DANVILLE – City officials approved a three-year contract with police officers Tuesday that includes a one-year wage freeze.
The vote followed months of meetings between representatives of both the Danville City Council and the Danville Policemen's Benevolent and Protective Association No. 11, including one with an arbitrator.
Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said the contract includes a wage freeze the first year and a 3.5 percent raise for the second and third years. In addition, there were changes to some of the health insurance plans offered, but the residency requirement – that all officers live within 5 miles of the city – remained unchanged.
"It is a fair agreement," Eisenhauer said.
The union members are expected to approve the agreement as well in the near future, Eisenhauer added.
About 80 percent of the city's 260 employees belong to one of seven unions. In the 2006-07 fiscal year, contracts with five unions were up for renewal.
City officials inked new deals with the unions representing clerical workers, mass transit workers and firefighters. The city is still negotiating with the fire command employees union, Eisenhauer said.
All the new contracts include a one-year wage freeze for employees to help cut down on costs. Eisenhauer has said that if all city employees took a one-year wage freeze, the city could save a projected $500,000.
In other business, council members voted to hire a third code-enforcement officer.
Currently, there are two officers and a supervisor working in the city's Neighborhood Services department. The new inspector, who will have a base salary of about $23,000, will conduct a variety of code inspections, but will specialize in rental-property inspections.
Eisenhauer said it was important to hire and train the inspector before the busy season in the spring.
"The work we have now is more than our two current inspectors can handle," he said.
Terry Moreman spoke out against the new position.
Moreman said he owned a number of properties in Danville, and said that tenants with problems should call their landlords instead of city inspectors.
"This is my profession," Moreman said. "I try my very best to take care of those buildings."
Alderman Ron Candido, who voted against the new position, said the city should increase the fines for those who violate city codes so that there would be fewer violations to investigate.
Alderman Keith Souza, who also voted against the position, said the new inspector's salary could have been put toward hiring an additional police officer.
Alderman Rick Strebing said he owns rental property in the city, and that he supported the hiring of an additional inspector.