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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

City Brings Police Contract Offer Directly to Officers

posted by on February 26 at 16:46 PM

This morning, during precinct roll calls, Seattle Police officers received a document detailing the City’s contract offer to the police guild.


►With a compounded 23.8% wage increase, Seattle becomes the top paid police agency in the Puget Sound (based on current contracts). Officers would receive a compounded 23.8% wage increase over the life of the contract. (8% in year 1; 4% in year 2; 5% in year 3; 5% in year 4)

Current Salary 2008 Salary 2010 Salary
• 12-year officer: $72,072 $80,952 $89,250

• Retroactive pay (12-year officer) as of March 2008: $6,285

►Starting salaries would be immediately increased by 8% on top of the compounded 23.8% raise. Entry-level police officer pay would increase by a compounded 33.9% over the life of the contract.

Current Salary 2008 Salary 2010 Salary
• Entry-level officer: $47,340 $57,508 $63,402

• Retroactive pay (entry-level) as of March 2008: $4,851

• Existing recruiting incentives over and above City’s offer:

• $5,000 hiring incentive
• $2,500 in equipment provided to new recruits
• $14,000 (maximum) potential moving allowance

►Contract would provide for full protection of current SPOG healthcare benefits for 4 years.

►New shifts would allow 23 additional days off per year.

Contract negotiations between the City and the Police Guild (SPOG) have been at a standstill for months now, and the City’s move appears to be an attempt to bypass SPOG and go straight to its members, many of whom are unfamiliar with the details of the negotiations.

While the move is certain to raise the hackles of SPOG, Mayor Nickels’ spokesman, Marty McOmber, says the city was well within its right to put the contract offer directly to officers. “It was the rank and file’s right to know,” McOmber says. “We’re absolutely still open to sitting down and working with the guild [but] this package is as far as the city is able to go financially.”

Councilmember Tim Burgess also issued a statement this afternoon.

“This is disappointing news because it signals that contract negotiations between the city and SPOG have completely broken down. I’m particularly disappointed because we have a unique opportunity right now to strengthen police accountability/transparency and take huge steps toward solving our officer recruitment and retention problems. The city’s offer, as spelled out in the attachment from Regina, is very generous and, over the term of the contract, increases officer compensation to the highest in the greater Puget Sound region, something our officers rightly deserve, in my opinion. I hope SPOG will reconsider the city’s offer.”

UPDATE: Seattle Police Officers’ Guild President Rich O’Neil is fuming over the City’s move. “I’m appalled and disgusted,” he says. “Both sides [the City and the Guild] agreed it would be confidential. For them to go around the Guild negotiation team, directly to the members, is unprecedented and illegal and we will be looking into filing an unfair labor practice.”

O’Neil claims the Guild was very close to striking a deal with the City. However, he adds, “They have thrown a bucket of cold water on the whole process. Whoever authorized this needs to be fired. They have set back labor relations and set back a blockbuster deal that could have been done.”

O’Neil also points out that the City’s offer does not say what officers would be agreeing to—in regards to changes to the police accountability system—by accepting the offer.

O’Neil says his phone has been ringing off the hook with Officers calling to express their outrage over the City’s move and O’Neil expects to see an even greater turnout at an upcoming SPOG rally at City Hall.

RSS icon Comments


I would reject this offer out of hand without even reading it all, on the grounds that in the first sentence it refers to "the Puget Sound", thereby revealing its author as an ignoramus hired by the city from elsewhere. It's no more "the Puget Sound" than it is "the Lake Washington" or "the Everett". Boobs.

Posted by Fnarf | February 26, 2008 4:54 PM

Shit. This is enough to make me consider becoming a cop.

Posted by Gitai | February 26, 2008 5:03 PM

Cops should be paid well, but most police unions build in HUGE overtime allowances. Cops working 80+ hour weeks and pulling in 6 figures are worth far less than two cops, IMO.

Posted by Dougsf | February 26, 2008 5:05 PM

What the Fnarf said.

Posted by elenchos | February 26, 2008 5:08 PM

I like how the city mentions retro pay twice.

Heck, think how much retro pay the officers' will make if the city holds out another year on a contract.

No mention whatsoever of anything besides money? There's nothing else on the table?

Posted by six shooter | February 26, 2008 5:29 PM

I agree with Dougsf -- overtime should be massively curtailed, and approved only in the rarest of circumstances. I don't want some cop who's been on the beat for 15 hours working for me. The Guild would never agree to that, though.

Posted by Fnarf | February 26, 2008 5:35 PM

The Guild doesn't decide who gets overtime and when. It only negotiates the conditions under which an officer gets overtime.

The city hires officers (for regular and overtime) as it sees fit.

The Guild could, however, negotiate a safety clause into their contract. For example, they could say no officer is allowed to work more than 50 hours per week. The city could negotiate the same.

