FRAMINGHAM – City of Framingham Police Chief said in an email to his department that the Framingham Police will not be marching in the Mayor’s Flag Day Parade on Sunday, June 9.
Police Chief Steven Trask wrote, “Due to a lack of interest, the Framingham Police Department will not be marching in the Flag Day Parade and the Fire Department will lead the parade.”
But the Framingham Police Officers Union disagrees with the Chief’s characterization of “lack of interest.”
“Members of the Framingham Police Officers Union were informed by Chief Trask in an email sent May 14 that the City of Framingham is seeking volunteers from the Police Department to lead the 2019 Flag Day Parade. A subsequent email indicated that the Police Department will not be represented in the parade due to ‘lack of interest,” said Framingham Police Officers Union President Ryan Porter in a statement. “Our 96 officers do not lack interest. On the contrary, many of us have a vested interest in Framingham, as we both live and work here. Our interest is in fostering safety, helping our residents, and improving ourselves as police officers so that we can serve the City to the best of our abilities.”
Officer Porter, speaking as union president, said the “Flag Day Parade is a great Framingham tradition – one that many of us would feel honored to lead. However, it has also become tradition in Framingham to not support our police officers, and that is one tradition that must end before we can, in good faith, volunteer our time for celebrations.”
The Framingham Police Officers Union in a statement said the “Flagg Report commissioned by City leadership outlines many issues our FPOU (union) members face. Lack of pay in comparison to other cities of comparable size, call volume, and demographics is at the root of these issues. Understaffing, consistent forced overtime, unprecedented changes in the allowable use and accrual of paid time off, and year after year of arbitrating union contracts has culminated in the poor morale you read about in the Flagg Report.”
Since that report, one police officer was struck by a vehicle and another injured his foot/ankle during an arrest. Thus, the department is now short 22 police officers.
“Officers who routinely work 12-to 18-hour days to supplement their subpar base salary cannot be asked to take more time away from their families to celebrate a City that has yet to show its support for them,” said Union President Porter.
“Since being elected FPOU President earlier this month, I have had positive conversations with Chief Trask, Mayor Spicer, and members of the City’s leadership. These conversations make me, as well as the majority of FPOU members, hopeful for changes in what has become the tradition of tenuous relations between the FPOU and the decision-makers on the other side of the negotiating table,” said Officer Porter, as Union President.
“We hope to be asked to lead the 2020 parade at a time during which we can march proudly and in unison with Department and City leadership that works collaboratively and respectfully with the men and women who put everything on the line for the City of Framingham,” said Officer Porter, speaking on behalf of the union as its president.