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With Guild contract resolved, Spokane police lieutenants, captains win raises

UPDATED: Mon., May 3, 2021

Spokane City Hall.  (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Spokane City Hall. (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

The Spokane City Council easily approved a new five-year labor agreement with the top brass of the city’s police department on Monday.

The contract with the Lieutenants & Captains Association is retroactive to 2017 and calls for an average annual increase of 2.9% in wages and benefits. In total, the long overdue agreement will cost the city about $1 million.

The contract follows that of the Spokane Police Guild, but it did not carry the same weight and controversy as the Guild’s.

The Guild’s contract, which had also expired at the end of 2016, was resolved earlier this year. It set a new precedent for police oversight standards and included average annual raises in total compensation of 3.5%.

The Guild represents Spokane police sergeants, corporals, detectives and officers.

Negotiations with the Guild had stalled for years as the union and city struggled to agree on standards for police oversight. A contract proposal in 2020 was unanimously shot down by members of the Spokane City Council who argued the agreement failed to meet the police accountability standards embedded in the City Charter.

In March, the Guild and city leaders introduced a new deal that satisfied the City Council. It received unanimous approval.

With the Guild contract behind it, city officials set sights on wrapping up negotiations with the Lieutenants & Captains Association, which had been on pause while the Guild pursued its deal.

City representatives met twice with Lieutenants and Captains Association leaders following ratification of the Guild agreement in March.

The Lieutenants & Captains Association accepted the same annual raises in wages as the Spokane Police Guild – 2.25% in 2017, 3% in 2018 through 2020, and 2.5% in 2021.

The new language regarding police oversight matches what was inserted into the Guild’s contract.

“They have adopted the exact same article that the Guild has previously agreed to,” Meghann Steinolfson, the city’s labor relations manager, explained to the council.

The Lieutenants and Captains Association’s contract carries a price tag of $1 million, mostly in retroactive pay increases. The cost of raises for 2021 is already included in this year’s city budget.

The council unanimously approved a special budget ordinance Monday to pay for the retroactive raises out of city reserves.

As with the Guild contract, the Lieutenants and Captains Association’s agreement expires at the end of 2021 and affords leaders little time before they begin negotiations on a future.

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