The Seattle Police Officers’ Guild, made up of officers and sergeants, will begin voting on the contract by mail at the end of this month, with results in July, according to the union’s president.
The Seattle Police Officers’ Guild has reached a tentative agreement with the city on a four-year contract that will go before the 1,275-member union for a vote, Guild President Ron Smith said Wednesday.
Mayor Ed Murray added his own announcement later in the day, saying in a written statement he was pleased with the outcome while withholding further comment pending the guild’s ratification process.
Guild members, made up officers and sergeants, will begin voting by mail at the end of this month with results expected in July, Smith said.
The agreement was reached late last month and the guild’s 14-member board voted June 6 to send the contract to the membership for a ratification vote, Smith said.
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Its last four-year contract expired at the end of 2014, with the terms still applying as the two sides privately negotiated a new contract.
Smith, a detective, said he couldn’t discuss terms of the tentative contract, which would run through 2018.
But, speaking in general terms, one source familiar with the talks said the contract contains pay raises and accountability measures.
Murray’s statement included vaguely worded language that the tentative agreement includes “a wage and benefit package, contract language changes that will increase operational efficiency and effectiveness, and improvements to the investigation and discipline review process that will ensure transparency, accountability and fairness to officers.”
The contract has been viewed as a key opportunity for the city to alter disciplinary and appeal rules for officers and give Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole more management authority.
The contract would begin, retroactively, on Jan. 1, 2015, and expire on Dec. 31, 2018. Along with ratification by the Guild membership, the terms then would be subject to approval by the City Council.
“I am very pleased that the City and the Guild have reached a tentative agreement,” Murray said in the statement. “I believe this is a good settlement for all parties. It is the result of very hard work and constructive engagement by both the City and the Guild. To be respectful of the Guild ratification process, the City won’t comment on the settlement publicly.”
Details on the tentative agreement will be provided at a later date, the statement said.
Negotiators reached a tentative deal late last year, but it was rejected by the guild’s board in December for reasons that weren’t disclosed.
Police-accountability measures have been pushed by the Community Police Commission, a 15-member civilian body created as part of a 2012 consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department requiring the city to adopt reforms to address excessive force and biased policing.
As part of the consent decree, the city has adopted sweeping reforms, including new use-of-force and anti-bias policies and additional training.
The contract talks have been seen as a way to augment those reforms with modifications to the Police Department’s accountability systems.
Other accountability proposals that potentially could go before the City Council are now the subject of discussion before U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle, who is presiding over the consent decree.