Police contract finally ready

The union contract between the City of Port Orchard and the officers of the Port Orchard Police Department went before the City Council Monday night for approval as a consent agenda item, a contract one year in the making.

The Police Officers’ Collective Bargaining Agreement between the City and Teamsters Local No. 589 representing patrol officer employees will replace the existing contract on October 1 and is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2006, although the new contract is dated from last October.

According to Port Orchard Police Chief Alan Townsend, the major difference between the two contract relates to rising healthcare costs.

“The Union, along with the City, was able to agree to a similar plan, but at a reduced cost to the City.”

Townsend said the new contract stipulates a higher monthly premium for officers, but said officers understand the increase.

“The issue was making sure that, because it was going to be different, both sides were satisfied,” Townsend said.

Townsend said he sat in discussions with union leaders and Port Orchard City Attorney Loren Combs.

According to Townsend, there was no animosity on either side and the contract took so long to hammer out because of scheduling conflicts.

“I sat on behalf of the City,” Townsend said. “I made sure any proposals that were placed on the table were acceptable to the (Port Orchard Police) Department.”

“The main issue was trying to get meetings together on both sides,” Townsend said. “That was part of the problem. It was a major change and getting the research together took time as well.”

Townsend was confident Monday afternoon the item would be passed as part of the consent agenda and not pulled for discussion.

“There aren’t a lot of other major changes,” Townsend said. “We kept the Council informed all the way through.”

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