North Las Vegas reaches deal with police union, saving 11 jobs

The North Las Vegas City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a concessions agreement with the city's police union that will save the jobs of 11 police officers.

The agreement includes the suspension of cost-of-living raises for fiscal 2011-12. The 4.25 percent raise will not be deferred or made up in future years.

"It was a difficult process but a very rewarding one, too," said Mayor Shari Buck, adding that she appreciated the union-city partnership that saved jobs while also saving the cash-strapped city money.

The value of the concessions over the next 18 months is about $3.8 million.

The agreement also includes lowering the starting salary for new hires by 10 percent and freezing holiday and sick leave sell-back this year.

In exchange, the city agrees to not lay off police union members for the next 18 months. If more concessions are needed during that time, the union agrees to come back for more talks.

Those officers could otherwise have been laid off beginning this month.

The city also agrees not to privatize the city's detention center through June 30, 2014. Union members also will receive 40 hours of additional leave time in fiscal 2011.

The city's Police Officers Association represents 360 police officers, corrections officers and marshals. It is the second of the city's unions to come to an agreement in the latest round of concessions aimed at saving money and avoiding more layoffs as the city continues to struggle with the effects of the economic slump. The City Council in November approved contract concessions with the city's largest union, Teamsters Local 14, that saved 144 jobs.

The North Las Vegas firefighters union is still in concession talks with the city. If an agreement is not reached, 33 firefighters could lose their jobs this year.

The city, which is dealing with a $35 million shortfall through fiscal 2011, laid off 188 workers in June. An additional 44 -- all North Las Vegas Detention Center workers -- were let go in October after the detention center lost about a third of its inmates to a facility for federal inmates in Pahrump.