Police union votes to accept Bloomington offer, city council consideration not yet scheduled

Bloomington police officers have voted, albeit reluctantly, to accept the city’s most recent contract offer, according to the president of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), Paul Post.

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A close-up of  a BPD officer’s uniform at the Nov. 14, 2019 meeting of the Bloomington city council.  Under city code, the  police chief, or their designee, is the sergeant of arms at the city council, so an officer is always assigned to meetings. (Dave Askins/Beacon) 

Police officers have been working during 2019 under an “evergreen” clause of their contract, which expired at the end of 2018.

Post told The Beacon that the voting by the union membership was concluded. An official acceptance of the city’s proposal was sent on Thursday, Post said.

The latest city offer was conveyed at an Oct. 24 meeting. According to Post, both the mediator and the union’s legal counsel had recommended that the union membership vote yes.

Without an agreement before the end of the year, Bloomington police officers would start 2020 without a contract. Post said that union members did not want to lose the protections of a contract.

While the city’s most recent offer reflects a larger financial increase than the previous four-year contract, Post said it’s still uncompetitive with other comparable law enforcement agencies around the state. Post said the challenge of recruitment and retention of officers for BPD would persist under the new contract.

Post said an officer had quit the training program last week. That leaves Bloomington Police Department six short of the budgeted number of sworn officers in 2019, Post said.

The number of sworn officers budgeted for 2013 is 103. The 2020 budget request by the city administration was to add two additional officers. The legislative package that makes up the 2020 budget was approved on Oct. 10, except for the salary ordinance for fire fighters and police officers.

In early October, councilmembers  were reluctant to adopt a salary ordinance that legislated the same level of compensation for police officers in 2020 as in 2018.

A salary ordinance incorporating the newly ratified contract will need to be adopted by the council before the end of the year, in order to authorize the city controller to pay police officers (or fire fighters).

Post said he did not know when the city council would take up the salary ordinance.

The council has a packed schedule from now through much of the rest of the year, because it is considering changes to the update of the city’s the unified development ordinance.