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Originally published May 1, 2013 at 4:48 PM | Page modified May 1, 2013 at 4:48 PM

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Editorial: Stop the police union freebie

Seattle taxpayers cover the salary of the president of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild. Derail the gravy train. Now.

Seattle Times Editorial

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ONE almost has to admire the unmitigated gall — the audacity, the chutzpah — of sticking Seattle taxpayers with the salary of the president of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild.

Really. The pay for the chief administrative officer for a public employee union is paid by taxpayers, not the union members. Talk about police brass.

Even more incredibly, a decision over whether the raid on the public treasury should continue is described as one of the last items to be resolved in a new contract between the police and city.

This is not a close call. End the payment, and be polite enough to suppress a smirk about getting away with this scam for years.

Since the city’s 2008 contract with the guild, taxpayers have paid the union president’s salary and benefits, totaling $125,000.

His name is irrelevant, because this is about propriety, not personalities. This also has nothing to do with labor-management relations, or the role of unions in public and private employment.

This is all about the members of an organization accepting and supporting the overhead that goes with their enrollment and participation. Let the membership determine the appropriate salary and benefits and pay the bill, and weigh performance.

Buying into this deal in 2008 speaks more to political expediency and a wisp of cowardice and intimidation on the city’s side of the table. Sweetening the pot to get the contract settled. A lot of good that subsequently did.

Elected officials and the public they serve — and the federal Justice Department — have a few problems with how elements of the Seattle Police Department perform their duties. Focus on those use-of-force issues. Beef up oversight and accountability in the contract.

This sweetheart deal is a fiscal and public-policy insult. Ditch the offensive subsidy and put the union’s employee back on the union payroll.

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