Arbitrator makes decisions on Danville police contract issues

DANVILLE — Following an arbitrator's decision, the city could have a new contract with police sergeants and commanders more than two years after the last one expired.

Earlier this week, city officials received the decision of the arbitrator, who got the case in May, according to Danville Corporation Counsel David Wesner. The issues that went to arbitration included wages, health insurance premium contributions and terms of health insurance.

The arbitrator's decision grants wage increases of 2 percent each in the first year and second year and 2.5 percent in the third year. Wesner said a final contract incorporating the arbitrator's decision will now be written and must be approved by both sides. It would be retroactive to May 1, 2011, and expire April 30, 2014. There are three Danville police commanders and six sergeants, who are represented by the Police Command Officers Association.

Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said the arbitrator's decision keeps the commanders' and sergeants' contributions toward their health insurance premiums at a flat fee rather than switching to a percentage like the city has done with other employees, including both salaried personnel and those represented by other collective bargaining agreements.

Police commanders, sergeants and the other 51 police department employees who are represented under a separate, police patrol contract with Danville Policemen's Benevolent and Protective Association Unit 11 have health insurance plans that are separate from the health insurance plans of all other city employees. And the arbitrator decided that the command officers will now be on the same plan as the rest of the city employees, which was the desire of city administration.

The city will now turn its attention to negotiations with the 51 patrol officers, whose previous contract expired April 30, 2012. Wesner said a hearing has been scheduled in the next couple weeks that would take that contract to arbitration.

Earlier this month, the city council approved a new contract with Danville firefighters that represents both command officers and firefighters in that department. That three-year contract also took more than two years to resolve and is retroactive to May 1, 2011, and will end April 30, 2014.

The agreement between the city and the International Association of Firefighters Local 429, which represents 51 in the fire department, grants a 2 percent increase the first year, 2 percent the second and 2.5 percent the third. The beginning salary of a firefighter was reduced from 75 percent of base pay to 70 percent. And insurance costs will increase with an individual's contribution increasing from zero per month to $35 in the first year of the contract and to $50 a month in the second year.

Monthly costs for employees with one or more dependents will increase $15 a month in the first year and other $15 per month in the second year. In the third year of the contract, all members will pay 11 percent of their monthly health insurance costs. In addition, longevity steps were reduced from six to three, and the residency requirement remains the same. Firefighters must live within 5 miles of the city limits.

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