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City, FOP contract to go to membership

By Staff | Dec 24, 2011

The city of Cape Coral and the Cape Coral Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 33 finalized the language for the tentative contract agreement Friday.

That contract will now be sent to the union membership for a vote.

“While both sides agreed in principle to the general parameters of the contract, we needed to finalize the actual language of the agreement to be placed before the union for a ratification vote,” interim City Manager Steve Pohlman said in prepared statement from the city.

Police Union President Kurt Grau and the city’s lead negotiator, Financial Services Director Victoria Bateman, signed the tentative agreement late Friday afternoon.

Grau indicated that the union will hold meetings with union members on Friday, Dec. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 3, to discuss the proposal. A ratification vote could be scheduled later in the week.

The agreement will cover members of the police lieutenants unit and the police rank and file unit if ratified.

On Tuesday, the city representatives and union leadership agreed to a 2 percent salary reduction and a reduction of two days of “holiday” pay. In addition, the union agreed to increase the employees’ share of pension contribution from 7 percent to 10 percent, which will reduce the city’s contribution percentage.

The wage and benefit concessions will provide an annualized savings of $1.6 million to the city, city officials said. This savings is $800,000 more than the tentative agreement reached in June, which was rejected by the union membership. The city also will achieve a savings of $950,000 in this year’s budget – about $150,000 more in budget savings than anticipated.

On Friday, Pohlman again reiterated his gratitude to the union leadership and the city’s negotiating team of Bateman; Scott Slusser, Human Resources’ Labor Relations; Gail Roberts, assistant city attorney; and the city’s Budget Administrator Sheena Milliken.

“This tentative agreement is a direct result of the FOP union leaders being willing to sit down with the city in good faith to resolve the contract issues rather than continuing the impasse process,” said Pohlman. “Both sides were willing to listen and make concessions, and when you can approach negotiations with a ‘let’s get this done’ attitude, an agreement can be reached.”