Former Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis told Herald Radio today "the line has to be drawn" on the Hub's lucrative public-employee contracts, which he said are increasingly "out of step" with the harsh reality of penny pinching and belt-tightening in the private sector.
"The taxpayers are sick of paying more taxes. They want government reducing costs, not expanding them. The city of Boston is a corporation and that corporation lives and dies on the budget," Davis said on "Morning Meeting" with hosts Jaclyn Cashman and Hillary Chabot.
The City Council is scheduled today to discuss the controversial six-year, $87 million patrolmen's pay raise arbitrator Timothy J. Buckalew awarded police.
Davis, who announced his resignation in September, called the 25.4-percent increase "a difficult issue."
"Nobody in private industry has received that kind of a raise over the last six years," Davis said.
In 2010, a state arbitration panel awarded Boston firefighters a 19 percent raise retroactive to 2006 and worth $74 million. That bump "set the stage" for the position city officials find themselves in now with police.
"There's a long history here of arbitrators making decisions that are not in step with the private sector," said Davis, adding that whatever the council and the mayor's office decide, "there's going to be a significant pay raise here, but the line has to be drawn."
Davis, who after 35 years of fighting crime is taking a couple years off to "figure out what I want to do," tentatively ruled out politics as a career path. "I have no intention of being a politician," he said, but acknowledged that Mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh will be his pupil in a class he's teaching for new mayors tomorrow at Harvard University.
Walsh has made violent crime a focus of his administration, which Davis said he does not take as a slight. During his six years as commissioner, Davis said serious crime dropped by 30 percent.
"Despite the fact that we have good numbers we still have serious crime numbers in the neighborhoods," he said. "If he wants to concentrate on them, I wish him the best of luck."
Davis is also serving on an exploratory committee with former Gov. Mitt Romney and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft to possibly bring the Olympics to Boston in 2024.
"This could be a very exciting opportunity for the city of Boston," Davis said.
Asked by Chabot if the city will see him dress in blue again, Davis said after a pregnant pause, "I think you will. The next couple years I want to try something different. I want to work for some charities. After that, anything's up in the air."
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