“I’m extremely hopeful for next year,” Hartney said. “I do believe that we are further than we have ever been in terms of, we have a plan for next year.”
Hartney said in past years, negotiations have begun in January or February, “and so when they give us their numbers, they’re already done and completed.”
“Budgets are about priorities,” Hartney said. “It’s not that they don’t have it, it’s just that it’s already been spent.”
Hartney said the union will meet with city negotiators monthly, beginning in August, where they will also discuss other issues, including longevity pay.
Dozens of active police officers attended a June 6 City Council meeting to argue that 1 percent wasn’t enough, given the dangerous, traumatizing nature of their jobs and purported difficulty recruiting officers from other agencies.
The mayor’s office and the union had disagreed about the competitiveness of Salt Lake City’s officer pay.
Two recent surveys pegged Salt Lake City’s median ($66,000) and average ($61,000) salaries at 127 percent and 134 percent of local market value, respectively.
But the union had pointed to a 2016 comparison of U.S. cities that found Salt Lake City’s officer pay was at 88 percent of average.
Salt Lake City’s $38,000 minimum salary is also at the low end of the local market, the union argued, and its favorable comparison to younger local police agencies is due in part to its greater proportion of longtime officers.
If the earlier negotiations don’t result in a better outcome, “for sure there will be a lawsuit next year,” Hartney said.
Negotiations with the fire union and the American Federation of State,…
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