Suffolk County Legis. Robert Trotta.

Suffolk County Legis. Robert Trotta. Credit: Newsday/Ed Betz

Kudos to Trotta for op-ed on police unions

Even though I am a lifetime Democrat, Legis. Robert Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) deserves the thanks of all Long Islanders for his courageous effort to end unethical campaign donations by the Suffolk County law enforcement unions ["Break police unions' grip on power," Opinion, March 22]. The arrogant and reactionary police unions have used the political power purchased with these donations and the respect that Long Islanders have for the police to dive deep into our pocketbooks, fight every reform, and control our elected officials. It is no accident that the Suffolk County Police Department has had gender and race discrimination, that former county Police Chief James Burke is serving a 46-month sentence, and nearly half of all SCPD officers earn more than $200,000 per year, excluding pension and medical benefits. Trotta, a retired Suffolk police officer, had the courage so desperately needed in elected officials to speak truth to power.

Keith H. Rothman, Commack

One has to give credit to Legis. Robert Trotta for asserting that police unions' political contributions has resulted in the high cost of Suffolk County police salaries. However, the real cause of rising police salaries on Long Island resides in the Public Employees' Fair Employment Act of 1969 (Taylor Law). It was originally enacted because the Transit Workers Union was hitting New York City with strikes every time a union contract expired. The Taylor Law required a good-faith effort in arriving at a contract. If none could be reached, a neutral arbitrator would impose a mandated contract for uniformed employees: binding arbitration. It essentially took the decision-making from elected officials to an assigned representative. If a neutral arbitrator is objective but unfavorable to the union, word gets out statewide to not agree to assign that arbitrator. If the residents of Suffolk and Nassau counties are, as suggested by Trotta, concerned about the rising influence of police unions and their subsequent cost, start with modifying the Taylor Law. Do away with the requirements of “binding arbitration.” Let the county executives decide.

Edward Boughal, Sayville

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