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Rocky says he'd meet with mediator on police

Mayor Rocky Anderson says he's willing to meet with a mediator to resolve his differences with the Salt Lake City Police Association on one condition — union president David Greer isn't there.

Anderson declared an impasse in contract negotiations Friday, after he said Greer threatened a police strike during the 2002 Winter Games.

"We want to work with police leadership," mayor's spokesman Joshua Ewing said. "We want to get police leadership involved, but not with Mr. Greer."

If the union rejects the mediation proposal offered Tuesday, or if mediation does not result in an agreement by April 20, Anderson said he will come up with his own compensation package and present it to the City Council on May 1.

The city has offered a three-year contract with increases of 2.5 percent a year for the first two years and a 2 percent increase for the third year.

Union representatives say that's not enough and are asking for an 8.1 percent pay increase a year for the next two years.

Ewing said the city is hoping to bring in a group of federal mediators to sort out the differences between the city and police union.

According to Anderson, Salt Lake officers are already some of the highest paid in the state, making an average of almost $5,500 more a year than officers in other agencies.

While Anderson has gone to the press with his side of the story over the past few days, Greer and union members have remained quiet on the subject.

Greer and some members of the union's negotiating team were in San Antonio and unavailable for comment Monday and Tuesday. Messages left with other members of the union's negotiating team over the past few days were not returned.

Police leadership, including Chief Rick Dinse, isn't commenting on the issue. Captains and lieutenants are restricted from joining the police union.

Technically, Anderson is not required to negotiate with the union on compensation issues.

Anderson and Greer were supposed to meet Friday afternoon to discuss an issue unrelated to the negotiations — off-duty patrol car use. But Greer insisted on talking about the negotiations, Anderson said, which would be against policy.

Upset that the mayor would not discuss contract negotiations, Greer used abusive language and threatened to strike during the Olympics before storming out of the meeting, Anderson said.

Shortly after Friday's meeting, Greer left a voice mail message with Frank Fraser, Salt Lake labor relations manager, saying he could "take the contract and shove it."

Greer's message also told Fraser he could "expect the picket line" and told the mayor to "drop dead," according to Anderson.

City ordinance prohibits city employees from striking or threatening to strike. Police internal affairs could investigate Greer's actions, but to date that hasn't been done.


E-mail: djensen@desnews.com