PEORIA, Ariz. (April 16, 2009) – The Peoria City
Council is expected at next Tuesday’s meeting to take an administrative step to
overcome an impasse in negotiations with its police officer’s labor union.
A resolution “declaring an emergency due to a
fiscal crisis” is on the agenda for action. The resolution is an administrative
provision in the agreements with Peoria’s public safety labor unions that allows
the City Council to make final determinations when collective bargaining fails
during times of financial stress.
“Unfortunately we could not reach agreement on
the subject of pay raises. Though we’ve been clear with our employees about the
financial constraints, the police union is still insisting on regular 5% step
increases for their officers, so we’re asking the City Council to make this
declaration,” City Manager Carl Swenson said. “It’s a tool available to us under
our labor agreements, and in light of the budget realities we’re facing, we need
to use it.”
In the midst of unprecedented spending cuts
forced by a drastic drop in revenues, the city enacted a pay freeze for managers
in January, and for all other employees starting July 1, pending City Council
approval of the proposed Fiscal Year 2010 budget.
A zero-pay-raise agreement has been tentatively
negotiated with employees who are represented by the American Federation of
State, County and Municipal Employees; similar negotiations with Peoria’s fire
fighters union are ongoing.
The Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) between
the city and its employee labor unions provide that, in the event of a fiscal
crisis declared by the City Council, the city may re-open the MOUs to achieve
Despite the dire wording necessary in the
administrative action, the city does not expect any damaging effect to Peoria’s
“The financial agencies who determine our bond
ratings have been positive about our financial policies and our recent budget
reductions,” according to Brent Mattingly, the city’s chief financial officer.
“They have indicated that this action will be seen as another proactive step to
control spending, which is what financially responsible organizations are
expected to do.”
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