OXFORD — A fact finders report was recently conducted on City of Oxford police department wages. It was discovered that the difference in pay between a sergeant and a patrol officer was over 18 percent. Wage increases were suggested for patrol officers, retroactive to January 2017 and ongoing through 2019.
The report was issued to the Oxford City Council during a meeting on Tuesday, July 18. Council voted to approve the recommendations of the fact finder.
During recent labor negotiations, the City of Oxford and the Oxford Patrol Officers F.O.P. Lodge 38 were unable to resolve all issues and as a result those issues were submitted to fact finding.
The report and recommendation was issued by Thomas J. Nowel on July 14, in the matter of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the City of Oxford and the Oxford Patrol Officers F.O.P. Lodge 38. A fact finding hearing took place on Thursday, June 22, and it was left to council to accept or reject the findings during a council meeting on July 18.
According to city staff, if they had chosen to reject the report, the next step would be binding arbitration.
City Manager Doug Elliot presented the report to the council for their decision.
“Basically, the outstanding issue that we had was wages. We had reached a tentative agreement on five other items, but the outstanding issue that we did not come to an agreement on was wages,” he said. “We went through mediation and fact finding, so I’m happy to report that you have before you tonight a fact finders report. Basically, the fact finder is recommending a four percent pay increase for 2017, retroactive to Jan. 1. A three percent increase for 2018 and a three percent increase for 2019.
“As you know, we recently presented to you a contract for the sergeants and lieutenants, their pay increase was four percent in 2017, two and a half for 2018, and two and a half for 2019. One of the issues related to the wage issues was the difference in pay between a sergeant and a patrol officer. As it states in the fact finder’s report the difference was over 18 percent. They would like to see that come down.
“The other thing that I would like to remind council about,” Elliot said, “was during the recession we had one year where the non-union were not given a pay raise and the other two unions accepted no pay increase, but we ended up going into binding arbitration with the sergeants and lieutenants. They received a two percent increase that year. This makes up some ground, but we’re hear before you tonight to ask you to accept the fact finder’s report.”
He further explained that if council accepted the report, staff would roll the pay increase into a contract with the five other previously agreed upon items and present it to council during the next meeting. All of the present council members voted to accept the fact finder’s report, meaning they will have the chance to vote on the contract at the next meeting, on Tuesday, Aug. 1, located at the Oxford Courthouse.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH