Denver officers and the police union should return to the negotiation desk after Metropolis Council rejected a proposed contract settlement Monday evening that might have given officers raises as the town faces large tax shortfalls and furloughs.
The council has not rejected a union contract proposal in current reminiscence, if it’s ever occurred in any respect. If metropolis and union officers can’t attain a brand new settlement, the matter will head to arbitration the place it will likely be settled by an impartial third social gathering.
Earlier than the 8-5 vote, council members complained a couple of lack of fairness with different metropolis staff and blamed the Hancock administration for largely excluding them from the negotiations. Some additionally famous that they have been uncomfortable voting on such a considerable contract earlier than seeing Mayor Michael Hancock’s proposed 2021 price range, which will likely be launched Tuesday.
“We’re being requested to vote on one thing with out the entire data in entrance of us,” Councilwoman Amanda Sawyer stated. “We’re not coping with a full deck of playing cards right here … and that’s not OK.”
The proposal turned heads even earlier than Hancock handed the ultimate model to council for assessment, and early this month a number of members of the council voiced their disapproval of the doc.
Whereas the remainder of the town’s departments face potential furloughs subsequent yr, police are exempt from taking the unpaid days.
Metropolis departments throughout the board have been requested to suggest cuts of as much as 11% of their budgets and the police union contract would have included $5 million in cuts — out of an estimated $250 million price range — for 2021. However these cuts would have ended with the yr, and in 2022 all officers within the union would have acquired a 2.7% increase at a taxpayer price of $4.Four million.
Councilman Kevin Flynn, nonetheless, stated the proposed contract would have lower officers’ pay in 2021 by about 3% earlier than it’s raised once more in 2022. That swap could be the monetary equal of eight furlough days for officers, he stated in voicing his assist for the measure.
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Councilman Jolon Clark voiced issues that if the difficulty goes to arbitration and the choice goes in opposition to the town, the cuts supplied by the police union must come from another metropolis division, doubtlessly within the type of extra furloughs.
Other than the financials, there’s additionally some native sentiment in opposition to rising police funding in any manner. Protesters crammed metropolis streets for weeks throughout the George Floyd protests and known as to defund the police division and shift funding away from officers and towards service suppliers and psychological well being specialists. Throughout a public remark session earlier within the night, resident Lani Rush requested council to contemplate the division’s violent historical past and up to date calls from the neighborhood to defund police.
Hancock and Public Security Officer Murphy Robinson — who oversees the police division — have stated they’re open to modifications inside the division, however they won’t defund the company.