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Joliet police contract goes to council for approval

The city appears to have resolved a dispute with the police supervisors union with a new labor contract headed for a City Council vote Tuesday.

The contract includes three years of 2 percent raises plus another 5 percent pay hike next year in exchange for the elimination of four captain positions.

If approved, the contract would resolve an unfair labor practice complaint that has been pending for nearly a year over the four captain positions.

The contract begins in January 2020 and runs through 2022.

The only major change from the existing union contract is the provision concerning the four captain positions, interim City Manager Marty Shanahan said.

“This would resolve that matter,” Shanahan said.

The police supervisors union has favored the elimination of the captain positions combined with the
5 percent bonus for its 50 members. The union even filed an unfair labor practice against the city, contending that city negotiators agreed to the deal and then backed out.

The four captains are close to retirement, and the positions would be eliminated through attrition, with their duties being absorbed by deputy chiefs and lieutenants.

Shanahan said provisions in the agreement trim the pay of captains who stay beyond a certain point to protect the city from paying for both the bonus and ongoing employment of the captains.

The 5 percent bonus would be paid on Jan. 1, 2020.

The break-even point on the deal is expected to come in either 2023 or 2024.

“After that, it’s going to save the city about $300,000 a year by eliminating the four positions,” Shanahan said.

Salary and benefits for the four captain positions cost the city more than $1 million a year, according to a staff report. The current contract does not expire until the end of 2019. But the city avoids reopening the existing contract, which could force reopening contracts with all of its unions, by resolving the dispute in a new contract.

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