Police, county work toward contract agreement

April 06, 1993|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Staff Writer

Contract talks between the county and the police union continued yesterday without a mediator, as both sides try to come to an agreement before the current contract expires June 30.

Dale L. Hill, president of the Howard County Police Association, said the talks would continue this week.

"We'll try and work out some differences," he said.

"I would certainly hope we could reach it as soon as possible," said County Administrator Raquel Sanudo of a possible agreement. She declined to elaborate while both sides negotiate.

If an agreement is reached, the 215 members of the police union will vote on it Monday, he said. Otherwise, a fact-finder probably will come in April 14 to consider both sides, then issue a non-binding opinion.

On Wednesday, an independent mediator was called to try to resolve the impasse, which included a disagreement on a financial package and on working conditions for the officers, Mr. Hill said. The mediator was unsuccessful and returned again Friday.

Both sides agreed to continue talks on their own this week.

The talks began in November but were stymied when negotiators could not agree on a financial package or working conditions, the union president said. The union is seeking parity with other jurisdictions for county officers' salaries, which average $31,000 annually.

During the last three years, negotiations for police contracts have been difficult.

Last year, a one-year contract was reached six weeks after the previous contract expired and after supporters of the officers staged a protest outside the county government building. A fact-finder was used during those negotiations.

In the last contract, officers on the evening shift received raises of 20 cents an hour and those on the midnight shift earned 10 cents more an hour.

Officers wanted to receive merit pay raises all at once, but instead got the raises on their individual anniversary dates.

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