Editorial: Use of in-house counsel by the Union And the City saved countless tax dollars

THE HPOU NEGOTIATED ANOTHER BENEFICIAL CONTRACT for Houston police officers through the use of a time-tested method that inspired determination from both sides to get the job done without emotional conflicts and petty events.

The Union had a dedicated team led by HPOU President Ray Hunt, First and Second Vice Presidents Doug Griffith and Joe Gamaldi, Secretary Will Reiser and Executive Director Mark Clark. In addition, of course, Hunt and the negotiators had back-up from an advisory committee consisting of officers, sergeants, lieutenants and captains, as well as legal advice from veteran HPOU legal counsel Bob Armbruster, himself a retired HPD officer.

But aside from a successful negotiation for improved benefits, the Union can share credit for saving city taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. We say “share” in this context because the record clearly shows that neither the Union nor the City took the costly step of hiring outside counsel in the long, drawn-out process.

Other Texas cities have gone outside and as a result have seen costs of contract negotiations rise by as much as $700,000 or more. True, there are no records kept in any savings account of any sort, but it’s safe to say that use of in-house personnel by both sides saved a sizeable amount of tax money for the people of Houston who deserve the best possible police protection.

Hats off to both sides for this foresighted policy shared by both the Union and the City that avoided a negative story that involved.