Springfield Approves Police Union Contract
Springfield City Council has approved a three-year contract agreement with a Springfield police union that includes pay raises.
But one alderman is crying foul. Alderman Joe McMenamin voted against the contract agreement. His main reason was the city’s growing unfunded pension liability. He even spelled out the issue with notecards at Tuesday night’s meeting.
But Mayor Mike Houston points out there are long-term savings. Within the contract, there’s a reduction in sick time payouts, and a 5 percent pay spike has been eliminated.
Instead, a longevity payment increase will be given for employees with 20 years of experience.
Three pay raises will be given, including a 3 percent raise the first year.
Right now, the city’s unfunded police and fire pension liability is $200 million.
“If you look at those funds, they also have a little bit over $200 million in cash,” Houston said. “These are dollars that are going to be paid out over a long-term basis, so it’s nothing that’s critical at this particular time. What we’re trying to do is approach this on a long-term basis.”
By law, they have to meet certain guidelines to meet requirements. The city will extend a property tax levy in place. This money will continue to go towards pension costs.
Property taxes will not go up in Springfield with this agreement. Aldermen will discuss it further in the coming weeks.
In other council news, the process of developing an affirmative action plan for city employees is starting. Aldermen have approved a timeline. The goal is to have a draft in place by the end of April. It will consider recruitment, evaluations, promotions, and dismissals of city employees.