The county and the police union have agreed to a new contract that requires both sides to compromise on contract length and merit-pay raises.
The agreement involves a concession on the county's side to a one-year instead of a two-year contract and a compromise on the union's side for merit-pay raises to be given on each officer's anniversary date instead of all on the same date.
In return, the union gets a shift differential pay scale that would give a 20-cents-per-hour wage increase to officers working the evening shift and a 10-cents-per-hour raise for those working the midnight shift.
The union voted, 129-23, on Saturday in favor of the offer. The union represents close to 220 of the county's 270 officers.
"I think the agreement we have, for these economic times, is a good one," said union President Dale Hill. "It was some hard, extensive bargaining, but the county was as fair as it can be. I'm very glad [County Executive Charles I. Ecker] decided to continue talking to us until we reached an agreement."
"I'm very happy about it," said County Administrator Raquel Sanudo. "Obviously, this was a situation that needed to be resolved."
The agreement was reached after eight months of negotiations and arbitration involving an independent fact-finder. Wives, families and friends of police officers staged a rally in front of the county government building in June to protest what they called unfair treatment by the county.
While some officers were unhappy about the contract, "what we tried to do with the funds that were available was to spread it out as evenly as possible," Mr. Hill said. "We knew Dr. Ecker couldn't give us an across-the-board raise because clauses in two other contracts would have given them the raise."
The average salary for an officer is $31,000 a year, said Mr. Hill.
"I think when we renegotiated with them and we came to a compromise, it was suitable to the union," said Ms. Sanudo.