The wage scales of Minneapolis police officers would increase 15 percent over five years while their chief would have more leeway to manage problem cops under a contract deal that cleared a City Council committee Monday.
The collective bargaining agreement between city management and the union representing Minneapolis' roughly 860 police officers comes more than two years after the previous contract expired.
The Council Ways and Means Committee signed off on the proposal, which includes a retroactive pay raise for the two years that officers worked without a contract. The pay bump will keep compensation among the top third of 27 comparable police departments, officials said.
"I'm just relieved that we have a contract, a contract that moves us into the future," Council Member Blong Yang, chairman of the public safety committee, said after the meeting.
The proposed contract still needs full council approval, which could come as early as Friday. Union officials were unavailable for comment Monday.
Union members ratified the contract last month, according to Tim Giles, the city's chief labor negotiator. Under the deal, the pay schedule will increase by 15.46 percent over a five-year period, retroactive to 2015, he said.
The city's officers will make more than their counterparts in St. Paul, but their average salaries still lag behind such places as Bloomington, Edina and Eden Prairie, Giles said.
The agreement grants Chief Janeé Harteau broad authority to reassign officers with repeat complaints and to extend administrative leaves during investigations into misconduct.
"It breaks down the opportunities to have enclaves of police conduct and kind of avails it more to a citywide culture of police conduct," Giles said of that provision.
That caught the eye of Council Member Cam Gordon, who sits on the Executive Committee, which considered the agreement in a closed-door meeting last week.
"I think she's looking at ways to develop good officers, and strengthen them, and put them into more positions to do good," he said, referring to Harteau.
The chief and Mayor Betsy Hodges have in the past argued for altering the police contract to address misconduct.
Negotiators agreed to set up a task force to explore best practices for treating officers involved in traumatic events "to help recognize and address PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] or other issues that could impact an employee's well-being and job performance," according to a summary provided to council members.
Police officials declined to comment Monday.
The informal handshake brought to an end months of back-and-forth negotiations between the city and the union.