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Police get raise for 2010, wage freeze in 2011

The city of Austin and its police officers settled on a new contract Monday night that calls for 3 percent wage increases for cops this year, but a wage freeze in 2011.

The deal comes nearly four months after the last deal expired and is retroactive to Jan. 1. However, city administrator Jim Hurm said it’s not unusual for the city and a bargaining unit to go this route.

A recent — and dramatic example — was the negotiating process with the Austin Fire Department. Before settling last fall, the two sides had been without a deal since the end of 2007.

Hurm said before the police officer deal was struck that negotiations were “routine,” and he did not compare the process to the one with the fire department.

In addition to the wage increase in 2010 and wage freeze in 2011 — which is part of a city-wide initiative to brace for possible Local Government Aid cuts from the state — the new officer contract involves subtle changes to holiday time provisions and training requirements.

With the agreement, the city now has all of its bargaining units under contract. Higher-ranking officials at the police department — sergeants, lieutenants and detectives — are covered by a different contract, which is up at the end of 2011.

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