City council members unanimously approved one year contract extension with the police union during Tuesday's city council meeting. The deal includes a two percent increase for cost of living and a $400 signing bonus for officers. However, new to the contract, the chief will have sole discretion to put an employee on restricted duty if that employee is charged with a criminal offense.
Chief Steve Settingsgaard suggested the addition in light of recent misconduct. According to Settingsgaard, the provision gives him the option to place officers under restricted duty and not on leave while the court process is ongoing, depending on the circumstances.
"Rather than having somebody off of work, pending an hearing , a preliminary hearing and number of circumstances, I can still put them to work, in the meantime, if its appropriate, depending on the type of charge that's levied against them," he said. "What it would result in, we would get some work output during that interim period until some court situation is resolved. [It's] not likely, and maybe wouldn't happen, that they would work in street capacity or public contact, but we would give them work and responsibilities behind the scenes."
According to city manager Patrick Urich, the agreement also helps to focus on two other pending union talks with firefighters and AFSCME. Both of those contracts expire at the end of the year.