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City Ratifies Agreement With Police Union

Three-year contract is in place that calls for wage increase, pension contribution.

The Oak Creek Common Council has approved a three-year agreement between the city and police union that calls for increases in wages and pension contributions.

Union members' wages will increase by 3 percent the first two years and 2 percent in the third year. In exchange, employees will make pension contributions to the Wisconsin Retirement System of 3 percent this year and 2.9 percent (or the state adjusted rate) the next year.

The contract also dictates that health insurance be discontinued for employees and their spouses when they turn 65. That's a potentially huge savings for the city, as it reduces the Other Post-Employment Benefits liability by an estimated $6 million to $7 million, according to a report to council members.

Instead officers will receive a payment -- 150 hours at their current salary -- that will be placed into Voluntary Employee Benefit Account, a health trust fund that can be accessed for medical expenses after retirement.

"This is a good agreement for the city," Peterson said. "It nets out about a 2 percent increase in cost to the city over a three-year period of time, and I think that's a significant part of the agreement."

The police union was also pleased with the contract, president Andy Sagan said. The concessions were made knowing the slow economy and the need to provide relief to taxpayers, he said.

"The Oak Creek Professional Police Officers Association is pleased we were able to work with the city's personnel committee to come to this agreement," Sagan said. "It is our belief this contract settlement benefits the city taxpayers as well as our members.

"We also believe it's a good example that collective bargaining is a process that still works and gives both the municipality and the employees a voice."

Alderman Mike Toman, who chairs the city's personnel committee, said reaching the agreement was a long process that paid off in the end.

"This last session went to mediation and it looked like we were heading to arbitration," Toman said. "We hung in there. It took us six hours to hammer this thing out."

Toman said the contract also puts the city "on a path" to settle with the firefighters union.

Alderman Ken Gehl was the lone council member to vote against the plan. He said the police union should be treated the same as other city employees, which means taking a pay freeze and paying more for their pension, and expected more cooperation given Oak Creek's fiscal situation.

"We all face the same budgetary problems and revenue problems," Gehl said. "They treat themselves as a special class of employees, (when) they're no better or worse than the rest of them."

doc1954 March 30, 2012 at 07:05 PM
question for Vocal Local 1.Have you ever had anything positive to say?If you don't like this city you have every right to leave. We may appear to pay more for protective sevices as Milwaukee,but you get what you pay for.Why don't you live in Milwaukee?Not a safe place to bring up family? You should be happy at how lucky you are to have the police dept you do. You go to a child abuse call and see battered children.You roll up on robbery in progress and run out not knowing if you will be shot or not.You go to a bar fight in progress and before getting there make sure your coat is closed and gear is secure cause your probably gonna get into a fight.We don't pay enough for men and women who put their life on the line every day just to protect my rights and freedoms.I applaud all of them and thank god we have them.
vocal local 1 March 30, 2012 at 08:52 PM
The cops should have gotten a pay freeze also. We don’t need a swat team. We don’t need 2 drug dogs. I remember when the sheriff patrolled OC so don't try to tell me how lucky I am especially post the Patriot Act and the expanded discretionary authority of a cop. OC citizen's pay dearly for the toys the boys want not need. Probably going to get into a fight when responding to a call for a bar fight. Sounds to me like your the kind that enters and the entire scene escalates. Definitely not the kind of hide behind the badge cop I want in OC. You go to Milwaukee instead of hiding behind skirts in the burbs. No one is forcing anyone to become a cop. The training programs are not lacking enrollment, the departments certainly not lacking in applications. We can pay them less and should. NO Cop should earn more than the mean income ($52,000) of residents they are paid to protect. Prior to governmental employee unions the pay scales were more in line with the public sector. After five years Cops earn 15 grand more a year than the average residents, excellent benefits. 11% of gross salary paid for retirement. Not required to live in the city. No, all over the nation local governments are experiencing budgetary problems and rising costs. The police are a significant contributing factor to more than 100% of tax revenues going to city employee pay and this has to stop. NO MORE SPECIAL INTEREST. To hell with the brotherhood.
Be Logical March 30, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Good point doc1954!! People like Loco Vocal use imaginary statistics and Personal biases to justify their conspiracy theories. The facts are this is a well run city with strong police and fire departments and most rational citizens appreciate that fact. Loco Vocal uses long rambling posts in a vain attempt to appear intelligent, but falls short. I often question why Loco Vocal continues to live in a city she detests.
Jimmy johns March 30, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Vocal local; next time some nut case shoots up comfort suites with an Uzi you can take point..."at the mean income level"....
William March 30, 2012 at 10:16 PM
And how often does that happen? Especially outside the confines of that narrow band of hotels right along College Avenue. The SWAT team gets a pay differential, I’m sure, for taking on that added risk. Not that they’re in it for the money, of course.
William March 30, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Police and fire can retire at age 50 with full pension, and that requires a 23% contribution, which is double the number I’ve heard for other employees. So I think personnel paying 3% toward their own pension (and getting a raise to cover it) while the taxpayers (whether they received a raise themselves, or not) continue to pay 20% toward that same pension - still a pretty good deal. Costs for police and fire salaries, overtime, benefits, and pension contribution are already almost ¾ of the entire annual city budget. The city spends more on police and fire personnel than it does on the roads they drive on. And increasing every year. Can someone explain why there are always at least THREE squads stopped at any given traffic stop or fender bender?? Two of them SUV's (which cannot get very good gas mileage these days). Why am I seeing this ROUTINELY? Every stop – I see a squad and two SUV’s. Because they EACH get to write it up as a call responded to. Even if that is not the case, I’m not sure three squads routinely responding to minor traffic incidents is a beneficial use of taxpayer dollars.
vocal local 1 March 30, 2012 at 10:55 PM
My numbers are factual and current. OCPD can be found on their web site. A simple search will show the numbers for Racine and Milwaukee. OC cops have it easy in comparison to some districts. I don't recall any OCPD ever getting shot and if they did they didn't die now did they so what is so dangerous about the job? I maintain we can fill the positions at a much lower entry level wage and the salary should be capped. Last week the main event was a group of SM teens mooning at the HS. Fortunately they did not arrest them and charge them with a crime or list them as perverts for the rest of their lives. How hard do you think the cops that work at the schools work? How dangerous is that job? Do you really think OC teens are so out of control that we need cops in the schools? Get logical. The cops are not the finest or the best and their wages should have been frozen just like other city workers.
William March 30, 2012 at 10:59 PM
From the police blotter in the paper - Typical week: some copper pipes stolen from a job site; some items stolen from unlocked cars (“showed no signs of forced entry”); a few shoplifting calls; a few routine drug busts at the College Avenue hotels (same thing every weekend); and a few calls to the high school for a rowdy teenager. Last week, “a balding white male with glasses” removed a political sign without permission (no arrests were made). And, “chickens in the road” (owner was told to keep his chickens contained or he would be cited for letting animals run at large). While I appreciate the police and what they do, suburban police work is nothing like what police officers face in larger cities with economically depressed areas and a much different culture and demographic. http://www.oakcreeknow.com/news/police-report-march-27-ua4k3dl-144461835.html
William March 30, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Posted below as a general comment, but relevant to this, so reposted here. From the police blotter in the paper - Copper pipes stolen from a job site; items stolen from unlocked cars (“showed no signs of forced entry”); a few shoplifting calls; a few routine drug busts at the College Avenue hotels (same thing every weekend); and a few calls to the high school. No gangs; no drive-bys; no car jackings; no murders. And while it may be tempting to say police presence is the reason - I suspect the general demographic and decent upbringing of the people of this community are the real reasons. While I appreciate the police and what they do, suburban police work is nothing like what police officers face in larger cities with economically depressed areas and a much different culture and demographic. http://www.oakcreeknow.com/news/police-report-march-27-ua4k3dl-144461835.html
Local Cop March 31, 2012 at 01:32 AM
As a police officer for the city of Oak Creek, I am shocked by the lack of police operation knowledge and the ignorance of some of the comments made. I am a dedicated officer who works my best to provide a sense of safety in this community. Most citizens I come into contact with are grateful for the police service they received. I have sacrificed countless hours away from my family to provide this service to the citizens of Oak Creek. When I took the police officer oath I was well aware of the long, odd hours I would be required to work and the danger of the job. Police officers are different than other city workers. As Officer Schneider pointed out, all city employees are needed to make this city function. We are not implying that we are better than others; we’re just stating that our jobs are drastically different. We work in rotating shifts covering the twenty-four hours of every day. We are never closed. We respond to life threating situations every day that could end up with an officer shot, stabbed, or battered. I have been spit on, yelled at, chased armed criminals on foot, and been in many other dangerous situations. I have had my safety threatened at home. Yet every day I go into work with a positive attitude and strive to do the best job I can.
Local Cop March 31, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Let me clear up a few misstatements others have posted: 1. The police blotter you see in the paper is not representative of the work we do in any given week. Sure we do respond to those calls, but the paper fails to mention keys details in those calls for service. What may sound like a simple “routine drug call” (if there is such a thing) fails to mention that the offender has a long violent criminal history. The paper generally does not include the rapes, robberies, domestic violence, and child abuse calls we often respond to. 2. We have been directed by command staff to conduct directed patrols inside of local business. We are allowed to stop and use bathrooms and purchase a coffee (no discount) at local stores. Many times you see a squad at the curb we are responding to in progress calls, such as retail thefts. 3. Our emergency response unit (ERU) is called upon to serve high risk search and arrest warrants and resolve barricaded/hostage situations. They have been called upon to assist in searches for missing juveniles and conduct rescue operations. ERU members do not get additional pay for this unit. 4. Our canine units are valuable tools. They are sent into buildings to conduct searches for suspects, track felons fleeing from arrest, and search for illegal drugs. They are not a toy or pets, they are working canines.
Local Cop March 31, 2012 at 01:33 AM
5. If there are three squads at a scene it is because three officers are needed. If it is a traffic stop, three officers may be needed because the occupants are wanted, drunk, or involved in a crime we are investigating. Many times numerous squads are needed at a car crash because we need to protect the scene. Traffic needs to be diverted away from the incident to ensure the safety of police officers, firefighters, and citizens in the roadway. No, we don’t count each squad on scene and “get to write it up” as another call. One incident, one number no matter how many officers respond. 6. While we may not see shootings every day like a “big city,” we are not immune from crime. Oak Creek police routinely respond to dangerous situations, domestic abuse calls, thefts, robberies, and sexual assaults. Every day we encounter intoxicated subjects, drug addicts, and career criminals. Big city or small town, unfortunately crime is everywhere. To say otherwise is absurd. If you don’t see crime in your neighborhood, you should thank a police officer, not say you don’t need them!
Be Logical March 31, 2012 at 01:53 AM
BRAVO and THANK YOU!!!!! I'm proud to be an OC resident who can feel safe every day!
Jimmy johns March 31, 2012 at 03:09 AM
YALP!
Informed Local March 31, 2012 at 05:30 AM
Ignorance of what is actually provided by our protective services is understated here. The need to maintain qualified and QAULITY officers is something that hasn't even been touched yet. Those other "bid city" departments don't get quality applicants, many of those hire officers with criminal records and drunk driving offenses on their records. They also get many civil suits that cost the city millions of dollars a year due to the poor pool of applicants they get. We don't have that here in Oak Creek due to the competitive benefits and therefore the best officers that are available. That is ultimately what you get, the best! Don't forget that.
William March 31, 2012 at 05:37 AM
Regarding 3 squad at a stop, I see it virtually every time. Middle of the day, nice car, clearly calm busines person talking with 1 officer. Other two chatting with each other. I never see them directing or assisting with traffic. We've heard that reasoning for years, and it used to be only 2 cars per stop. Now I guess 3 are needed? Those concerns you raise are the very reason Police are allowed to officially retire at age 50.. and those concerns are part of why the total pension contribution is so high. No one says it's not a difficult job and deserving of a certain amount of special compensation. It's a matter of HOW MUCH extra and special compensation, compared not just to public employees, but also those in the private sector and their compensation package commensurate with the skills and experience required for their contribution to society. Many many people contribute to the overall well being of society. And I'm pretty sure people don't become a police officers strictly for the pay. They enjoy that line of work, or they wouldn't stay in that line of work no matter how much they got paid.
William March 31, 2012 at 06:00 AM
It's my understanding that over the last few years, the city has taken money from the fund that was supposed to be used for roads, and spent it on salaries, primarily for police and fire salary and increases because they are 3/4 of the operating budget. Is that a good idea? Is that in the best interest of the taxpayers? Or the condition of the city overall?
William March 31, 2012 at 06:32 AM
Talking with friends in other small cities nearby, their property taxes went UP last year. Being accounting types, they went online and looked at their various citys' budgets on their webpages. It quickly became quite obvious, looking at the assorted department budgets, which ones were the biggest expense, and which ones were the only departments whose budget was, and continue, to increase by almost 5% per year, even when other services were being cut. These other cities could not sustain that, and increased taxes dramatically as a resresult, even with the other employees paying substantially more toward their pension, etc. And as long as the discussion is "allowed" only to consist of absolute blind loyalty and adherence to the idea that police have dangerous jobs and therefore any talk of not giving them "whatever they say they need/want" - other cities, including this one are headed toward a cliff, budgetwise, because problem solving is impossible if the legitimate concerns gets quashed down as soon as someone dares to mention or question the concept. And that's not looking out for the well being of the city residents or the long term soundness of the city as a place to live, either.
