Police Union, City Councilman at odds over pay - Tucson News Now

Police Union, City Councilman at odds over pay

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

It's an issue which has been festering for several weeks now.

Ward VI City Council member Steve Kozachik has been looking for ways to cut the budget.

The city is facing a $27 million shortfall.

One proposal has been to end the Tucson Police and Fire sick leave sell back program.

Under the policy, police and fire veterans can sell back their unused sick time to the city.

For 100 Police and Fire, it meant more that $7,000 apiece last year.

Total cost to the city, $2.5 million.

Over the weekend, Tucson's Police Union, TPOA, posted a column on its Facebook page titled "Enough is Enough."

It accuses Kozachik of "yelling and screaming profanity laced threats of retaliation" when the Union yanked its endorsement of Kozachik after he voted against a TPD pay raise.

"This is phony," Kozachik says. "I'm sorry they would drop to that level."

Kozachik denies it ever happened.

"I overheard the conversation," says TPOA President Bill Bonnano. "I know for a fact that it occurred."

Kozachik also feels the union is using intimidation to keep others from siding with him to kill the sell back.

TPOA filed a Freedom of Information Request asking the University of Arizona, Kozachik's employer, for his pay records,

"That'd our right, Bonanno, who doesn't believe it's intimidation. "People do it to our organization all the time."

Still, Kozachik says he feels that's the intent.

"They're in the middle of contract negotiations," he says. "This kind of thing is intended to get all the council members, the mayor and city manager to back off their positions."

Kozachik says this is not a personal thing.

It's just because the city is facing a huge deficit and he's trying to fix it.

"This is a policy question in my world," he says. "And that's all it is."

But when asked if he considers it personal, "I do. I absolutely do," Bonanno says.

But Kozachik insists it's not personal, just business.

"Our roads are lousy, our parks are in lousy condition," he says. "This doesn't make sense from a policy standpoint."

Bonanno says the Facebook page has had thousands of views and likes and comments of support.

Kozachik is still waiting for his support.

So far, at least publicly, the rest of the council has been silent.

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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