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State arbitrator awards higher pay to St. Paul police

Posted by: Nicole Norfleet under Public records, Public safety Updated: July 9, 2014 - 6:06 PM

A state arbitrator has awarded the St. Paul Police Federation higher wage adjustments for their 2013-2015 contract than what the City of St. Paul initially offered. Despite the slight bump, union officials believe that the department will remain among the lower paid police departments in the Twin Cities.

Since last year, the St. Paul Police Federation and the city had been at odds over pay, which led to the arbitration hearing. The union said late last year that St. Paul police ranked 22nd out of 27 metro departments in average annual salary based on 30-year career comparisons. It also said that the pay put the St. Paul Police Department at a competitive disadvantage to hire and retain officers. The city meanwhile, argued that the union’s numbers were flawed and that the department had been adequately funded.

Arbitrator Jay C. Fogelberg awarded the following wage adjustments:

2013 - Retroactive to 4/1/13 - 1 percent rate increase; Retroactive to 10/1/13 - 0.5 percent increase

2014 – Retroactive to 4/1/2014 - 2 percent increase

2015 – Effective 4/1/15 - 2.75 percent increase

The city initially offered the union a 5.5 increase over a three-year contract (2 percent in the final year), which is equal to what was accepted by the other unions in the city, including Firefighters Local 21. The police union wanted a 10.7 percent increase over the three years. With the new adjustments, the city's police department will rank 19th in the metro in terms of pay, unions officials said.

"We’re considering this a minor victory with a long way to go," Dave Titus, federation president, said.

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