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Published: Monday, 5/17/2010

Toledo police union approves agreement with city

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA AND TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITERS

The TPPA vote, which was released Monday night, was in favor of the contract. It does not need to be approved by Toledo City Council.

Mayor Mike Bell said the memorandum of understanding approved by the union Monday was the only option to end the impasse between the city and the union. He said the city still gets $2.6 million in needed savings.

"Although I would have loved to see a structural change, at this point, the process was not going to allow that," Mr. Bell said.

The new deal -- which was struck last week during a mediation session with the State Employment Relations Board -- requires the city to continue paying all of the pensions premiums for patrolmen beginning May 27.

The officers have been paying the full 10 percent employee share of their pension contribution since Toledo City Council's exigent circumstances declaration on March 30.

Union members will not get any of that pension premium money paid so far this year back under the deal -- which is a portion of a deal worked out by Toledo Firefighters Local 92 in March.

The mayor said the city gained more than $500,000 in savings from the union members in "pension pickups" since the exigent circumstances declaration until the May 27 switch back.

The patrol officers will also defer payment of any overtime between June 1 and March, 2011 -- when it will be paid out with a 3.5 percent increase. The 3.5 percent pay starting Jan. 1, 2011 is contained within the union's current three-year contract. It will be applied to the overtime worked this year when it is paid out next year, under the deal.

However, any officers within three years of retirement do not have to defer the overtime.

The new deal also prohibits layoffs of any patrolmen before April 1, 2011.

When Toledo City Council invoked exigent circumstances on March 30 after the police union membership rejected a negotiated package of concessions, the city began forcing union members to pay the 10 percent employees' share of their pension contribution for nine months and contribute to their medical-insurance costs based on a sliding salary scale.

The new agreement also restores the medical-insurance costs for the officers.

Dan Wagner, president of the TPPA, said if the deal was voted down it is likely that the Ohio Attorney General would have filed a request for a temporary restraining order to make the city stop withholding money from officers' paychecks to pay for the pension and health care.

"It leaves a bad taste in both sides' mouths but it's something that you can live with," Mr. Wagner said of the agreement.



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