On union questionnaire, Connolly has one-word answer

Earlier this year Boston’s patrolmen union had mayoral candidates fill out a questionnaire that made their top priority clear. The first question addressed the four-year fight over a new contract and an arbitration ruling that was imminent.

City Councilor John R. Connolly wasted no words in his response, according to a copy of the questionnaire obtained by the Globe.

On the questionnaire, the union recounted the long history of the contract fight. Then they posed a question: “Do you and will you support the Joint Labor-Management Committee’s process and lawful resolution of this collective bargaining dispute between the City and the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association.”

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Connolly’s answer was a single word: “Yes.”

Did Connolly mean “yes” he would vote to fund the arbitration award? Did he mean “yes” he supported the process and a lawful resolution? Was his answer on the questionnaire at odds with his announcement Tuesday that he would vote against the arbitration award?

“I believe in arbitration,” Connolly said Tuesday when asked about his answer on the questionnaire. “Public safety unions don’t have the right to strike.”

But Connolly also said the review by the City Council was crucial to ensure the fiscal health of the city. The Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association president Thomas J. Nee could not be reached for comment.

Connolly’s rival, state Representative Martin J. Walsh, expounded a bit more on his questionnaire, according to a copy reviewed by the Globe.

“Yes,” Walsh wrote in response to the question about arbitration. “I have long been a supporter of an efficient and fair resolution process to collective bargaining. The JLMC provides a critical vehicle for resolving labor-management issues for our important public safety personnel. The JLMC exists to produce definitive resolutions to negotiations and it should be allowed to serve that role to the benefit of taxpayers and the public safety of our citizens without interference from the mayor. A stronger collaborative relationship will help narrow the collective bargaining issues that would necessitate the use of the JLMC.”