City negotiators staked their final position Wednesday in contract talks with Lawrence police officers and forced the police to break a stalemate in the mediated talks.
The city's negotiating team gave officials of the Lawrence Police Officers Assn. a final offer for a new work agreement during talks Wednesday, according to a statement released by both sides this morning.
If LPOA members decide to reject the city's offer, the Lawrence City Commission will decide the matter. The current pact expires Dec. 31.
The two sides met with a federal mediator for about three and a half hours Wednesday, trying to forge an agreement. Both sides agreed to call in the mediator after negotiations stalled and the two sides declared impasse.
Both sides agreed to withhold further comment until the end of the seven-day mediation process.
Buford Thompson, commissioner of the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in Kansas City. Mo., met with both sides Wednesday in a police briefing room in the Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center.
NEGOTIATORS alternately met with the mediator and then with the opposing side. Discussions were not open to the public.
Asked to characterize the negotiations when completed, Thompson declined comment and left. Members of both negotiating teams also refused to comment.
LPOA officials now have the choice of taking the city's final proposal to LPOA membership for consideration or engage in additional mediation discussions with Thompson.
They also could choose to reject the offer and submit a proposal to the Lawrence City Commission after the mediation period.
The commission then would schedule a public hearing to hear the merits of the proposals from each side and decide "which of the two packages is more fair and equitable," the statement says.
IN PROPOSALS submitted at the start of mediation, the LPOA and the city agreed on a one-year deal with a 3 percent wage hike and a $50 increase in the reimbursement police receive for on-duty damage to personal equipment, such as watches.
In addition to the city's proposal, the LPOA proposed a minimum of two hours of overtime pay for court appearances on days off. The current minimum is one hour of overtime pay.
LPOA members also wanted a $600 annual allowance for clothing for plain clothes officers, $100 more than the current allowance, as well as a $25 increase in the $175 allowance for personal equipment, such as shoes and flashlights.