Thursday, August 6, 2009

A sitdown for mayor and police prez?

I FLINCHED when I read of the confrontation between Mayor Plusquellic and police at the scene of a post-midnight week-end brawl downtown. Not again! And it didn't take long for the hostilities to break out in charges and counter-charges in the Beacon Journal. The police union's president Paul Hlynsky and mayoral adversary accused Plusquellic of abusively interfering with officers at the scene with slurred words. The always combative mayor accused the officers of being dismissive of his efforts to clear up the trouble.

I wasn't there, but one must wonder about the implications of the "slurred words" when the paper also reported that the tapes of Plusquellic's calls to 911 showed that the mayor's speech was clear and direct. Hlyinsky also supposed that the mayor should have "minded his own business". Well, on that point, the mayor is the city's public safety director and police work is part of his business.

None of this is to suggest that Plusquellic could not have handled the situation with more restraint. But the relationship between him and the police union has deteriorated for some time and grew still worse when, by a couple of votes, officers decided to support his recall in June.

Time for a truce. The hostilities will serve neither side well, and certainly not enhance the image of the city itself. Maybe the answer is for Plusquellic, a la Obama, to invite the union boss to a sitdown over beer to work out a detente. It couldn't hurt.

No comments: