Friday, January 18, 2013

Philly won’t appeal police arbitration award

Philly won’t appeal police arbitration award | Jan 18th 2013 9:05 PM

The Nutter administration announced Friday that it would not appeal an arbitration award to Philadelphia's police force, providing raises of 3 percent, retroactive to July 1, and an additional 4 percent next July 1.

The package is projected to cost $15.5 million this year and about $150 million over the next five years. The 3 percent retroactive raise will add about $1,800 to the average police officer salary of $61,000.

Despite the costs, the administration says its five-year contract with the Fraternal Order of Police provided significant structural improvements, the biggest a self-insurance plan for health benefits that will save taxpayers millions of dollars.

"It works for both ends," said FOP Lodge 5 president John McNesby, "both the city and the police officers."

Nutter has drawn heavy flak from the city's other unions - AFSCME District Councils 33 and 47, whose members have been working without raises or contracts since mid-2009, and Fire Fighters Local 22, which has twice won raises in arbitration proceedings, only to watch the city delay the pay boosts with court appeals.

The city contends that it cannot afford the firefighters' awards because there are no associated savings through new insurance or pension arrangements. The city's latest appeal is pending in Commonwealth Court.

"This is another slap in the face to us," said the firefighters' president, Bill Gault.

The president of D.C. 33, Pete Matthews, said he was not against the Police Department getting raises, but added: "The mayor should be fair to everybody. I've been saying he's a dictator. I guess dictators need police protection."

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