The Henderson City Council approved a two-year contract extension Tuesday for the police union, the last of five employee groups to make concessions and help reduce the city’s deficit.
"The fact that they were last was nothing more than a coincidence of timing," said Fred Horvath, Henderson’s human resources director.
City officials had asked all employee groups to take at least 2 percent less each year for two years. All the groups agreed to do that, although they did so in different ways. "We ultimately had a pretty big mix of solutions," Horvath said.
The police union’s contract extension will result in a net reduction of 2 percent, saving about $1.2 million over two years.
"Everybody is trying to work to solve the problem together, and that’s a huge contribution from the Henderson Police Officers’ Association," City Manager Jacob Snow said.
The City Council voted Tuesday to extend the union’s collective bargaining agreement through June 30, 2014.
Henderson has about 340 police and corrections officers. They receive an average annual salary of nearly $78,000.
Under the new agreement, officers will receive no increase in base wages for two years. The union also agreed to a permanent requirement to bank all holidays that fall on a normal day off for future time off with pay.
In exchange for that permanent change, Horvath offered to make Christmas Eve a full-day holiday for officers, rather than a half-day holiday. Christmas Eve is a full-day holiday for all other city employees, except police supervisors.
Horvath praised the union’s leaders for persuading members to go along with the concessions, saying, "We really appreciate their willingness to work with us."
In May, the City Council approved a $480 million budget for fiscal 2013, nearly 4 percent less than the previous year’s budget. Officials said then they would seek concessions from all employee groups to reduce a $13.5 million deficit.
Officials boast that Henderson has fared better than other local entities because it quickly addressed the economic downturn, which caused unprecedented declines in sales and property taxes, and because it has fostered strong relationships with its employee groups.
Henderson has about 1,800 full-time employees. Snow said concessions by the Teamsters, the firefighters, the police supervisors and police officers unions and nonrepresented employees will significantly reduce the city’s deficit. However, "there’s still a 6½ million-dollar deficit for next fiscal year that we’ve got to deal with."
Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-384-8710.