Minneapolis police officers will receive pay raises of roughly 3 percent through 2019 after the City Council signed off on a new contract settlement Friday, which also includes back pay for the more than two years spent negotiating the deal.
Council members voted unanimously and without discussion on the settlement with the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, which represents the city's roughly 870 rank-and-file officers. It will retroactively cover the period starting on Jan. 1, 2015, after the previous contract expired.
The pay bump will keep compensation among the top third of 26 comparable police departments, officials said, but officers will still make less than their counterparts in cities like Bloomington and Eden Prairie.
Under the agreement, the pay schedule will increase by 15.46 percent over a five-year period, retroactive to 2015.
The new contract also grants Chief Janeé Harteau greater authority to reassign officers based on "performance" issues and to extend administrative leaves during investigations into misconduct.
"Police accountability, officer safety and well-being, and opportunities for growth and development remain at the forefront of the work we are doing to transform the Minneapolis Police Department into a 21st-century department," said Mayor Betsy Hodges in a statement.
"I am pleased that this contract increases police accountability while also caring for the safety and well-being of our police officers who work hard every day to make sure that everyone in Minneapolis feels safe and is safe."
Hodges has voiced her support for altering the police contract to address officer misconduct.
Harteau on Friday defended the pay raises, saying that it would help the city better recruit and retain officers.
"This contract, the result of months of hard work and good-faith negotiating, will give us greater staffing flexibility and allow us to manage our resources more effectively and efficiently," she said in a brief statement. "It provides our officers more opportunities for professional growth and development."
She declined to answer specific questions about the contract.
Part of the contract includes the creation of a task force to explore best practices for treating officers involved in traumatic events who develop post-traumatic stress disorder or other conditions.
City Council Member Blong Yang, who heads the Public Safety Committee, declined to comment because he hadn't yet seen the contract.
The agreement, details of which have not yet been made public, brings to an end months of back-and-forth negotiations between Minneapolis and the union.
Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the police union, said the negotiations bore little resemblance to the contentious contract talks of years past.
"Sure, the chief and I would both like us to have the highest-paid agency in the entire state, but it's not going to happen in my lifetime," he said.
Much of the delays were due to scheduling conflicts rather than any major sticking points, he said, adding that the new contract simplifies rules for picking job assignments and scheduling time off.
"We didn't talk wages until the final three months of negotiations," he said.