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Published: Tuesday, 7/7/2009

Toledo City Council approves contract with police union on 8-3 vote

BLADE STAFF

Toledo City Council approved a new three-year contract Tuesday with the city's police patrolmen - ending months of tense negotiations between the union and the budget-beleaguered city.

Council voted 8-3 in favor of the contract.

Council members also elected Joe McNamara as their new president and appointed Steven Steel to fill the vacancy created when Mark Sobczak resigned. Mr. Steel, a Democrat, planned Tuesday to submit his resignation as president of the Toledo Board of Education.

The new contract with the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association requires patrol officers to pay into their own pension plan for six months, freezes wages for two years, and requires officers for the first time to pay a portion of their health-insurance costs.

In exchange for the half-year partial pension pickup, the patrolmen get an additional 6 1/2 vacation days through Dec. 31.

But it grants a 3.5 percent pay increase in 2011.

The agreement will cost the city $2.89 million in 2011 if the city's other unions receive the same deal.

That pay hike could later be sought for inclusion in new contracts negotiated with the Toledo Police Command Officers Association and Local 92 Firefighters.

After the first six months under the police contract, the city will resume making the entire 10 percent employee share of the pension payment, which is on top of the employer's contribution of 19.5 percent. Any newly hired police officers would have to pay the full 10 percent of the employee's pension share.

The Finkbeiner administration also agreed in the contract to pay patrolmen a 2 percent lump-sum bonus in April, 2010, if the city's 2009 income tax receipts exceed $148 million; 4.5 percent if the collections exceed $150 million; 7 percent if taxes rise above $152.5 million, and 9 percent if collections exceed $155 million.

The contract defers all overtime payments for the remainder of 2009 until March 1, 2010, but police officers may choose to take compensatory time instead of banking their overtime.

If council had rejected the contract, the city could have tried renegotiating a new terms of wait for a fact-finder report.



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