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County jail lieutenants make contract concessions

Union members give up raises, overtime pay

Spokane County jail lieutenants have agreed to contract concessions wiping out their cost-of-living raises, overtime and comp time in 2010.

The agreement with the county, which comes as most departments prepare 2010 budgets 11 percent smaller than those at the end of last year, will reduce spending by about $57,000.

“It wasn’t a hard sell at all,” Lt. Jay Hughes, the head of the seven-member bargaining unit, said Wednesday. “We all knew the budget was suffering.”

Under their existing contract, members of Local 492CL were scheduled for a 1 percent cost-of-living raise Jan. 1 and another 1 percent on July 1. They also are entitled to overtime or compensatory time when working more than 40 hours a week. Under the agreement, proposed by the unit members, they will remain at this year’s pay and work without overtime or comp time, as if they were salaried. In return, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich guaranteed that none will be demoted to close the budget gap.

Jail lieutenants, who work at the Spokane County Jail and Geiger Corrections Center, earn between $64,990 and $87,695 a year. Their three-year contract, which ends Dec. 31, 2010, had a 1 percent cost-of-living increase in 2008, plus 1 percent increases this year on Jan. 1 and July 1.

Other bargaining units are making their own proposals as county officials seek concessions.

At a meeting Tuesday night to discuss projected cuts in the sheriff’s, prosecutor’s and other criminal justice departments, county Board Chairman Todd Mielke said law enforcement would not be spared. He also made clear county officials were looking at rollbacks of raises the county agreed to in contracts it signed two years ago.

“All of us have neighbors, family and friends who are not getting salary increases, but seeing salary cuts and layoffs,” Mielke said.

“It’s not really about if we make these cuts, it’s about how we make these cuts.”

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