NOPD Furloughs

By now, everyone is aware that there will be mandatory furloughs of personnel through the end of the year. There are 6 pay cycles starting on October 11 and ending on January 2, 2020. Everyone will be required take one unpaid furlough day in addition to your regular AWP days per 2-week pay cycle. There should be no need to take any more than 6 unpaid furlough days before the end of the year.

I was asked if officers were forbidden from scheduling their furlough day to coincide with AWP days or annual leave days. I was told there is no Department regulation or directive that would not allow taking annual the day before and the day after your scheduled furlough day. If you are AWP on Wednesday and Thursday, nothing prevents your furlough day from being Friday or Tuesday.

However, it is possible that your commander could implement a district directive to that effect. Or maybe your supervisors can’t make the schedule work like that, but it isn’t because of some department-wide directive.

There have been rumors about pay cuts, forced retirements, and all kinds of other unpleasant personnel actions. I am sure that all of those things are on the table. There are somethings the City can’t control. For example, your pension is a state pension. So, that money cannot be used elsewhere. That being said, your pension is the only benefit that will be impacted adversely by the furlough days. By the end of the year, you will be 6 days behind. Otherwise, your benefits will not be affected.

There was a special meeting of the New Orleans Civil Service Commission today (10/8/20). The only item on the agenda was the City’s request to waive the time delays found in Rule XII, Section 9. It does not impact the actual furlough of employees, just how quickly they can implement the furloughs. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the Commission voted to give the City Administration the waivers they were asking for.

I, on behalf of the FOP, have been working with Aaron Mischler of the New Orleans Firefighter’s Union to find a solution to the mandatory furloughs. Right now, this is looking like a promising exercise. However, there are no guarantees and it isn’t done until its done.

The FOP is working hard on your behalf and we will not stop. There are no guarantees, except that the FOP will be working hard on your behalf.

Civil Service Reform – Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

On April 3, 2014, Mayor Landrieu announced his “reforms” to the Civil Service system in New Orleans. These “reforms” include the ability hire and promote who they want. The Mayor claims these “reforms” do not impede the Civil Service Director’s ability to set minimum hiring standards, while at the same time inserting a provision that would require approval of the appointing authority (read appointee of the Mayor) before those minimum hiring standards are put in place. The “reforms” also include raising the minimum wage of about 200 city employees, which was apparently enough to fool some folks into supporting the measure.

The Louisiana Supreme Court said “In the science of government, experience is always the best teacher. The political drug store is full of panaceas, each with its trade-mark of some school of therapeutics blown in a bottle. In politics there is so often invoked the destructive concept of a practice that to the victor belongs the spoils. It is the “spoil system” that civil service desires to eradicate. If this Court knows what everybody knows, then it has knowledge that political opponents of one administration may be the governing body of the next, and the cranks of the old may become the philosophers of the new; but the value of civil service reform is wholly dependent on whether the law and the evidence, without exception, are fairly and justly applied by the Commissioners, and in the Courts with an even hand freely and fearlessly enforced.” Boucher v. Division of Employment Security, 226 La. 227, 75 So.2d 343 (1954).

The Mayor’s plan indicates that test scores for hiring and promotions should not be determining factors, then states that they should be able to eliminate entire pools of certified candidates if those persons are in the bottom half of the test scores. The Mayor’s plan repeatedly points to “falsely objective rankings” without providing any support for that contention. Just because you say it over and over doesn’t make it true.

It is not too surprising that some New Orleans city employees are dissatisfied with the Civil Service Department. It is difficult to perform when your department’s budget has been slashed repeatedly and your workforce has been diminished to a shadow of its former strength. There were also comments made by Rabbi Cohn regarding the slow pace of Civil Service proceedings. To that, we would simply say that Rabbi Cohn’s short tenure on the Civil Service Commission has been hindered recently by counter-productive actions taken by the current administration and their appointees designed only to impede progress.

We will not try to convince anyone that Civil Service could not be made more efficient or that things couldn’t be done better. We will tell you that these improvements can be made without impacting the foundation of the Civil Service system that the people of Louisiana felt was so important that Civil Service was included in the Louisiana Constitution.

The New Orleans Police Department and the New Orleans Fire Department account for nearly half of all classified civil service employees in the City of New Orleans. We stand united in opposition to this “reform.”

Walter Powers, Jr., President
Fraternal Order of Police
Crescent City Lodge #2

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Nick Felton, President
New Orleans Fire Fighters Association Local 632

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