Lawrence police and city officials were hailed Tuesday by the Lawrence City Commission for the pace and tone of the two sides' negotiations on a two-year work agreement.
The commission, at its regular weekly meeting, approved by a 4-0 vote a two-year memorandum of understanding between the city and the Lawrence Police Officers Assn.
"I'm very pleased that we were able to accomplish this without having to fight," Commissioner Bob Walters told City Manager Mike Wildgen.
Walters called the agreement fair and equitable, both to the city and to its police officers.
"We've had some disagreements in the past, but I think we decided to do our best this year and go forward," Wildgen said.
Representatives of the Lawrence Police Officers Assn. and the city met just one time to hammer out terms of the agreement, which calls for police to receive a 4 percent salary increase in both 1991 and 1992. The agreement also calls for salary reclassification for officers, which will raise salaries by an additional 2 percent in mid-1991.
CITY CLERK Ray Hummert, the city's personnel services administrator and chief negotiator for the city, said the average police officer's salary in 1990 is expected to be $29,079. With the increases called for in the tentative agreement, that salary would rise to $32,081 by the end of 1992.
In addition to the wage increases, the agreement:
Increases the city's health insurance contribution for dependents of eligible and enrolled officers to $96 per month, up from the current $93 contribution.
Increases the annual equipment allowance to $150 in 1991 and $175 in 1992 for officers. The current allowance is $125.
Initiates a vest replacement program for officers.
The remainder of the agreement is basically similar to the current two-year agreement between police and the city. The new agreement goes into effect Jan. 1, 1991.
THE COMMISSION'S action Tuesday allows Mayor Shirley Martin-Smith to sign the agreement on behalf of the city. Official ratification by the LPOA, seen by leaders of the association as a formality, will not take place until LPOA President Tony Garcia returns from vacation.
Meanwhile, Lawrence firefighters are continuing their dispute with the city in the Kansas Court of Appeals.
International Association of Firefighters Local 1596 is suing the city over a two-year work agreement unilaterally implemented by the city in 1989. The firefighters, who are appealing a Douglas County District Court ruling upholding the two-year agreement, charge that the pact violates Kansas law.
The firefighters have submitted their briefs to the Kansas Court of Appeals, and the city's briefs are due July 5, according to Roger Brown, an attorney with the city's legal firm. Oral arguments have yet to be set in the appeal.