Police supervisors union, North Las Vegas reach tentative deal

A tentative concessions agreement between North Las Vegas and the police supervisors union will save the city nearly $3.9 million over the next four years and moves the city one step closer to saving its recreation centers.

After weeks of court-ordered talks, the two parties on Monday reached a verbal agreement that includes eliminating union members' cost-of-living raises through January 2014.

The two sides decided not to discuss details until a written version had been signed.

That was done Tuesday evening.

"What really motivated us was the possibility of the rec centers closing and the possibility of more layoffs," said Sgt. Leonard Cardinale, president of the 57-member Police Supervisors Association. "Everybody has to help out during these difficult financial times."

Among other concessions, the union agreed to give up its 4.25 percent cost-of-living raise that began July 1 and a 2.5 percent raise scheduled for January.

The agreement still must be ratified by union members and the City Council.

The loss of this year's 4.25 percent raise would not be retroactive, but will go into effect as soon as the agreement is ratified, Cardinale said.

Net savings during fiscal 2012 will be $378,000, according to city officials. They have said the city needs to come up with about $1.5 million to save two city-run recreation centers targeted for closure in October to help the city bridge a $4.4 million shortfall in its 2012 budget.

Because city officials had been unable to reach concession agreements with its two police unions, the City Council last week approved cuts that included 21 layoffs and closing rec centers to balance its fiscal 2012 budget.

Scores of senior citizens and other residents packed recent council meetings to protest the closures, some of them blaming the unions for not offering more concessions sooner.

City Council members promised to do all they could do keep the centers open.

"We're not there yet, but this (agreement) gets us closer," said Juliet Casey, a city spokeswoman.

The city has yet to reach an agreement with the 360-member Police Officers Association.

Mayor Shari Buck has said she is confident that agreement will come soon and that the centers will remain open.

The police supervisors union represents sergeants and lieutenants. They average $147,700 a year in salary, plus $72,600 in benefits.

In exchange for the concessions, North Las Vegas officials agreed in part to pay union members who have been with the city at least 10 years 100 percent of their accrued sick leave upon their departure from the city.

The city previously paid 60 percent, Cardinale said.

Union members will receive 40 hours of additional annual leave which they must use within a year.

The city also agreed to not privatize the city jail through at least June 30, 2015. And the city will rescind the recent demotions of two corrections lieutenants and two sergeants, Cardinale said.

The union will vote on the agreement this week.

The City Council will consider the matter during a special Monday meeting.

The two parties appeared earlier this month before a district judge for a union request for a preliminary injunction to freeze cuts to police supervisors' pay and benefits.

The judge instead ordered them to meet for talks in hopes they could agree on concessions to help the city trim its budget shortfall.

"I think the judge's order was really effective," said Richard Dreitzer, an attorney who represented the city in the matter.

"It got us together and kept us talking."

Contact reporter Lynnette Curtis at lcurtis@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0285.