“I really think they understand the state of the economy and they have been willing to compromise,” Hampton said. “It’s a delicate balance between cost savings and compensating your employees.”
The city’s new contract gave officers lump sum payments instead of step increases for two years.
It also created a second pension plan for new officers, one that would be less costly to the city.
Marano said coming to an agreement with Miramar “wasn’t a sure thing,” but the city was willing to work with the union.
Hollywood Assistant City Manager Frank Fernandez, who oversees the police department, agreed that his city is in a different position with the police union than Miramar, Hallandale Beach and Pembroke Pines.
For starters, those cities weren’t as bad off financially like Hollywood was when they began dealing with pension issues, he said.
Fernandez also acknowledges that negotiations in the past have been bumbled, but he is eager to “restore the trust.”
“We want to put a proposal on the table that I think is meaningful,” said Fernandez.
On Wednesday, Hollywood city officials met for the first time in five months.
At the meeting, the city offered officers an average 8.6 percent raise for this year and 10.24 percent raise in 2014 at a cost to the city of $3.8 million over two years.
The union called it an insult to the officers who had their salaries cut 12.5 percent two years ago.
“It was detrimental to morale,” said Marano. “There was no indication that we are going settle anything.”
At this point, Marano said, the union plans on proceeding with the impasse hearing on Thursday.
Some city leaders put the blame for the stalled negotiations on the shoulders of the police union.
The city, they said, is close to finalizing negotiations with the other unions that represent Hollywood employees, such as the firefighters union and the general employees union.
Negotiations, said Hollywood Vice Mayor Dick Blattner, have a lot to do with how each side approaches things.
Said Blattner: “I think the law enforcement approach is our way or no way.”