City, Lawrence police union reach agreement on employment contracts
photo by: Journal-World Illustration
Story updated at 5:07 p.m. Monday, Aug. 13.
After months of contract negotiations, the city and police union have come to an agreement on the police department’s employment contract.
Due to the impasse, the Lawrence City Commission had been scheduled as part of its meeting Tuesday to make the final decision on the sticking points in the contract, including how much officers and detectives will receive in pay raises, longevity bonuses and shift-differential payments. However, at about 4:30 p.m. Monday, the city sent out an update to Tuesday’s agenda stating that the issue had been deferred until the commission’s Aug. 21 meeting.
The update states that the city and the Lawrence Police Officers Association have “reached an understanding” regarding the unresolved components of the contract, and the LPOA is planning a ratification meeting. The update does not provide further details regarding the agreement.
Before Monday’s announcement, the city had already agreed to fund the contract’s existing pay schedule, which provides a starting salary of $44,813 for officers and automatic pay increases of 2.5 percent each year until the officer reaches $77,150. The pay schedule provides a starting salary of $54,181 for detectives and automatic pay increases of 2.5 percent each year until the detective reaches $80,433.
The city had also agreed to fund an additional 2.5 percent pay increase for officers and detectives who attain special skills known as competencies. What the city and police union had not agreed on was the general wage increase or the across-the-board increase to the pay schedule.
The following provides a summary, based on the city and LPOA’s last proposals, of some of the final sticking points in the negotiations, which were resolved Monday.
The city’s proposal calls for a 1.5 percent across-the-board wage increase for police officers in 2019 and a 2 percent increase in 2020. For detectives, the city is proposing a one-time lump-sum payment equivalent to 0.75 percent of the previous year’s gross wages for 2019 and 1.7 percent for 2020.
The LPOA proposal calls for a 2.5 percent wage increase in 2019 for police officers who have worked for the department for at least nine years. The proposal states that all other officers will automatically get a 2.5 percent raise once they reach their ninth anniversary. The LPOA proposal also calls for the maximum pay for the most senior officers and detectives to increase by 2.5 percent in 2019. For 2020, the LPOA proposal calls for 1.5 percent across-the-board wage increase for all officers.
The city’s proposal calls for longevity pay bonuses for employees with at least 10 years of service. Those employees will receive $500 for 10-14 years of service, $750 for 15-19 years and $1,000 for 20 or more years.
The LPOA proposal calls for retaining the longevity pay bonuses in the current contract. The contract provides longevity pay for employees with at least five years of service. Those employees will receive $4 per month of service, and a check for longevity pay will be issued in December.
The city’s proposal calls for a shift differential of 50 cents per hour for officers who work the third and fourth shifts. It calls for a shift differential of 25 cents per hour for officers who work the second shift.
The LPOA’s proposals call for the same shift differential pay for officers as the city’s proposal, but with an addition for detectives. The proposal calls for a shift differential of 50 cents per hour for detectives who are regularly assigned to a shift that begins after noon.
The city’s proposal calls for the city to pay funeral expenses up to $5,000 for officers or detectives killed in the line of duty.
The LPOA’s proposals call for the city to pay funeral expenses up to $10,000 for officers killed in the line of duty.
The City Commission will convene at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St.