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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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Oregon City Council on Monday voted 6-1 for a new three year contract with the Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents the police department’s command officers.
 
The union consists of 10 command officers, including one lieutenant and nine sergeants. 
 
“It is the first of our negotiated contracts from different divisions in the city,” said Mayor Mike Seferian at a council meeting on July 24. 
 
The contract includes a pay raise of 3 percent retroactive to July 1 of this year, a raise of 2 ¾ percent starting July 1, 2018, and a 2 3/4 percent raise starting July 1, 2019. The contract will expire on June 30, 2020.
 
Seferian said negotiated contracts with other city departments tend to be similar.“We tend to have a vision when we do these that we would include all of them with similar pay scales and increases for the year, so we just don’t base this on what we think will work for one of the bargaining units, but basically all of them, understanding the exposure to the city, what we can afford to spend, what we believe the market is at the time,” he said. “The substance of each of the bargaining units will see that. We start with this unit – the command officers.”
 
Councilman Tim Zale, a retired Oregon police detective, voted against the measure. He supports the pay raises, saying “they are well deserved.” 
 
“They really haven’t seen a good raise in many, many years,” said Zale.“However, I did have to take issue with one portion of the contract that I have a problem with,” he added.
 
He was opposed to the requirement that all command officers show up to work 15 minutes early, and stay 15 minutes after their shift ends, and receive overtime pay. Currently, seven command officers have been required to do so. The new contract includes the remaining three command officers be covered.
 
“This was originally designed for command officer road patrol so they could meet with the sergeant of the shift they were relieving to be briefed on what happened on the shift before, then give them 15 minutes afterwards to complete any of their paperwork,” said Zale. “So this really amounted to five hours of overtime per pay period. In my opinion, when you start to include all the members of the bargaining unit, even the people who hold positions inside the building and who are not supervising the actual road patrol division – to include them in this, I don’t believe we get any more efficiency or anything for this money. To me, it’s like manna from Heaven.”
 
Zale said the provision would give a lieutenant, before receiving the 3 percent raise, nearly $6,000 more per year and $5,200 per year for sergeants.
 
“I don’t have any problem with this being given to the road patrol commanders as they were, but I think for the inside positions, we won’t gain anything by this. We’re just giving money away. So I have a problem with this particular provision. You could probably make an argument for a couple of different sergeants, but I would probably really have a problem with the lieutenant getting a half hour of overtime per day for doing anything else,” said Zale.
 
Seven of the 10 members in the FOP have already been covered by the provision for decades, said Police Chief Mike Navarre.
 
“The 15 minutes before and after the shift has been in place for road patrol sergeants for up to 35 years. The FOP bargaining team came to us and asked that we include the final three members of their unit that are not included.  I had a lengthy conversation with Mr. Zale, and I don’t disagree with a lot of what he’s saying. But we accepted that proposal in our minds in the interest of fairness and being consistent, trying to make sure that each member of the unit was getting equal treatment. We simply agreed to their proposal to add the remaining three. In hindsight, if I thought it would create some questions, I probably would not have agreed to it so quickly. I would have talked to someone about it. But we did not do that,” said Navarre.
 
“Just to pay someone to make it fair is not really the reason to do this,” said Zale. “A lot of these command officers that have inside positions also enjoy some benefits and perks that the guys that work the road don’t. They can take vacation when they want to, they can take a day off when they want to, they don’t work holidays if they don’t want to, and they don’t work weekends. So they don’t have the same strain and stress that the sergeants who do shift work have. It’s not like they’re not being treated fairly. From my position of working for the police department, as a president of the command officers union for 10 years, this did come up in contract negotiations several times. We really couldn’t very well justify it and it was pretty well shot down from the beginning. Knowing how the police department works I just know we will not get any more efficiency or anymore work from anyone who is going to receive this, in my opinion.”
 
The city will be negotiating the contract for the Oregon Police Patrolmen’s Association (OPPA), which consists of about 45 members, in August.
 
 
 
 
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