It took nine months, but the City of Port St. Lucie and its police officers union finally came to an agreement on a three-year contract that should spell better working conditions and climate for the officers.
The officers, represented by the International Union of Police Associations, had been working without a contract since Sept. 30, 2018, despite contract discussions and negotiations that started back in March.
By mid-December, both sides had struck an accord and the union ratified the proposed agreement on Jan. 23. On Monday, the Port St. Lucie City Council approved the contract with little discussion and no debate.
Under the terms of the new three-year agreement, officers will receive more competitive starting rates as well as scheduled pay increases and clarification to off-duty details. “There were a lot of things that were given, I feel, to the officers” in this agreement, Councilman John Carvelli said, adding, “I appreciate the chief is going to spend time on work conditions.”
Carvelli said that, for employees, it ultimately comes down to work conditions, atmosphere, climate and culture.
Under the terms of the new contract, the police chief is expected to meet quarterly with a representative of the union association to discuss employee relations as well as explore ideas for further improving the department. Chief John Bolduc did not address the proposed contract during the City Council’s presentation.