After voting for five days, the Columbus police officers have finally approved their new tentative union contract with the city.
The contract was approved by rank and file and won by a wide margin. Amongst the supervisors, the final votes were 237-4 for the contract. And amongst the officers it was approved ny 1006-46. The key points of the updated contract are a 14% raise in pay, more reviews/check-ins with the officers, increase in body camera look back, drug and alcohol testing of officers immediately after they fire their weapon, and holidays on Police Officer memorial Day and Juneteenth. In non-criminal investigations, police officers will now be obligated to answer any questions from the Office of the Inspector General. A source spoke out about these new changes and said that they have never seen anything like this implemented in the past 25 years.
Now the contract is waiting for the approval of city council and the mayor who are given 30 days to either accept or reject the updates. However, if neither party can come to a mutual agreement, they will go into mediation and enter a fact-finding phase. A third party will then come in and make new recommendations to resolve the issue. Following the final settlement, the conciliator will provide a binding mandate.
Columbus city will also be offering a buyout or “Retirement Incentive Plan.” 501 officers from patrol through commander level who have at least 25 years of experience will become eligible for the $200,000 buyout on top of their pension. This is projected to cost the city about $20 million. Here is what Columbus Police CHief Elaine Buyout had to say about the plan:
“The buyout doesn’t concern me. I am concerned anytime we are going to lose experienced personnel, but I am also hopeful that we are going to gain some extremely talented people in this division.”
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