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S.L. POLICE OFFICERS VOTE 105-5 TO OK NEW CONTRACT OFFER

SHARE S.L. POLICE OFFICERS VOTE 105-5 TO OK NEW CONTRACT OFFER

Salt Lake police officers' paychecks will be a little fatter starting next month.

A long-sought contract between the police union and the city is set for signing Thursday by Mayor Palmer DePaulis and Salt Lake City Police Association President Dave Greer.Officers, by a 105-5 vote, approved a two-year contract that features pay increases and a restructured wage scale, Greer said. Two hundred officers were eligible to vote in the election that ended at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

"What that (figure) tells me is that a lot of the guys took it as a given" union members would OK the proposal, Greer said, adding that many officers were out of town on summer vacations.

Officers will receive 8 to 25 percent pay raises with the restructuring. Beginning patrolmen, for example, will get a 25 percent increase while officers at the top of the pay scale receive up to an 8 percent raise.

Police officers have gone without pay raises for four years and without merit increases since 1987.

"The paperwork delay means the raise won't hit the paychecks until the second pay period" in July, Greer said.

Officers, starting next April, can opt to have the city pick up pension payments under the agreement. The Utah Legislature in its last general session allowed cities to pick up employees' payments for the pension fund.

Also resolved during contract negotiations was a lawsuit filed by 11 officers who said the city's wage scale shorted them and sought a pay scale restructuring and back pay.

"Not only is the contract in itself good, but the contract goes back and repairs damages done in 1986" when the department restructured the pay scale, Greer said.

The 11 officers agreed to forgo back pay if the pay scale was restructured.

The city and the union representing clerical and blue-collar workers have agreed to a one-year contract that calls for a 3 percent cost-of-living increase and up to 2.75 percent in merit increases.

Salt Lake firefighters have not yet voted on the one-year contract that includes cost-of-living and merit increases similar to the package covering clerical workers.

"I am relatively confident it (the contract) meets the criteria that the membership has expressed," firefighters union President Charlie Quick said. But Quick did not venture a firm opinion on the package's passage.