Police union, county agree on proposal to raise pay 1.5% increase reached over grim predictions

April 06, 1997|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

The union representing county police officers has agreed to a labor contract that includes raises for more than 450 patrol officers, despite grim predictions from the police union president the day before the final meeting that negotiations might fail.

The agreement, reached Thursday after more than nine hours of bargaining by union and county negotiators, provides a 1.5 percent across-the-board pay raise and additional salary increases for officers at the middle and high end of the pay scale.

"I think it was a good outcome, and I think the police feel they have something reasonable," said county attorney Phillip F. Scheibe.

"We probably gave a little bit more than we thought we had to, but that's the result of negotiation," Scheibe said.

Dennis P. Howell, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police lodge, had predicted that the meeting Thursday might be the last for negotiations because talks were not going well.

He warned that if the county granted officers no raise, as happened last year, morale would plummet even more. Howell referred calls to Bill Wild, the FOP vice president, who declined to comment until the agreement was presented to the membership.

It was unclear when the vote would be taken.

Scheibe said he did not know how much the agreement would cost the county or the dollar amount of the average raise.

In addition to the 1.5 percent raise for officers, the agreement calls for two steps to be added to the police pay scale. That way, the additional money for pay raises will be given to the more experienced officers, Scheibe said.

Additionally, quarterly allowances for weapons and uniforms -- on average about $700 a year -- would be folded into salaries.

That will mean greater pension benefits because the pension is based on salary, Scheibe said.

With the police agreement complete, the county must negotiate with the unions representing firefighters and the Sheriff's Department before County Executive John G. Gary delivers his budget to the County Council on May 1, Scheibe said.

Pub Date: 4/06/97

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