The Nutter administration on Friday announced it will not appeal a recent arbitration award that will give police officers pay raises.
Cops will get 3 percent raises this year and next year, plus an overall 1 percent increase in "stress pay," which is given to workers in dangerous jobs.
Appealing the pay raises would risk a renegotiation of the city's 2009 contract with the police union. That deal with the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 is the administration's only major agreement with one of the city's four big unions in more than three years.
Finance Director Rob Dubow said that although the raises will cost the city $150 million over the next five years, the administration decided to allow them to protect its victories in that contract.
"We will look at this in the context of the overall [contract,]" Dubow said. "It was an award that also gave us the right to do furloughs, it gave us healthcare savings that had been in tens of millions of dollars, it gave us some vacation time relief, and it was the first award that gave us pension reform, so it was a very important award for us."
The move immediately sparked anger from the city's firefighters union, which has been working without a contract since 2009. The administration continues to appeal arbitration awards that would give firefighters raises and other benefits.
"I'm glad for the police. The men and women deserve it, just like my men and women deserve it," said Bill Gault, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 22. "For [Nutter] to keep up this fight is just wrong, it's vindictive, it's completely unprofessional, and as far as I'm concerned it's completely illegal."
Deputy Mayor tEverett Gillison said the firefighters would be in the same boat as the police officers if they were open to negotiating savings and reforms similar to the ones in the cops' contract.
"We have been advocating for all of us, the entire city, to be able to go forward in a sustainable way," Gillison said. "The firefighter award is not sustainable. Period. That’s why we appealed. We have no animosity toward firefighters."
Police union president John McNesby said he was "delighted" with the administration's decision.
"I think it’s a home run all the way around," he said. The city "saved millions of dollars, and we were able to move forward and put some money in the pockets of the cops."
He added that he supports the firefighters but that the arbitration awards are "two different cases."