You're all members of the city. Ask the city to negotiate for weekly hour maximums.

They won't, of course, because hour maximums would tie their hands. Right now it is cheaper for them to work an officer overtime than to hire.

The Guild will agree to almost anything if you offer them enough money.

Posted by six shooter | February 26, 2008 5:44 PM

if only they got this fired up about keeping people safe and treating citizens with respect and dignity

Posted by kinkos | February 26, 2008 5:45 PM

I just don't get how they can get retro pay when they refuse to wear sideburns or walk jauntily.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 26, 2008 5:53 PM

I would hazard a guess that the guild is furious that it's members have found out exactly how much of their money it was passing up in it's fight against police accountability reforms.

Nearly $90k a year is nothing to sneeze at, even in Seattle.

Posted by Packratt | February 26, 2008 6:14 PM

The Guild (and most of the members I've talked to this afternoon) are angry because the City agreed to a confidentiality clause during negotiations.

Now the City has thrown that out the window by passing out their flyer, and making it available to the media.

This "best offer" the City made barely covers the rise in the cost of living. It's less than 5% a year over the last three years. Anybody looked at gas prices lately?

But the bigger issue is that SPD is having a terrible time hiring new officers. Who would want to work here when you can get more money and better conditions in Bellevue, or Everett or even Renton?

Now not only can we not hire new officers, we are losing experienced officers to those Cities. When you lose an officer with 4 or 5 years on, and all of her training and experience, it's a problem. When you start losing veterans with 10 or 20 years, it becomes a crisis.

The population of Seattle is much larger than it was in the 70's, yet there are less officers on the Deaprtment now than there were back then.

Just sayin' . . .

(And as far as requiring officers to ligve in the City? Can't do it. There is a State law against residency requirements for nonelected employees.)

Posted by Union Label | February 26, 2008 6:53 PM

But overtime IS more money. Many cops earn as much as $150,000 with overtime. They're not going to give that up for a higher base rate.

Posted by Fnarf | February 26, 2008 7:40 PM


"Many cops"? Maybe 2 or 3 out of 1200.

To make that much, I'd need work almost 1,600 hours of overtime in a year - 30 hours a week, every single week.

SO far, my record is 450 hours in a year, and it kicked my a55. And that was overtime THE DEPARTMENT required me to work, not something I arranged by myself.

Let's quit chasing the red herring about cops get rich on overtime, and worry about the FACT that current compensation levels don't seem to be enough to recruit officers faster than they leave.

Let's see, we have enough money to pay MILLIONS for self-washing toilets, and City-paid buskers in parks, but we can't come up with enough to pay our cops.

Posted by Union Label | February 26, 2008 8:09 PM

@Union Label:

A compounded 23.8% increase over 4 years - I guarantee that's way above the cost of living increases. Inflation is somewhere between 2-4%. This package will increase their base salary significantly (8% in the first year is HUGE), and more than keep up with the cost of living. Is it so hard to admit that?

You also state the "the bigger issue is that SPD is having a terrible time hiring new officers." Are you seriously insinuating that raising their pay to *the highest in the region* isn't going to help that situation?! We've been putting off needed pay increases for our Police Officers for a few years - this contract does a great job to make up for it. Again - and I'll only repeat this a couple of more times for you - *this contract would make Seattle's Police Officers the highest paid in the Puget Sound Region*.

As to your comment in #13, again, we can all agree that "current compensation levels don't seem to be enough", but you're not going to get much sympathy from the general public when you're being offered a huge compensation package that will make you the *best paid Police Officers in the Puget Sound Region*. Out in the private sector (where I and most Seattleites live), these sort of pay increases wouldn't be coughed at...

Posted by Mojo Jojo | February 26, 2008 9:03 PM

My experience with police guilds (in a different city in Washington) is that the guild leaders are primarily interested in:

1. Protecting the privileges of officers with the most seniority, and

2. Limiting or avoiding public accountability efforts

Posted by M | February 26, 2008 9:49 PM

This is supposedly a "pro-labor" city but they bust the chops of every "organized bargaining unit"?

23.8% (at the end of 4 years) when 2007 had a 4.7 or 4.8% COLA and the SPD has had several years of 2% annual while COLA is well above that?

It's nice to be high minded but I want to see more officers patrolling my neighborhood (the CD).

When we consistently lose ground on staffing I'm thinking $ or some other major push is in order.

It should be noted that most of the corporate "fat cats" who are gaining so much turf and power in the city WANT as many police officers as possible and are willing to pay the prices the city lEADERS (yes that was on purpose) should attend to those tax payers desires.

As a homeowner in the CD I recently found out my property tax is going up over $300 next year. That is for non-essential BS! If the city could guarantee me one additional officer for my area I would gladly pay $600 more.

