Negotiators for the Lawrence Police Officers Assn. were unable to get any new salary concessions at Saturday's round of talks with the city for a three-year employment agreement.
So LPOA negotiators will take the city's proposal back to LPOA membership one last time Tuesday before a mediator is called in to help settle the dispute, the city's chief negotiator said Saturday night.
Rod Bremby, assistant city manager and spokesman for the city's negotiating team, said he tried to make it clear to LPOA negotiators that if their membership doesn't accept the current proposal and forces the matter to mediation, the city's next offer will be significantly less.
"If we have to bring in a mediator, we feel fairly confident what we have before them is plausible and will work, and we can even reduce some items that we have in this agreements," Bremby said.
Jim Miller, LPOA vice chairman, could not be reached Saturday night for comment.
THE CURRENT employment agreement expires at the end of the year. The two sides have agreed not to disclose details of the negotiations until a pact has been approved.
The offer on the table covers the period from Jan. 1, 1993, to Dec. 31, 1996. After winning the endorsement of LPOA negotiators, the tentative accord was turned down in a vote last week of the LPOA membership.
Bremby said if the LPOA rejects the package again, it is possible the city would seek a pared-down, one-year agreement.
Bremby said if the LPOA membership rejects the offer Tuesday night, both sides would meet Wednesday and set up a time to meet with a federal mediator.
"I think there's just a few vocal members of the LPOA who believe the city has the wherewithal to provide additional base salary adjustment. And that's not going to happen," Bremby said. "The maximum base salary adjustment is on the table. It just goes down from here."
BREMBY SAID there have been "misguided statements" that some of the money available for police salaries was being used in the city budget for capital improvments.
"That's absurd," he said.
Bremby said he listened to the concerns of the LPOA negotiators Saturday, "but it didn't budge me."
Bremby said it was his understanding that negotiators representing the LPOA thought the proposal on the table was a good agreement, but LPOA members thought it was inadequate.