The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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December 28, 2011

City rejects police contract request

Union seeks 4 percent increase first year, 2.5 percent second year

CLINTON —

The city has responded to  the Clinton Police Department bargaining unit’s initial contract proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. Virtually all aspects proposed by the police, including wage and vacation increases, were rejected by the city.

First year raises of 4 percent and second year raises of 2.5 percent to the base officer wage were rejected by the city’s counterproposal, which recommends no increase. The city also recommends that vacation time, comp time and premium pay remain at the current levels.

Both the city and the police bargaining unit were able to agree on the eventual implementation of “wellness days,” which would reward employees for not using sick leave. City attorney Jeff Farwell explained the city feels that wellness days could be worthwhile additions, but specifics need to be ironed out.

The recent sale of the city’s municipal dock to ARTCO Fleeting for $6.3 million dollars will not likely be a factor in the negotiations, according to Farwell. Though he said that he is not responsible for the distribution of dock sale proceeds, he believes the city will use that money pay off negative balances on capital projects, with the remainder going into the reserve fund.

The hard-line stance of the city is not unusual, Farwell said, as it establishes a base from which the two sides can negotiate from. The discussions will likely continue for the next several months, and require six to eight additional meetings. The new fiscal year does not begin until summer 2012, but an early start is necessary to ensure a smooth transition between collective bargaining agreements.

“It all just takes time,” Farwell said.

Wylie Pillers, attorney/negotiator for the Clinton Police Bargaining Unit, had an out-of-town meeting Wednesday, and was unable to be reached for comment by press time.

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