No one can accuse Galveston’s police union of being bashful. One need only look at an embarrassing billboard the union commissioned declaring the island “Home of the Worst Police Retirement in Texas,” which was a statement about a long, heated battle between the Galveston police pension board and the city over an ailing pension system.

The billboard, over the northbound lane of Interstate 45 near the intersection with state Highway 146, went up in January at a time when the department was working to recruit more experienced officers. It’s still up, although everybody seemed to agree the pension had been improved with a locally bargained deal the state legislature approved more than a month ago.

 Laura Elder: 409-683-5248; laura.elder@galvnews.com

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(12) comments

Don Schlessinger

Well said Laura, thank you. I don't think the police union has the "nads" to allow the public watch the proceedings on TV.

Bailey Jones

I think all city business should be on TV.

David Hardee

Thanks for a public interest article calling for sunshine on the governmental shadow negotiations. You and Ken Heath are revising the once traditional 4th Estate constitutional protected mandate of exposing POWER (especially government) to scrutiny. You have created public reaction. Please do not let the trust of this article vanish from the public eye. The POWERFUL rely on the passage of time and short attention span of the public to escape continued scrutiny. Stay committed to the making the GDN (Galveston’s 4th Estate) the public eyes and ears on government deviants.

Wayne Holt

I am 100% in agreement with Laura's call for more transparency. There is an ongoing process of awakening by the public that our interests are best represented when we know what's going on, and we take steps to become involved in outcomes. This is part of that process and both city government and city services in negotiations should understand that, accept it and work with it. It doesn't have to be adversarial but the old days of dropping something on taxpayers' desks and saying "Sign this" are ending. I think most Galvestonians' perception of our police department is positive; mine certainly is and I have stated that publicly on many occasions. It is not going to tarnish that image if honest negotiations are held in such a way as to let taxpayers in on the process. The buck may stop somewhere else, but it starts with us.

Charles Wiley

The process is ugly, very ugly. There is good reason for those involved to want that process out of the public eye. Do you really want to see how the sausage is made?

Randy Chapman

And for the most part exceedingly boring. [sleeping]

Miceal O'Laochdha

Skilled and effective contract negotiation is, as Mr. Wiley says above, a sausage-making process that would be constrained and hampered by public observation and the inevitable commentary of those inexperienced in this "dance". The public (taxpayers who pay for the final outcome) should review the results of what their representatives have achieved in that negotiation (city officials hired by elected representatives) and register their approval in the lead up and voting of the next election. Similar to those subjects that are reserved by State law for executive sessions of public bodies, contract negotiations are harmed by public display during the process and taxpayers hoping to benefit from the display are, in reality, more likely to lose from it.

Gary Scoggin

When you televise negotiating you turn it into theater. And little gets done. Keep them private.

Miceal O'Laochdha

Nail on the head Gary; and said succinctly. Thanks.

Wayne Holt

Who turns it into theater? The negotiating parties? The viewers? If someone is grandstanding for the camera when they should be honestly involved in reaching a resolution, I would like to know about it when it's happening, not when it's a done deal and my next council election or ballot proposition is my only means of objecting. I don't see how letting the taxpayers in on the process is detrimental to a positive outcome if all parties are honest brokers.

Gary Scoggin

How much more dysfunctional has Congress gotten since the advent of C-SPAN?

Wayne Holt

If all the viewers of C-SPAN were gathered into one room...it could be an exceedingly small room. C-SPAN is not even a ripple on the Big Waters of popular media. Post hoc ergo propter hoc is a logical fallacy and one that is easy to fall prey to.

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