Rosemount City Council supports raise for police
The city of Rosemount is in the midst of working out contracts with all of its unions. Police are the city's biggest unit, so city staff has concentrated efforts there.
On Feb. 15 city administrator Dwight Johnson shared the police union's most recent offer with the city council. He said union leaders offered a contract that would include a 1 percent raise in 2012, a 1 percent raise in January 2013 and another 1 percent in July 2013. They also asked for a $50 increase per year for the uniform stipend, bringing the number to $750. The union consists of 17 police officers. The last contact expired Jan. 1, 2012. Conditions of the old contract stay in place until a new one can be worked out.
The city's contract with the police union will likely be a trend setter for the city's other three unions: AFSCME, Teamsters and Supervisory Unit. Johnson said staff anticipates if that is the case the cost will be about $35,000 more than the council's goal.
Johnson told council members police unions can't strike because they are considered an essential service, but the contract can go to arbitration. Johnson thought it likely that if the council did not agree with the union's latest contract offer, the next step would be arbitration.
While arbitrators can rule either way, between legal expenses and the unknowns Johnson thought it could be a wash. Johnson said in other cities around the area arbitrators have recently ruled in favor of the unions.
While there was some disappointment expressed, council members directed staff to move forward with the contract with the police union.
"I'm ok with it," said council member Matt Kearney.
Council member Kim Shoe-Corrigan said she wanted to move forward with the contract but also wants the department to come up with cost saving measures to help make up some of the money.
Johnson said union leaders will bring the contract back to members for a vote. Johnson told the council he thinks union leaders will have to work to get members to agree to the contract.
If the members approve the contract, the council will formally approve it at a meeting. Johnson told council members he thinks the other three contracts will settle quickly after that.