News and Tribune

December 30, 2013

Jeffersonville approves deal with its police union

Police union members are expected to vote on the proposal Thursday

By BRADEN LAMMERS
braden.lammers@newsandtribune.com

JEFFERSONVILLE — After more than a year of negotiation, a deal is in place between the city of Jeffersonville and its Fraternal Order of Police chapter.

Jeffersonville’s City Council approved a resolution on a new collective bargaining agreement with Jeffersonville FOP lodge No. 100 that, once it receives all approvals, will be in place through 2016. The FOP has been operating under an extension of its former agreement — which concluded in 2012 — while a new deal was being reached.

The previous contract was approved in 2009, however the two sides went through arbitration regarding fitness standards for officers in 2011.

Despite a special meeting called Monday to take a vote on the deal, it will not officially be in place before the new year. Jason Jackson, vice president of the local FOP lodge, said members will vote on the proposal Thursday. The agreement would also have to be signed by Mayor Mike Moore before it goes into effect.

The deal presented was a long time in the making.

“Temporary rank came to be kind of the holdup in the whole deal,” said Councilman Dennis Julius, who was on a negotiating committee for the council.

Other members of the committee included council members Lisa Gill and Nathan Samuel.

Julius explained that temporary rank is something that was often bestowed upon officers when a new police administration is appointed, typically coinciding with an administration change. When that happens, officers are promoted to higher ranks leaving their previous ranks of, for example, lieutenant or sergeant vacant.

“In the police department it’s always how do you fall back in rank if there’s an administration change and how do they go about that?” Julius said about the questions in the process.

While there was an effort to include how that would occur in the contract, ultimately it was decided that temporary ranks will be part of a Standard Order of Procedure and will likely be put in an ordinance or approved by Board of Public Works.

“I think even if you put it in the contract it could be aggrieved either way,” Julius said.

Jackson said the FOP wanted to keep temporary ranks out of its new contract.

“We felt that it falls in the jurisdiction of the [police] merit commission and we didn’t want that to be in the contract,” he said.

Jackson said it didn’t belong in the contract because all promotions, by statute, are supposed to go through the merit commission. What the FOP was trying to protect against is demotions and promotions dictated by those outside the police and its merit commission.

When an officer is promoted, another officer is also bumped up in rank to fill the position vacated by those given administrative posts. The contract requires a vacated position to be filled within 30 days, and there is a minimum number of appointees to each corresponding rank.

Those subsequent promotions were often done with a temporary status. But Jackson said the merit commission was of the opinion that only commission members could make that determination and it also wanted to be able to make those temporary appointments permanent.

If a new administrative appointment were made, and a current member of the police administration removed, that person would return to their previous rank. Previously, that would have affected the temporary appointment holding the rank where the person removed was returned to, likely resulting in their demotion. But with the new deal it would not.

“Our contract says we have a minimum number, not a maximum number,” Jackson said of the corresponding ranks.

No changes in pay for officers was included in the contract presented Monday. According to the agreement, a patrolman first class will be paid an annual salary of $45,726. However, a provision in the deal will allow the salaries to be revisited in July 2014, if either party chooses to discuss changes in wages.

Julius and Jackson said both sides are pleased with the agreement that is being offered up for a vote.

Jackson said during the meeting he is “confident” the FOP will approve the new collective bargaining agreement.