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Proposed three-year DeKalb police union contract includes 9% cost-of-living increase

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

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

If approved by both the city and DeKalb Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 115, the first 1.5% pay raise for all members would be effective retroactive to Jan. 1. Mid-level patrol officers and sergeants then would 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, documents show. Since then, the city and union members have met weekly to discuss terms, and the union voted on the contract Thursday.

City Manager Bill Nicklas said Friday, he’s been pleased with how negotiations have gone. He said the City Council already had accounted for what it expected to be wage increases in the fiscal 2020 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 an hour in fiscal 2020 with the Jan. 1 increase, $54.01 in 2021 and $55.36 an hour in 2022. That same rate would apply for police officers who make $40.31 an hour through $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.

“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 fiscal 2020 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 of paid time off from five weeks at 18 years of service. Those who work on call during 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 will receive overtime pay capped at two hours rounded to the nearest hour.

There also will be language added to the contract to allow for officers to request a disciplinary action to 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 a year and $2,500 for those adopting out of single coverage.

The department’s Wellness Bonus program will include three additional options: a medical checkup with a doctor, a mental health checkup 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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