After more than a year of negotiations and a very public billboard campaign by the Police Benevolent Association, the city of Tallahassee is set to ratify a contract with its police officers.
City and PBA officials announced a three-year contract agreement had been reached Tuesday. Officers who are PBA members had been working without a formal contract since October.
The contract will come before the City Commission Wednesday for ratification.
The new contract between the PBA and the city includes, in part, no pay increase this year but a 2% across-the-board increase in 2022 and 2023, a reduction in pension contribution during those years to a 10.99% rate, Cost of Living Adjustments for PBA members with pension entry dates from Jan. 2001 through the end of Dec. 2003, and parental leave of 240 hours annually.
“This agreement represents an ongoing commitment to public safety and those serving on the front lines,” said PBA President Richard Murphy in a joint statement with City Manager Reese Goad. “We appreciate the city working with the PBA to structure a fair contract for police officers and supporting efforts to ensure a career path in law enforcement including the recruitment of highly qualified men and women to serve and protect this community.”
Mediation on the contract came in late March but so too did the controversial billboards paid for by the PBA spotlighting the crime and murder rate and warning parents to “think again” before sending their children to town for college. Community leaders at the time blasted the billboards as a public relations blunder and rejected the notion that the capital city isn’t safe for students.
Tallahassee and Leon County saw a record number of murders in 2020 — part of an uptick in violent crime across the country, tallying 28 last year, according to records from the Tallahassee Police Department and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. That’s a 33% increase over 2019, when the city and county had 21 murders. The previous record of 22 murders was set in 2017.
On Thursday, 86% of the PBA’s 195 voting members approved the contract.
Goad said in a statement that the contract signals a continued support for law enforcement by the city.
“The vast and vital contribution police officers make to this community cannot be understated,” he said. “Each day, the brave men and women at TPD reaffirm their commitment to keeping Tallahassee safe through their tireless work and courageous efforts, and for that, we are most grateful.”
Contact Karl Etters at [email protected] or @KarlEtters on Twitter.
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