prior to January 1, 2013 would be globally exempt from the ordinance. That would mean that if you lived out of the city, you could remain out of the city and you would be free to establish a new domicile out of the parish without jeopardizing your employment. Finally, you could move into or out of the city as you saw fit.

If there had to be a domicile ordinance, which appeared to be the case, Councilmember Head’s ordinance seemed reasonable, especially if you were hired prior to January 1, 2013.

On March 4, 2013, the FOP appeared before the Governmental Affairs Committee for the City Council to again argue (.pdf) for the ordinance’s repeal. It appeared that Councilmember Head’s amendment, as outlined above, would be presented to the City Council on March 7, 2013.

On March 7, 2013, the FOP appeared before the New Orleans City Council to again argue for the repeal of the domicile ordinance (.pdf).

At that time, we learned that Councilmember Cantrell intended to introduce an amendment (Grandfather Lite) that would require anyone hired prior to January 1, 2013 who lived out of the city to move back into the city if they changed their actual domicile address. Furthermore, the amendment would have required you to move back within 180 days in order to accept a position at a higher classification (promotion).

A little while later, we learned that Councilmember Hedge-Morrell intended to introduce an amendment (Grandfather Lite) that would make it illegal for city employees hired prior to January 1, 2013 who lived in the city to move out of the city.

Councilmember Head’s amendment came up for a vote first and passed. Councilmember Hedge-Morrell’s amendment came up next and passed. Councilmember Cantrell’s amendment, one urged by Mayor Landrieu, came up next and failed.

What are we left with? Here is a gist of how the ordinance will look:

1. All city employees must live in the city.
2. In order to be hired by the City of New Orleans, you must live in the city. However, you will be given a 180 day grace period in which to comply. New police employees (after January 1, 2013), they will have 180 days from the point they become regular employees (permanent) to comply with the ordinance.
3. If you were hired prior to January 1, 2013, and you live outside of New Orleans, you can stay outside of New Orleans without effecting your employment or ability to be promoted.
4. If you were hired prior to January 1. 2013 and you live outside of New Orleans, but subsequently move back in to the city, you cannot move back out.
5. If you were hired prior to January 1, 2013 and you live in the City of New Orleans, you cannot move out. If you move out of the city, you would be in violation of the ordinance and subject to termination.
6. If you are hired after 12/31/12 and the applicable grace period has expired, you must live in the city and you cannot move out of the city.
7. You will be able to request a hardship waiver through your Appointing Authority (for police that is the Superintendent) and the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the city. At this point, we do not know exactly how that will work.

The FOP would like to thank Councilmember Head for working closely on drafting this ordinance. She and her staff were very responsive to our concerns, even if we did not agree on everything. Hopefully the Council will realize the folly of this ordinance and repeal it in the near future.  You should feel free to contact your elected representatives and express your opinion.