When Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster delivered his State of the City address, he had to address the city’s $1.2 billion pension shortfall.

What he didn’t have to do, and the police union says he shouldn’t have done, was put their feet to the fire and deliver an ultimatum.

The choice, as Mayor Foster presented it, was for the union to accept his pension reform proposal or he would take it to the voters as a ballot initiative.

POA President Steve James said that making such claims prevents negotiation in good-faith. Whatever the case may be if it was an empty threat, then I suspect it will provide an increased sense of urgency to the negotiations. And if it wasn’t, it was the first step towards a take-it-or-leave-it reform package.

From the Press-Telegram:

The head of the Long Beach Police Officers Association said today that Mayor Bob Foster’s ultimatum on pension reform is bad-faith bargaining.

“I don’t appreciate what the mayor did,” POA President Steve James said. “Ultimatums are not part of bargaining.”

He said that the impression given by the mayor Tuesday night during his State of the City Address that labor groups aren’t playing ball on pension reform was wrong.

Read the full article here.