William March 31, 2012 at 06:51 AM
This agreement, despite "concessions" will still result in a "Net Increase" to the city of 2% over time (fifth paragraph). That means an initial increase of even more than that. They would have been better off freezing salary and not asking for any pension contribution, as the taxpayers will be paying more this way than if they had just frozen things in place for a year. This is not a cut, or even a status quo. It's an increase, a reproduction of the reason my friends' taxes went up, and cause for concern by anyone who is required to pay taxes.
vocal local 1 March 31, 2012 at 08:42 AM
William, the funds you are speaking of are Mitigation Fund money that was granted the city by the PSC for impact of expansion of the power plant. Currently the council grants over half of the 2.25 mil for police and fire which pays the pay of three officers. This is not written in stone and can and should be modified as they took money away from the health and safety of the residents in close proximity to the plant who were to receive grants to upgrade their homes from the fallout particulate matter and other invisible hazards to human health. Local Cop you make an interesting point of concern: police activity reporting does not contain all police responses. We are not informed of the actual level of crime. We see the police and never know why they were at a location what they were doing. Is there a location where I as a resident can obtain accurate up to date reporting of all incidents? I remind all that other city workers also work in hazardous, life threatening response situations. Their pay was frozen so should police and fire have been. Good work William on the math side of the equation and your point that the new contract will actually cost residents more.
J March 31, 2012 at 09:13 PM
If you look at a Racine Police Contract for 2011 and 2012 you will find that the starting pay for a police officer in Racine is actually $51,000 plus benefits. Try actually looking something up before you type!
J March 31, 2012 at 09:21 PM
The contribution rate is actually 21.5% 6.6% is required to cover the Duty Disability fund, in case an officer would become disabled in the line of duty. It's 23.8% for those employees who are not covered under the social security program, which is usually only firefighters. Employees pay 5.9%, the employer pays 9.0%. The Trust fund sets the rate and the maximum the employee can be forced to pay is 5.9%
J March 31, 2012 at 09:26 PM
PS: Franklin Police start at just over $50,000 plus benefits. No one around here starts that low!
CB March 31, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Enough already. We all choose our profession. We are blessed with those whorotect us each day. The officers at the high school are needed and most if not all communities in se Wisconsin have them in the high schools. Sounds like some are jealous of people choosing to do what they are passionate about and earning a decent wage in doing so.
doc1954 March 31, 2012 at 11:10 PM
vocal local you say because of demigraffics we don't have the same crime rate as big cities?that oak creek kids don't need police at school because they are taught howek to act?Just the reverse.First we are a fast on and fast off community.Freeway entrances at both ends of city make us easy prey for criminals from the south and the north.Now we are getting even more quick access.We are a dumping ground for criminals and low lives from the major cities.Who can forget the dubbled homicide we had as a result of drug dealers going between Oak Creek and Milwaukee.And about the schools, even if your staement were true about how Oak Creek kids are taught,which is absurd,when is the last time you were at the schools to see just how many of the kids are home grown and how many are from other communites.And wait until its your house that got burglerized or your child being harrassed by someone and then see how glad you are that three officers respond.
ret850 April 01, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Vocal Local 1 is an extreme lefty who doesn't appreciate the services given. This is the same person who complains about traffic going by the house and expects strict enforcement by your police. Don't waste your time responding to "her".
vocal local 1 April 01, 2012 at 06:59 AM
OC police most definitely are not dealing daily with the same issues and situations Milw. and Racine police do and they are paid a lot more. The community is relatively safe as related to the character of its residents. I maintain we do not most often require the numbers of emergency response to 911 calls to maintain quality of service. I watched the response to a car abandoned off the boat launch in Bender. There were four fire vehicles, five or six OCPD, the sheriff's horse and trainer, a couple of parks workers, the sheriff's scuba divers and rubber raft, all standing around wasting time. No one entered the chest high water until the coast guard arrived. I'm all for calling for back up when needed. We have rapidly increasing numbers of persons financially strapped and stressed on mental health drugs and situations can get ugly quickly. I do not want to see any city employee threatened or injured. We have women officers that I'd rather see respond in a team situation. Still, I maintain they can respond more efficiently than in mass. At times I wonder how unprotected the rest of the city is with the large number of responders to a fender bender or elderly fall and so should you. As for police in the schools I don't know of any other community that has officers in the schools as we have. I’m in opposition to charging kids for a fight at school with battery or disorderly and creating a criminal juvenile record. Suspend or expel and let the parents deal with them.
doc1954 April 01, 2012 at 10:20 PM
If the parents were dealing with it , they wouldn't be fighting in school.Ask franklin how important cops in schools are.Why should women cops respond any differant them men cops.You have a problem with them too???Get your head out of the sand
Jim B. April 02, 2012 at 07:12 PM
I agree with William. And besides, when ever there is a shooting when has the last time you seen police storm the place guns blazing? they will set up a parameter outdoors and wait for the shooters to come out, just like they did Columbine.
Scott August 07, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Wow. Would the residents of oak creek repeat these things today? Police officers aren't special? We don't need a swat team? Suburban cops have it easy? Nice work at the temple, boys. We are all thankful for Lt. Murphy and every other officer who rushed to put their own life at risk on Sunday. Thank you all for keeping our community safe!

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