Blaine council approves police sergeants’ contract

by Tim Hennagir
Life Editor

Blaine council members have ratified a new three-year contract with the union that represents police sergeants in labor negotiations.

The council approved the 2011-2013 contract with Local St. Paul-based Law Enforcement Labor Services, Inc., at its March 1 meeting. Local 340 represents city sergeants within the Blaine Police Department.

Terry Dussault, human resources director, presented details of the contract, which includes a 1 percent wage increase for 2011, a 1 percent increase this year and 2 percent next year.

In the first year of the new contract, monthly starting wages for Blaine Police Department sergeants will be $6,941; wages increase to $7,010 in 2012 and $7,150 in 2013, he said.

The city’s contribution to the sergeants’ cafeteria plan will be $940 through Dec. 31, 2012. Both parties agreed to reopen insurance discussions for 2013.

According to Dussault, the new contract does not allow for grievances when a oral reprimand occurs.

“It’s our feeling that if there was a challenge, arbitration laws would prevail,” Dussault told the council.

“We have so few oral reprimands of sergeants that [including it in the contract] doesn’t make a lot of sense,” he said. “We will still allow them to grieve verbal reprimands. Many times, grievances allow us the chance to air our differences and clarify misunderstandings.”

Mayor Tom Ryan asked if the city compares the cost of its police contracts with other cities.

Dussault said completed such a survey for City Manager Clark Arneson.

“I think we are locked in with what the market is right now,” Dussault said. “We’ve been in constant negotiation with one union or the other for the past three years.”

Councilmembers approved the contract on a 5-0 vote. Councilmembers Russ Herbst and Dick Swanson were not in attendance March 1.

Tim Hennagir is at [email protected]