Tallahassee elected officials will consider approval of the collective bargaining agreement with the Big Bend Chapter of the Florida Police Benevolent Association, Inc. (PBA) at the next Tallahassee City Commission meeting on March 22.
The agenda item notes that the City of Tallahassee and the PBA have reached an agreement on contracts for the Police Officers and Investigators Bargaining Unit, and the Sergeants and Lieutenants Bargaining Unit within the parameters authorized by the City Commission.
However, City Commissioners Jeremy Matlow and Jack Porter have recently voiced concerns about drug testing provisions in the contract.
The new agreement contains drug testing language that has been at the center of a controversy related to the reinstatement of a police officer. The language gives the police chief discretion when an officer tests positive for a controlled substance. The language was also included in the previous agreement.
In addition, Matlow and Porter have amplified concerns voiced by City Attorney Cassandra Jackson and Treasurer Clerk Jim Cooke. Both officials indicated in emails that more time was required to provide an analysis of the amendments to the contract.
Matlow and Porter have asked that the vote scheduled for Wednesday be delayed.
In response, City spokeswoman Alison Faris stated that, the “City Commission provided guidance to the City’s negotiating team last month at an executive session held on February 22. With the negotiating teams having reached an agreement, the next steps in the process are for the union members to vote on Monday and if passed, the City Commission to ratify the agreement on Wednesday.”
Mayor John Dailey, in a press conference said, “I’m really excited where we are, and I expect it to be ratified.”
Richard Murphy, the President of the Big Bend Chapter of the Florida PBA, told TR that, “We are pleased with the process and to have reached an agreement that supports our local law enforcement officers. The next step in the process is for the union to complete its voting process today, and then we look forward to the City Commission ratifying the agreement on Wednesday.”
The agreement covers a period of three (3) years, commencing on October 1, 2023, to September 30, 2026.
The estimated three-year base cost for the wage component of the agreement is $6,139,996. In FY24, the estimated cost for the pension component of the agreements is $239,000.
The new contract would provide the following economic package:
-All bargaining unit members shall receive a salary increase in FY24.
-Officer and Investigator starting salary of $60,000.
-Step Progression annually for FY25 and FY26 for those that are eligible.
-Ave. increase of 4.2% FY25 and 3.9% FY26 for Officers and Investigators.
-Ave. increase of 4.4% FY25 and 4.3% FY26 for Sergeants.
-Ave. increase of 4.1% FY25 and 4.0% FY26 for Lieutenants.
-FY24-effective date of the increase is 10/1/2023.