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Police salary approved after 18-month negotiation with City of Bloomington



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Paul Post, a senior police officer and president of the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, speaks during a city council meeting Dec. 4 at the Showers Building. A vote at the meeting settled almost two years of negotiations about officer pay. Joy Burton

The Bloomington City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to approve the 2019-22 contract for Bloomington police officers after 18 months of negotiation.

The council voted 8-0 on a resolution and two ordinances related to the contract negotiation between the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police and the city.

“We’re very excited we can end this process,” city attorney Mike Rouker said. “It’s been a very long process. I do believe both sides bargained in good faith.”

FOP president and Bloomington Police Department Senior Officer Paul Post said he was glad the negotiations are over. However, he said most FOP members aren’t satisfied with the contract, even though a strong majority of members approved it.

“Most of them have decided this is a self-preservation vote,” Post said.

If the FOP members hadn’t come to an agreement with the city by the end of 2019, there would be no guarantee of a contract.

Resolution 19-18 approves and authorizes the contract negotiation between the City of Bloomington and the FOP. Ordinance 19-20 fixes the salaries of Bloomington police officers and firefighters. The council couldn’t approve the ordinance until the police officers' salaries were agreed upon.

Ordinance 19-27 approved a one-time $1,000 bonus for police officers. They were supposed to receive a 2% salary increase for 2019, but because the contract wasn’t finalized until the end of the year, they will instead receive the $1,000 bonus on Dec. 20 in place of the raise.

Officers will also receive a 2.65% raise in 2020. The 2020 raise will be calculated from the salaries officers were supposed to have received with the 2019 raise and not their actual 2019 salaries.

Officers will get a 2.8% raise in 2021 and a 2.9% raise in 2022.

The city also pays longevity bonuses for up to 20 years of service. The maximum annual payment to an officer will rise from $2,000 to $2,500 per year.

The resolution also changes the pay structure of specialty bonuses by creating a third level of specialty. Now officers can earn bonuses of $500, $1,000 or $1,600 per year for having specialty positions, such as training instructor, detective or K9 officer.

Post said many FOP members are displeased with part of the contract that changes the policy on shift bidding, a practice that allows officers with more seniority to choose their shift.

“It’s been that way for years,” he said. “It’s been that way all over the country.”

Rouker said this led to most senior officers working the calmer morning shift and left the busier afternoon shift to the newest officers. The city wanted to spread out experience levels across the morning, afternoon and night shifts.

Rouker said the new contract begins phasing out shift bidding. Every officer hired after Jan. 1, 2020, won’t be able to bid for a shift and instead can submit a preference. The number of spots on each shift available for bidding will also be reduced, so only 75% of total spots on the shift can be bid for.

To encourage more senior officers to take the afternoon shift, Rouker said, the contract offers a $50 per week incentive to senior officers who preference the afternoon shift first or second.

Post said he and other FOP members are skeptical if these strategies will solve the problem with the afternoon shift.

“We have some concerns about whether it will actually help the issue on second shift, which, to us, is not as big of an issue I guess as it is to the administration,” he said.

The contract increases contractual overtime pay from $35 to $36 per hour and increases time off for union work from 125 to 150 hours per year. It also involves nonmonetary issues such as clarifying detective on-call hours and sick note policies.

“We’re going to see what happens over the next three years for the rest of this contract,” Post said.

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