Reno police officers will take home a 2 percent salary increase under a new $39 million labor contract unanimously approved by the Reno City Council on Wednesday.
The council also approved a new labor contract for the city’s fire battalion and division chiefs. That contract includes changes to retirement health benefits for new hires and a substantial increase in sick leave payouts for battalion chiefs when they retire.
The new contracts were approved with little of the acrimony that marred previous labor negotiations between the city and its public employee unions, a priority for Mayor Hillary Schieve and the new council.
“I’d like to express my congratulations to you and members of that unit on moving this forward,” Councilman Paul McKenzie told the city’s finance director, who managed the negotiations. “While it includes improvements for members of the unit, it also has cost savings for the city built in.”
The changes to retirement health benefits is expected to save the city about $8,000 per employee, a savings that won’t be realized for many years but helps address the city’s burgeoning unfunded liability for such benefits.
The battalion chiefs’ contract is expected to cost the city about $3.1 million a year. Under the provisions, retiring chiefs will be able to collect 3,200 hours of unused sick time, up from 2,000 hours. The city doesn’t anticipate any of the chiefs taking advantage of that payout this year. The chiefs also will get an increase in their uniform allowance to $1,200 from $850 a year.
The Reno Police Protective Association negotiated a $39 million contract, which will cost the city about $670,000 more than last year’s contract. The only substantive change is the 2 percent pay increase. The city anticipates paying for that through salary savings achieved through vacancies. The pay hike was not included in this year’s budget.