Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis is again catching flack from officers, this time from a cop blogger after Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed went with a story about Weis accepting a month of unpaid furlough time in solidarity with his officers.
As SecondCityCop points out, most Chicago officers are not taking unpaid furlough days, and if they had to, there’d likely be a small coup d’état in their union. And Weis, the highest paid city official, is not required to take the days because he’s under contract.
Weis and the cops he oversees have had a friendly, combative relationship since he took over -- without the friendly part -- as evidenced by the union’s stinging vote of no confidence in Weis earlier this year. Many officers see the former FBI special agent, dubbed "J-Fed" by SecondCityCop, as an outsider who doesn’t understand the complexities of policing Chicago’s streets. SecondCityCop thinks he’s worried about his political skin and not looking out for the rank-and-file, whose numbers are dwindling due to cuts in police hiring.
To add fuel to the fire, the city and the Fraternal Order of Police are in the midst of tense negotiations for a new contract. Daley called for arbitration last week, a move that angered FOP President Mark Donahue, who said budget cuts are already hurting the force.
“Our members are sacrificing their safety on a daily basis by the depletion of manpower on the streets. It’s 450 to 500 down from authorized strength -- and getting lower every month,” Donahue told the Sun-Times.
Taking the furlough days or not taking them seems to be a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t spot for Weis. Fighting the furlough would have been stepping in front of a firing squad for the embattled superintendent. But to SecondCityCop, quietly taking it makes him look like he’s stepping in line in the mayor’s machine.