Wednesday, November 24, 1999

Newport police union takes contract squabble public




BY TERRY FLYNN
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — Police officers, upset because they have worked without a contract since June 30, plan to take their complaints and their families to the city commission Monday.

        Officer Brian Henley, president of the Newport Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), will address the commission concern ing what officers think is a breakdown in negotiations on a new contract.

        “It is our intent to notify the city commissioners that the city administration has failed to negotiate in a fair and appropriate manner,” FOP Vice President Sgt. Jerry Roy said in a statement Tuesday. He said as many members of the department as possible would attend the Monday meeting, along with their families, friends and supporters.

        Commissioner Beth Fennell said Tuesday she was unaware that officers intended to turn out as a group for the meeting. “But I know they aren't happy about the way the negotiations have been going,” she said.

        “I couldn't agree that the negotiations have been unfair, but I knew we weren't at a meeting of the minds. It's not uncommon for whoever is unhappy in a contract negotiation to make a public appeal, and I guess this is theirs.”

        She said Mayor Thomas Guidugli and city commissioners had given City Manager Phil Ciafardini certain parameters within which to negotiate, so he can't make large concessions without bringing the issues back to the commission.

        “In the recent past, we've been pretty generous with our salary increases,” Ms. Fennell said.

        “In my opinion, this year we were looking at being a little tighter ... bringing in all the raises a little bit lower than in the past. I'm sure that doesn't go over too well with the po lice.”

        Sgt. Roy said the proposal on the table calls for a 2 percent salary increase.

        “We are the lowest-paid of any comparable agency in Northern Kentucky,” he said.

        The Newport Police Department, which has about 50 sworn officers, is considered one of the models for police work in Northern Kentucky and one of only five in the state with national accreditation.

        The only other Northern Kentucky department to obtain national accreditation is the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport police. Airport police have the highest salary scale in the area, according to a study by Newport officers.

       



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