COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia has reached tentative agreements with the Columbia Police Officer's Association (CPOA) and the Professional Fire Fighters of Eastern Missouri (FFEM) over new labor contracts.
The CPOA and FFEM are labor unions representing Columbia's police and fire departments respectively.
The unions made negotiations with the city attorney that were reportedly back and forth.
CPOA Executive Director Dale Roberts released a statement saying he was happy with many of the negotiation's outcomes.
“In most negotiated contracts, nobody gets everything they want, but everybody gets something they want. True to form, we didn’t get everything we want, but we got some of the things we wanted. The city didn’t get everything they wanted, but they got some of the things that they wanted,” Roberts said.
The new contracts feature several changes in store for the Columbia Police Department.
- A new policy prohibits officers from releasing any information to the media on officer-related shootings without the permission of the police chief.
- A new protocol spells out the types of investigations that will follow an officer-related shooting.
- The police department will take end of year money to buy each Columbia police officer a new pair of boots.
- An agreement that the City of Columbia and the CPOA will hold annual meetings on salary negotiations.
The most significant aspect of the fire department's new labor contracts is not something to be added, but something that will not.
Many thought these negotiations would result in an announcement of more firefighters getting added to the department's staff.
The contract does not lay out plans for more hirings, but Assistant Fire Chief Brad Frazier said this does not mean that ship has sailed.
"We weren't banking on this as the only way we could get more fighters, it was just one possibility on getting it done. We can continue to communicate with the city council on making the changes we think need to be made," Frazier said.
Frazier said he does not need any more fighters at the nine existing stations in Columbia, but the department would need new employees at the three additional stations he would like to see built.
The Columbia City Council will vote on the new labor contracts for both the police and fire departments during a meeting on September 18.
If approved, the contracts will stay in effect through September of 2020.