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LBK police refuse town contract offer

Longboat Key Police officers voted 8-6 against a three year contract proposal offered by the Town Commission.

The decision means the current contract will remain in effect for an additional fisal year with increase in wages and a one percent increase in 401a pension contributions.

The issue came to a head over the past weeks when the union representing the police department declared an impasse in the negotiations with the Town Manager for a new three-year contract.

Last month, the issue went before the Town Commission wherein the Union argued that the police employees should be allowed to enter the Florida Retirement System (FRS). The basis of the argument was the fact that the Town Fire Department was allowed to join FRS in 2013 and it was an issue of parity.

The commission did not agree with the Union and the Town’s labor attorney, Reynolds Allen, pointed out that in 2013 the Police were offered the same deal as the Fire Department and turned it down. Allen said that the Police Department instead received pay increases and at the time the Fire Department agreed to an 11 percent decrease in wages to offset the cost of entering the FRS.

Instead of approving the Union’s contract, the Town Commission last month offered the Police employees a contract similar to the Town Manager’s with slight modifications. That is the offer that the Police Department voted down and now the issue is what is referred to as a status quo contract.

Town Manager Tom Harmer said the two issues he and the Police could not agree on are wages and the desire to enter the FRS. Now that the Department is in status quo, they will get their normal wage increases and the one percent additional pension contribution.

Harmer said he and the Police Union will start negotiating once again in January for a contract that would go into effect on Oct. 1, 2020.

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Longboat Key News

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