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updated: 2/20/2013 1:07 AM

Naperville ends 9-month stalemate with police

Naperville ends 9-month stalemate with police

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Naperville patrol officers are once again under contract.

City council members Tuesday ended a nine-month stalemate with the 131-member Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 42 by approving a new three-year contract retroactive to May 1, 2012.

The new deal calls for a 4 percent raise during the first year, 0 percent in the second year and 2 percent in the third year. An annual 1 percent step is also included in every year for officers with up to eight years of service.

In November 2014 the officers will also join all of the other city-employed groups in contributing 20 percent of their health insurance costs.

City attorney Margo Ely confirmed the city believes that the 0 percent raise in the second year will cause some officers to consider retirement because their pensions will also remain the same. Replacing those officers with new hires is likely to save the city about $25,000 per employee.

Councilman Steve Chirico is pleased with the end result of several months at the bargaining table.

"It was a long negotiation. It was a fair negotiation and it was done with honesty and good integrity," Chirico said.

Councilmen Doug Krause and Grant Wehrli, responsible for the two opposing votes, took issue with the process.

Wehrli said he takes issue with the state's collective bargaining rules that require pensions and compensation to be meted out separately.

"Our law enforcement does a great job in this community and I honor and respect what they do," Wehrli said. "But we have a math problem that we simply can't solve by continuing to pile things like this on."

Krause took issue with the delay of the increased health insurance premiums, saying it needs to be fair to other employees who stepped up to the plate by contributing 20 percent to their hospitalization.

"But (police) don't have to do that until November 2014. I think that sends the wrong message and undermines morale among the (non-police) employees," Krause said.

Union President Vince Clark said the membership was much happier with these negotiations, compared to the November 2010 agreement that saw six officers get laid off within days of the cops agreeing to a new contract.

"We came to the negotiation table with a high level of suspicion, based on our last negotiated contract. Tonight's positive outcome has helped rebuild and establish our level of trust with the city council," Clark said late Tuesday.

"We applaud all the council members who understand the process of collective bargaining. We also applaud Chief (Robert) Marshall and his team for the positive relationship that was built during this negotiation."

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