City controller George Schupta, after the meeting, explained that this new contract means that Pravda now provides 100 percent of the security at Metro City facilities, including security at the Cigar Box, as well as the city libraries and even the children’s pool in Metro Park.
“This contract may be costing the city millions of dollars,” said city council chair Miles Chaplin before voting in favor of the contract, “but it saves us even more in overtime costs. In these tough times, taxpayers, I’m sure, will appreciate this.”
The president of the police union Local 4336, Juan Martinez, stood up during the public portion of the meeting and told the councilors he had “grave concerns” with the decision to “abdicate” all security duties to a private concern.
“My officers are highly trained professionals. They are experts in crowd control and emergency management,” said Martinez. “The only qualification to become a security guard at Pravda is an ability to wear a uniform and carry a night stick.”
Pravda officials responded to the council by declaring that all of its staff are extensively trained by “former members of military security forces from across the globe.”
Chairman Chaplin said the council will not hold taxpayers hostage to police officers who want to protect their overtime. He added that it is not the city’s fault the officers have overextended themselves with second summer homes along the shore funded by “padded” overtime payments. Other councilors echoed the chairman’s sentiments.
When union members loudly objected to the accusation, Chairman Chaplin ruled them out of order and threatened to eject them from the meeting.
Following the meeting, Martinez was asked to clarify the union’s opposition to the contract.
“This is not about jobs or income, although my members will feel the effects of the lost OT,” he said. “This is about handing over security to a for-profit entity whose primary loyalty is to increase its financial returns, not the safety of the people of Metrocity.”
The city contract with Pravda spans the next three years, with an option to renegotiate in the second year of the contract.
Metrocity Civic Center is the home facility for the city’s professional basketball team, the Metrocity Owls, and professional hockey team, the Metrocity Smoke.
The current city council of Metrocity continued its steady march to privatize all metropolitan services last night when it awarded yet another contract to Pravda Security Corp, a multi-national conglomerate headquartered in Belarus.
The Board of Supervisors approved 6-3 a multi-million dollar contract with Pravda to provide security and crowd control at the Metrocity Civic Center. Historically, security duties at the center (affectionately dubbed “The Cigar Box” by patrons) have been handled by Metrocity police officers who were paid over time.
City contracts provide police officers with triple time compensation for any overtime duties. This includes security duty at The Cigar Box.