Negotiations will resume Monday between police officers and city officials, who must approve a 1994 work agreement by the end of next week to avoid calling in a federal mediator.
Rod Bremby, assistant city manager, said two formal meetings between city officials and members of the Lawrence Police Officers Assn. had produced positive results, and he hoped to have an agreement worked out by the end of Monday's 11 a.m. meeting at the Law Enforcement Center.
Although five of 14 disputed issues have been worked out "in principle," Bremby said, plenty of work remains before next week's mutually agreed-upon deadline.
"We're trying to get along and keep it on a professional level," Bremby said after Tuesday's city commission meeting. "We have not deteriorated."
An agreement must be reached in time for consideration as part of the city's 1994 budget, which is being developed by city staff. City commissioners will consider budget proposals during a study session Wednesday.
The current work agreement expires Dec. 31. Both sides have pledged not to release details of their proposals until after an agreement is reached.
Jim R. Miller, LPOA chair, said police were asking for pay raises of less than 5 percent in each of the next three years. The city has agreed to pay raises, but not as high as police have requested, Bremby said.
Before Tuesday's negotiating session, Miller said Lawrence police had molded a modest proposal, based on comparisons with 14 other police departments in the Midwest.
In years past, police have asked for pay raises as high as 18 percent, he said.
"We just decided that we weren't going to do that," Miller said. "We wanted to go in there and be as realistic and as fair as possible."
The LPOA compared its current agreement with those from departments in Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska and Oklahoma, Miller said.
"We're just trying to stay in the middle," Miller said. "We're just trying to stay in the middle third of the comparison."
Currently, the Lawrence police department is at "the bottom" on three or four issues, including payment for court time.
The LPOA wants officers to receive a minimum of two hours' overtime pay for appearing in court, instead of the one hour currently assured.
Miller said Lawrence police wanted to live up to Chief Ron Olin's goal of being the best department in the Midwest.
"You don't get the best without some kind of cost," Miller said.