Huntington City Council Approves FOP Contract Following Finance Committee Recommendation

Updated 2 years ago by Tony E. Rutherford, News Editor
Huntington City Council Approves FOP Contract Following Finance Committee Recommendation

A unanimous Huntington City Council has voted to approve  the new FOP contract following a unanimous recommendation from the administration and finance committee.

Chris Slaughter, the city's labor counsel from Steptoe & Johnson, explained highlights which include 2% pay raises for officers in each year of the contract.

Among the changes are increasing compensatory time from 80 to 120 hours, granting officers with 20 years of service 30 days vacation annually, and allowing officers who do not use up to 120 hours annually of their vacation to "cash it out" at their option.

For retirees , the city will contribute an additional $1,300 to the supplemental fund to assist those in need of paying for their health care expenses.

A minimum staffing level of 98 is included which the city is free to exceed. Upon questioning, Capt. Hank Dial explained that a dip due to , for instance, a retirement or resignation would not have any consequence (or breach). The clause is to prevent , in his words, the city from unilaterally stepping up and stating "we are reducing staffing to 85."

Dial noted that the department is currently authorized for 103 officers.

City Manager Cathy Burns indicated the new contract will cost the city $247,000 annually. For the current year, the budget authorized 103 officers and due to the current level of 98, the city has about $200,000 in the general fund budget for salaries that have accumulated.

Approval of the contract is contingent on FOP Lodge 65 dropping its lawsuit.The fire fighters union has dropped their complaint. However, a retired fire fighter's suit is still in litigation.

Slaughter explained that should that complaint result in court ordered changes, then, the contract would be revisited to bring it into compliance.

"If litigation between the city and the retired fire fighter results in change in the city's health plan, a contract provision requires the city to return to the table," Slaughter said.

The FOP suit is unrelated to the complaint filed for wrongful dismissal by a retired lieutenant stemming from the January layoffs by Mayor Williams to make up an unexpected five million dollar deficit.

The full council will vote tonight on a resolution to approve the FOP contract.


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