By an 8-1 vote, this afternoon the City Council approved the tentative labor agreement reached with SPOG, the police officers’ union.
After a last-minute rush by both sides to line up endorsements, and an hour of public comment this afternoon, in the end Council member Sawant was the only “no” vote. None of the other eight seemed particularly happy about approving the contract since it doesn’t go as far as last year’s police accountability ordinance in enacting reforms, but they seemed bought into the idea that they were unlikely to get everything they wanted through collective bargaining. Several Council members also expressed a desire to get the contract in front of Judge Robart as soon as possible for his review, and to continue negotiating for more in both the “reopener” topics listed in the contract and in future contracts. Council members O’Brien and Herbold appeared to have the most heartache with the limited choices in front of them.
The Council also passed a companion resolution, to be submitted with the contract and the 2017 police accountability ordinance to Judge Robart, That resolution asks Robart to specifically review particular issues raised by the CPC and community members, including the standard of review for disciplinary action, the implementation of the 180-day time limit for investigations, and narrowing of subpoena powers for the OPA and Inspector General.
Also, Council member Herbold introduced a clerk file which includes the other contracts and MOUs between the city and SPOG that are incorporated by reference in the new contract, so that the whole set of relevant documents can be viewed by the public.
After the Mayor signs the legislation approving the contract, expect the city to submit it to Judge Robart in the coming weeks for his review and approval, as per his instructions.