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HomeNewsArchivesPBA EVENT AT TOURIST SITE SET FOR WEDNESDAY

PBA EVENT AT TOURIST SITE SET FOR WEDNESDAY

Apparently intending to make good on his threat to bring police grievances to the attention of tourists, Police Benevolent Association president Elroy Raymo has announced a "press conference" for 10 a.m. Wednesday at Al Cohen's Mall across the street from the entrance to the Havensight Mall and the cruise ship docks. He said the event would be "peaceful."
At a demonstration Raymo led outside the Zone A Command in downtown Charlotte Amalie on June 30, he said he would take his message to tourists if the government didn't do something about pay increases in the police union contract not being honored.
Police Commissioner Franz Christian, who last week termed Raymo's threatened action "highly irresponsible," said Tuesday he was concerned about the union plans. "I will monitor the situation, and any action that needs to be taken will be taken," he said. Christian added, however, that he is optimistic that the demonstration will be peaceful. "I want the community and the tourism interests to be at ease," he said.
Raymo, the commissioner noted, "cannot officially speak on any issue before the police. He can air the discontent of the PBA membership, but he is not allowed to state any official message on behalf of the Police Department."
Christian said he has met with union officials on the issue, and has "expressed my deep concern about anything being said or done." He added, "I am most certain the unions understand my position that anything good for the department cannot injure the safety or the economic growth of the community."
The commissioner stressed that he will not tolerate placards or any actions that would compromise the safety of or cause embarrassment to the territory. As far as any intervention action, "I will have to wait and see," he said, "and if I have to step in, I will."
Christian said he had spoken with Edward E. Thomas, chief executive officer of the West Indian Co. Ltd., which manages the Havensight Mall for the Public Employees Retirement System. Thomas said he had not authorized any demonstrations on WICO property. Al Cohen's Mall is not a part of the Havensight Mall property, however.
Capt. Al Donastorg, president of the Law Enforcement Supervisors Union and Zone A commander, said of the LESU, "We don't generally participate in demonstrations. If any individual member wants to, he does it on his own with no blessing from me."
In his 25 years of labor experience, Donastorg said, he has seen that "you can walk and shout and scream, but you have nothing afterward to touch." He said the only tangible improvement he has seen is Zone A's new headquarters in the Alexander A. Farrelly Criminal Justice Building, which took three years of protests and complaints to attain. "Now," he said, "I can point to a much better working environment, indeed more professional. The struggle was worth it."
But he doesn't recommend the PBA expressing public discontent over wages. "It's counterproductive," he said, referring to Raymo's declared intention to address tourists. "We are the ones responsible for security for visitors and residents, alike," he said. "The government doesn't have the funds to pay us right now. We ought to analyze that and come to the realization that we are expending resources we don't have."
In Donastorg's view, "We should utilize the services available to us, like the Public Employees Relations Board." But, he said, the law has "no teeth in it." For example, he said, there should be a $5,000 violation for the administration ignoring workers' legitimate complaints.

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Apparently intending to make good on his threat to bring police grievances to the attention of tourists, Police Benevolent Association president Elroy Raymo has announced a "press conference" for 10 a.m. Wednesday at Al Cohen's Mall across the street from the entrance to the Havensight Mall and the cruise ship docks. He said the event would be "peaceful."
At a demonstration Raymo led outside the Zone A Command in downtown Charlotte Amalie on June 30, he said he would take his message to tourists if the government didn't do something about pay increases in the police union contract not being honored.
Police Commissioner Franz Christian, who last week termed Raymo's threatened action "highly irresponsible," said Tuesday he was concerned about the union plans. "I will monitor the situation, and any action that needs to be taken will be taken," he said. Christian added, however, that he is optimistic that the demonstration will be peaceful. "I want the community and the tourism interests to be at ease," he said.
Raymo, the commissioner noted, "cannot officially speak on any issue before the police. He can air the discontent of the PBA membership, but he is not allowed to state any official message on behalf of the Police Department."
Christian said he has met with union officials on the issue, and has "expressed my deep concern about anything being said or done." He added, "I am most certain the unions understand my position that anything good for the department cannot injure the safety or the economic growth of the community."
The commissioner stressed that he will not tolerate placards or any actions that would compromise the safety of or cause embarrassment to the territory. As far as any intervention action, "I will have to wait and see," he said, "and if I have to step in, I will."
Christian said he had spoken with Edward E. Thomas, chief executive officer of the West Indian Co. Ltd., which manages the Havensight Mall for the Public Employees Retirement System. Thomas said he had not authorized any demonstrations on WICO property. Al Cohen's Mall is not a part of the Havensight Mall property, however.
Capt. Al Donastorg, president of the Law Enforcement Supervisors Union and Zone A commander, said of the LESU, "We don't generally participate in demonstrations. If any individual member wants to, he does it on his own with no blessing from me."
In his 25 years of labor experience, Donastorg said, he has seen that "you can walk and shout and scream, but you have nothing afterward to touch." He said the only tangible improvement he has seen is Zone A's new headquarters in the Alexander A. Farrelly Criminal Justice Building, which took three years of protests and complaints to attain. "Now," he said, "I can point to a much better working environment, indeed more professional. The struggle was worth it."
But he doesn't recommend the PBA expressing public discontent over wages. "It's counterproductive," he said, referring to Raymo's declared intention to address tourists. "We are the ones responsible for security for visitors and residents, alike," he said. "The government doesn't have the funds to pay us right now. We ought to analyze that and come to the realization that we are expending resources we don't have."
In Donastorg's view, "We should utilize the services available to us, like the Public Employees Relations Board." But, he said, the law has "no teeth in it." For example, he said, there should be a $5,000 violation for the administration ignoring workers' legitimate complaints.