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City of DeKalb approves three-year union contract for DeKalb police officers

DeKALB – DeKalb Police Department’s officers once again are operating under a collective bargaining agreement after the DeKalb City Council and the police union agreed on a three-year contract that includes wage increases that will total 9% by 2022.

Jason Watson, president of the DeKalb Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 115, said the union signed the contract Thursday, and now that the city’s approved it, he’s relieved.

“It was an enjoyable process, but we are happy to have it behind us,” Watson said Wednesday.

The City Council unanimously approved the contract during its meeting Monday, and City Manager Bill Nicklas said the negotiations were respectful on both sides, as the city knew the need to ensure DeKalb police officer positions remained competitive.

“We were able to attract new people, but retention was becoming an issue,” Nicklas said. “What we’ve proposed to you, we think, is fair for all parties.”

The approved contract includes a 1.5% pay raise for all members, which will be effective retroactive to Jan. 1. Mid-level patrol officers and sergeants then will receive additional increases in 2021 and 2022 at 2.5% each, documents show.

As for the wage adjustments, DeKalb police sergeants will make $52.69 an hour in fiscal 2020 with the Jan. 1 increase, $54.01 in 2021 and $55.36 an hour in 2022. That same rate will apply for patrol officers, who make $40.31 to $45.55 an hour in 2020.

Nicklas said the wage increases also are meant to make midlevel patrol officers’ and sergeants’ earnings more competitive with similar agencies.

The DeKalb Police Department operates with a $28.9 million budget, according to the fiscal 2020 budget, with 65 sworn officers.

Second Ward Alderman Bill Finucane praised the negotiations and said DeKalb’s success at reaching a bargaining agreement overshadows other city’s failures to do so, such as the City of Chicago, which has not had a new contract for the Chicago Police Department in three years.

“I want to compliment both the city staff, [Assistant City Manager] Ray Munch in particular, and members of the union negotiating team for arriving at this,” Finucane said.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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