Blaine council approves police officer contract

by Tim Hennagir
Life Editor

Blaine City Council members have ratified a three-year police officer union contract that totals a 4 percent wage increase.

The council approved the 2011-2013 contract with St. Paul-based Law Enforcement Labor Services, Inc., at its Feb. 16 meeting.

Local 165 represents police officers and detectives during negotiations.

Terry Dussault, Blaine’s human resources director, presented details of the approved contract, which included a 1 percent increases in both 2011 and 2012 and a 2 percent increase in 2013.

The city agreed to keep its contribution to the officers’ cafeteria plan at $940 through Dec. 31, Dussault said. Both parties agreed to discuss contract-related insurance issues next year.

Dussault said he and City Finance Director Joe Huss negotiated the contract after several meetings with union representatives.

In 2010, an arbitrator raised the insurance amount for the city’s patrol officers.

“As part of that agreement, the insurance rate was frozen and there will be a re-opener,” he said.

Dussault said the contract also includes a change to stand-by pay for officers.

Court has to be canceled 24 hours before officers would get payment. “We consulted with the city attorney and found this would be a very rare thing,” Dussault said.

Finally, the new contract includes a change to the officers’ performance pay program. Dussault said most departments that Blaine uses for contract comparisons have longevity pay.

“We don’t have that,” he said. “We have [different] criteria for that and are increasing performance pay from $500 to $600 in 2012 and $700 in 2013,” he said.

Councilmembers unanimously approved the contract presented Feb. 16.

Tim Hennagir is at [email protected]