Coon Rapids council approves police contracts

Contracts with its two police bargaining units were ratified by the Coon Rapids City Council March 4.

The three-year agreements for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 are with Law Enforcement Labor Services Inc., which represents the police officers and police sergeants.

Both bargaining units approved their respective contracts last month.

This means that all labor agreements involving the city and its bargaining units are in place through 2016, according to Matt Stemwedel, assistant city manager and the city’s lead negotiator.

The council approved three-year contracts with the public works employees and firefighters in December 2013, Stemwedel said.

The cost of living increases in the police officer and police sergeant agreements “mirror the adjustments in the city’s other collective bargaining agreements,” he said.

Under the new contracts, police officers and police sergeants receive a 2.25 percent wage increase effective Jan. 1, 2014, 2.5 percent Jan. 1, 2015 and 2.5 percent Jan. 1, 2016.

Specialty pay for eligible police officers, for example, the detectives, will increase to $300 per month over the length of the agreement, Stemwedel wrote in his report to the council.

According to Stemwedel, the police sergeants’ wage rate is 22 percent above the top patrol officer hourly rate and the sergeant that is assigned to investigative duties receives an additional $300 a month.

A sergeant is rotated to the investigation position every three years.

The two contracts also provide for an increase in the uniform allowance to $830 in 2014, $850 in 2015 and $870 in 2016.

Both agreements also have language changes in such areas as holidays, sick leave, vacation and participation in the city’s wellness program.

In negotiating the contracts, Stemwedel said comparisons are made to what police officers and police sergeants are paid in comparable Twin Cities communities.

The city no longer contracts with a labor negotiator to lead its collective bargaining effort; it is handled in-house, he said.