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Proposed three-year DeKalb police union contract includes 6.5% cost-of-living increase

DeKALB – The city and DeKalb police officers’ union has reached a tentative agreement for a new three-year collective bargaining contract which includes a 1.5% wage increase for all employees and additional increases for mid-level patrol officers and sergeants.

Through 2022, patrol officers making $40.31 per hour and above, as well as sergeants, will receive an additional 5% increase to account for cost-of-living, according to the draft contract which is up for a vote during Monday’s city council meeting.

If approved by both the city and the DeKalb Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #115, the first 1.5% pay raise for all members would be retroactively effective Jan. 1. Mid-level patrol officers through sergeants would then receive additional increases in 2021 and 2022 at 2.5% each, documents show.

Union contract talks began in the new year after the current contract expired Dec. 31, 2019, documents show. Since then, the city and union members have met weekly to discuss terms, and the union took a vote on the contract Thursday.

City Manager Bill Nicklas said Friday he’s been pleased with how negotiations have gone. He said the city council had already accounted for what they expected to be wage increases in the FY2020 budget when it was passed in December, so future fiscal years will be able to sustain the numbers.

“I’m very pleased with the process because we put all our numbers on the table,” Nicklas said. “All of us saw limitations fiscally and also were frank with each other on what we need to do to maintain efficiency.”

Per the proposed wage adjustments, DeKalb police sergeants would make $52.69 per hour in FY2020 with the Jan. 1 increase, $54.01 in 2021 and $55.36 per hour in 2022. That same rate would apply for police officers who make $40.31 per hour through $45.55 per hour in 2020.

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

“We were looking really good already at every level but not the middle,” Nicklas said.

The DeKalb Police Department operates with a $28.9 million budget, according to the FY2020 budget, with 65 sworn officers.

Additional changes in the union contract include increasing the maximum vacation time accrual for those with 25 years of service to six weeks paid time off from five weeks at 18 years of service. Those who work on-call on holidays will receive pay equivalent to them being on-call during a weekend, documents show.

For officers who are ordered to begin their shift before their scheduled start time, they’ll receive overtime pay capped at two hours rounded to the nearest hour.

There will also be language added to the contract to allow for officers to request a disciplinary action be removed from their personnel file after three years. The requests must be approved by the police chief and the city manager can appeal the decision.

The opt-out incentive option for family and single-plus-one health insurance would be increased to $5,000 per year and $2,500 for those adopting out of single coverage.

The department’s Wellness Bonus program will include three additional options: a medical check-up with a doctor, a mental health check-up with a qualified professional and passing an annual physical fitness test. All activities should be completed off-duty at the union member’s own expense, documents show.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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