SF pays their Police Officers WAY more than Seattle and they are essentially glorified meter maids. Seattle is paying 100's of MILLIONS to remodel fire stations and buy new fire trucks. Why can't we put the same emphasis on public safety?

(don't even bother replying to this packratt)

Posted by Pro Labor City | February 26, 2008 10:03 PM

Okay, compounding the yearly increases is bullshit. Can we all agree on that?

Posted by Greg | February 26, 2008 10:21 PM

...or what, pro labor? Gonna send your pals on the force to torture me again for no good reason?

$16,600 more per year just to be held accountable when you don't play by the rules? Is being allowed to beat people and ignore the constitution really worth that much to you and your fellow guild members?

Posted by Packratt | February 26, 2008 10:52 PM

Pro labor,

Honestly, I'm tired of the threats and innuendos from you people. If you guys are going to kill me or frame me in order to shut me up, just do it already.

Because, frankly, I'm tired of living in utter fear of the police and their guild. So either get it over with already because the only other way I can live without fear anymore is if the city implements an honest-to-goodness accountability system that actually works.

Posted by Packratt | February 26, 2008 11:26 PM

hey Pro Labor -- I'm fine with giving the officers extra money -- at least to bring them into parity with forces in cities with similar size, demographics and crime stats. But, in return, I want full civilian oversight.

They work for us, we get to monitor what they do in our name. Simple as that.

Until the Guild yields on oversight, then I got no sympathy and will work against any pay increase.

Posted by gnossos | February 26, 2008 11:46 PM

I love how the guild is fighting to put RFID trackers in all police uniforms and install webcams in all their houses to livestream what they do at the Mayor's Secret Underground Base and BBQ pit.

But I think the guild shouldn't have insisted the bike cops be required to wear see-thru shirts in gay clubs - that was a bit much.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 27, 2008 12:01 AM

the confidentiality agreement related ONLY to the proposed OPA changes that were being negotiated...not the economic package the city is offering. what was distributed at roll call was the economic package only. no confidentiality agreement was violated by the city.

here are the earthshattering proposed OPA changes that SPOG is going to reject this generous offer for...

Recommendations that are within the Executive’s authority and require further discussion with the Guild before they can be implemented are:

Recommendation 1 The role and duties of the OPA Auditor should be clarified and expanded. This will require the responsibilities of the OPA Auditor to be increased beyond its current part-time independent contractor status. Specifically, the OPA Auditor’s duties should include making recommendations to strengthen police accountability; performing in-depth reviews (audits) of substantive policies, procedures and/or training that affect police accountability; and issuing public reports on its findings. The compensation and resources available to the OPA Auditor must be made commensurate with its responsibilities.

Recommendation 3 There should be a separation between OPA investigations and any related criminal or civil proceedings. OPA investigators should not be involved as investigators in any related civil or criminal matter. Pending civil or criminal matters should not delay OPA investigations.

Recommendation 4 SPD should adopt a rule that precludes the use of overtime or accrued vacation time to satisfy a disciplinary penalty that mandates suspension without pay.

Recommendation 6 The OPA Director should attend all disciplinary hearings.

Recommendation 7 If new material facts are disclosed at the disciplinary hearing, and the Chief is inclined to act contrary to the OPA Director’s recommendation, the case should be sent back to the OPA for further investigation.

Recommendation 8 The 180-day limit to investigate a complaint of police misconduct should be able to be extended by the OPA for good cause (e.g., when further investigation is required due to new information introduced at a disciplinary hearing or when a material witness cannot be contacted due to a pending criminal proceeding).

Recommendation 9 The City should review, evaluate and consider amending its policy relating to the use of Garrity protections. Officers and City staff involved in implementing Garrity policy should be regularly trained in its appropriate use.

Recommendation 16 The OPA Director, in consultation with the Police Chief, should have the authority to select and transfer OPA staff, including sworn investigators and the Deputy Director.

Recommendation 20 SPD should adopt a policy that presumes an officer will be terminated for sustained complaints involving dishonesty that either relate to or occur within the scope of the officer’s official duties, or that relate to the administration of justice. If the Police Chief chooses to impose a disciplinary sanction other than termination, he should be required to state his reasons in writing. This written statement shall be provided to the OPA Director, and upon request, to the Mayor and City Council.

Recommendation 24 The OPA should adopt a policy that requires public disclosure of all OPA records to the maximum extent allowed by law. Records of all sustained complaints, including the punishment imposed, should be made public in a format designed to protect the privacy of the officers and complainants to the extent required by law.

Recommendation 25 When the Police Chief changes a recommended finding from the OPA, the Chief should be required to state his reasons in writing and provide these to the OPA Director. A summary of the Chief’s decisions should be provided to the Mayor and City Council upon request.

Posted by fair-negotiating | February 27, 2008 10:55 AM

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