Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Paid Details

It is a rather simple sign shaped just like a stop sign and attached to the end of a long pole. One side has in red letters stop and the other side has in green letters go. A workman just moves the sign to inform traffic how to proceed in a construction site. I see this in my travels all over the country but with one exception - Massachusetts.

Here we have one of the most pronounced handouts to a union that I can imagine. It is called the paid detail and it can be the source of substantial pay to police. I have often wondered why I see multiple state police cruisers at work sites with officers not visible that often outside the cruiser. The lights provide that moth type attracted to drivers who are careless or have ingested too much alcohol or drugs and seems to have been responsible for a rash of tragic incidents in the last year or so.

On the local level the paid details will usually be found hovering around a G & E “work” crew to direct traffic and generally insure that the hole is properly excavated. Now the usual justification is it is a safety issue and we simple citizens should be content to have such well trained law enforcement officers in the general vicinity to make sure no evil doers or miscreant drivers create any “issues.” The retired officers especially look in prime physical condition to handle any problems that may occur.

Recently BB and I were returning from a running foray and were cruising along route 28 when a work site appeared. I could see the cones out and, of course, the mountainous G & E truck that was the usual hive of activity with a G & E crew. I slowed. Neither BB nor myself had the slightest idea if we were being waved forward. The arm signal could not be seen with the glare so I crept forward until I realized that there was actually a half hearted effort to signal us to scurry along. After running the gauntlet of cones we came across the second member of the detail who I noticed was deep in conversation with someone in a cruiser. I am sure the topic for discussion was advanced law enforcement techniques.

Attempts have been made to at least diminish the fiscal impact of this golden goose with the latest being by the Patrick Administration. From what I have read the savings are about nil so I guess it’s the thought that counts.

I know a few years back the administrators in Halifax attempted to eliminate paid details. Not sure if the chief was involved or this was some type of austerity program implemented to contain cots. I’m not sure if this was during the Benjamino regime and they may have been forced to find pennies elsewhere to fork out cash to their spiffy ambulance service.

Paid details will probably be with us forever. When I discuss it with officers in other states it usually results in inquiring about job possibilities, housing costs and the weather. But what I would like to see is a simple concession to logic - get those freaking stop/go signs so I have a clue of what you are doing.

Alone the legal front comes another jury that was sent down from the mother ship to make judgment. This one found one Albert Arroyo innocent of fraud which, specifically, was collecting a disability from the Boston Fire Department for an “on the job injury.” Now this “bad back” made it impossible for him to work even at a desk job or fire prevention but it did not stop him from competitive body building or palying hard ball baseball.

Albert also claimed during the trial that the union encouraged him to file for a disability. I just can’t imagine a public service union doing that!

I actually followed this trial and assumed it was a slam dunk but now you just never know. I have no idea what this brain dead jury was doing and the decision is just incomprehensible to me. So Albert will continue to collect 65 large each year for the rest of his life.

I have now lost count of the number of union inspired materials I have received from the Brunelle campaign. As a retired teacher my wife and I have been inundated with the usual MTA fliers. Brunelle is the education candidate? No....he is the one that will be able to do the bidding for the MTA just like his sponsor Pacheco has done.

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