Employment notebook: 37 more separations from city of Bloomington in last four months

Earlier this year, when Bloomington’s city council deliberated on increasing the local income tax (LIT) paid by all county residents, part of the pitch from the administration included a need to pay city employees more, to stem the tide of their departures.

The data provided at the time by mayor John Hamilton’s administration included the number of city employees who have left their jobs over the last few years, and the year-to-date numbers for 2022.

The nearly 100 departures in 2021 was a dramatic jump from the roughly 60 departures a year for the previous six years. And the 36 departures up April of this year put Bloomington on a pace to match the big number from 2021. The city of Bloomington has about 850 employees.

Based on a B Square review of online payroll records, the trend for departures has continued over the last four months, as another 37 people have left their jobs at the city of Bloomington. That brings the year-to-date total to 73. Continue reading “Employment notebook: 37 more separations from city of Bloomington in last four months”

Police contract with 13% initial raise OK’d by Bloomington city council

On a unanimous vote, Bloomington’s city council has approved a new labor agreement with its police union, which has been unsigned since it was ratified in early March by a vote of the FOP Lodge 88.

The council’s action came at its regular meeting on Wednesday.

The highlight of the new four-year deal, which starts in 2023, is more pay for police officers. In the first year of the agreement, the contract calls for a base salary increase of around 13 percent, which works out to around $7,800 a year. Increases in each subsequent year are around 3 percent.

On Wednesday, it was city attorney Mike Rouker who reviewed for city councilmembers the legal and political nuts and bolts of the deal.

Among the political points was the fact that Bloomington’s mayor John Hamilton made the new labor deal contingent on the city council’s recent approval of an increase in the local income tax.

Rouker pegged the direct fiscal impact of the new agreement over four years at $4,917,000. Rouker called it “a truly unprecedented investment in public safety and in our police officers.”

The significant increase in pay is meant to help Bloomington’s police department contend with challenges in recruitment and retention. Continue reading “Police contract with 13% initial raise OK’d by Bloomington city council”

13% pay increase for Bloomington police in first year of new labor agreement

Members of FOP Lodge 88, Bloomington’s police union, voted last week to accept the city’s proposal for a new four-year labor deal starting in 2023, according to FOP president Paul Post.

B Square file photo of Paul Post, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Don Owens Memorial Lodge 88

The current agreement between Bloomington and its police union expires at the end of 2022.

In the first year of the agreement, the contract calls for a base salary increase of around 13 percent, which works out to around $7,800 a year. Increases in each subsequent year are around 3 percent.

City attorney Mike Rouker gave a caveat on the agreement in an email to The B Square: “The contract is contingent on the city identifying a revenue source adequate to fund the salary adjustment.”

Bloomington’s city council will still need to approve the contract.

In Bloomington mayor John Hamilton’s state of the city address, delivered on Feb. 24, he put the money question like this: “We need major investments in public safety, ongoing revenue for adequate police salaries as city council directed last year, and as our proposed four-year labor agreement has included.”

B Square file photo of Mike Rouker, city attorney, addressing Bloomington’s city council in December 2019.

That “ongoing revenue” is likely to be sought in the form of a local income tax increase, which could be enacted by Bloomington’s city council for all of Monroe County.

In an emailed statement to The B Square, Post wrote: “The FOP is pleased that an agreement has been reached between the BPD [Bloomington Police Department] bargaining unit and the city.”

The statement from Post continued, “This contract provides significant increases to salary amounts and longevity payments, with the hope of both recruiting new officers to fill our large officer shortage, and hopefully retaining our well trained existing officers.”

The statement from Post concluded: “While the amounts could certainly have gone a bit further, this will be a good ‘first step’ toward correcting the staffing crisis at BPD.” Continue reading “13% pay increase for Bloomington police in first year of new labor agreement”