City | 4:59 pm | June 29, 2012 | By James Lu

NHPD union names new president

After 16 NHPD officers were laid off in a round of budget cuts in February 2011, former NHPD union president Sgt. Louis Cavaliere Sr. led a protest of about 200 officers at City Hall, a move that drew wide criticism from lawmakers. Now, his son Louis Cavaliere Jr. is taking the helm of the union.
After 16 NHPD officers were laid off in a round of budget cuts in February 2011, former NHPD union president Sgt. Louis Cavaliere Sr. led a protest of about 200 officers at City Hall, a move that drew wide criticism from lawmakers. Now, his son Louis Cavaliere Jr. is taking the helm of the union. Photo by Kamaria Greenfield.

Louis Cavaliere Jr. was unanimously elected president of New Haven’s police union on Wednesday, putting him in a position his father occupied for three decades until last year.

After current president Arpad Tolnay announced he would step down from the post amid allegations of union credit card misuse, the union’s executive board picked Cavaliere to lead the union, the New Haven Register reported. Tasked with leading the union’s contract negotiations with the city, Cavaliere Jr. is no stranger to the job: he has served almost a decade on the union’s executive board and his father, Louis Cavaliere Sr., now a paid consultant for the union, led the union through several confrontations with City Hall.

“I’ll try to continue to do the job that [my father has] done — service the membership and protect the contract,” Cavaliere Jr. told the Register. “Living with my father, a lot of union business rubbed off on me.”

The timetable for the transition of leadership remains uncertain: while Cavaliere Jr. said Tolnay had indicated he would step down on Sunday, Tolnay told the Register that this view was “mistaken.”

Tolnay will step down amid rank-and-file anger at what some viewed as his subdued approach in dealing with New Haven Police Department leadership, and allegations that he misused a union credit card for between $2,000 and $5,000 of personal expenses.

Cavaliere Sr. said he was “proud” his son would be following in his footsteps, and indicated that he would be on hand to advise his son as he deals with police management.

“Management is management. They’ll take advantage of you every chance they get,” Cavaliere Sr. told the Register. “You have to pound them every chance you get. When it’s time to get tough, you’ve got to dig in.”

The police union’s last contract with the city expired June 30, 2011.

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