Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Nutter Responds to Police Award

Mayor Nutter this afternoon said the police arbitration award would help the city conquer some long term financial problems, but noted that paying for raises will be tough.

Nutter Responds to Police Award

Mayor Nutter this afternoon said the police arbitration award would help the city conquer some long term financial problems, but noted that paying for raises will be tough.

“There is no question that the economics of the award absolutely presents a fiscal challenge in an already fiscally challenged environment,” Nutter said.

Nutter put the price of the 7 percent raise, which officers will receive over the next three years, at $114 million. He said that number will be somewhat offset by savings in pension and health care costs, but said the contract will cost the city more than it saves.

On health care the union will go to a self-insured plan next summer, meaning the city will pay the medical bills instead of a per-member cost each month. Union members won't pay a payroll deduction for benefits, but will pay increased co-pays for prescription drugs and doctor visits. And on retirement, new hires will either have to pay more to enter the traditional pension plan or opt for a hybrid plan that will include a lower benefit traditional pension and a 401k plan.

Nutter said both those changes are huge, given how the city’s benefit costs have ballooned in recent years.

“The short term pain is offset by the long term gain,” Nutter said.

Nutter also said he was unhappy with provisions that will make it easier for officers to move outside the city, but said the city solicitor had advised him that the issue could not be appealed.

“I believe there is an immense value to having police officers live in the city in which they work,” Nutter said. “I’m not pleased with this particular change.”

The big question now is how this award will influence the remaining three unresolved contracts for firefighters, blue collar and white collar city workers. Nutter said he hopes to see some similar changes to the contracts for those workers.
 

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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