River Cities

Miami Springs police approve new contract with the city

This file photo of past police protests with picket signs in the Miami Springs council chambers is now a thing of the past as, after a five-year impasse, the two sides came to an agreement earlier this week.
This file photo of past police protests with picket signs in the Miami Springs council chambers is now a thing of the past as, after a five-year impasse, the two sides came to an agreement earlier this week.

Unionized Miami Springs police officers voted unanimously recently to accept the city’s contract offer. For the first time in six years, officers will get a raise.

Additionally, officers’ contributions to their retirement fund will remain at 16 percent, rather than going up to a projected 29 percent. The 16 percent figure will remain for two years and drop to 15.5 percent for one year before the contract expires and a new one is negotiated.

Although the raise was only 2 percent for the next three years, Officer Jorge Capote said, “It’s a step in the right direction.”

Capote is a Fraternal Order of Police union representative along with Detective Ray Tamargo.

“We haven’t had anything for the past six years,” said Capote. “I would have liked to have seen more, but I understand that the city has other financial obligations.”

The contract also says that current MSPD officers can no longer retire at 100 percent of their pay. The maximum will be 85 percent. Future hires will top out at 70 percent.

However, the raise is nearly a wash because the city’s insurance premiums recently went up by 19 percent, and co-pays increased dramatically. Figuring the insurance increase, Capote’s raise translates to $32 per paycheck every two weeks.

“Hopefully, the stock market will be doing better in three years and we’ll have a more significant increase in the next contract,” said Capote. “It’s not going to get fixed overnight.”

After five years without a raise, the situation between unionized officers and the city became contentious. Several months ago, police officers started holding signs on the Circle and across from City Hall before council meetings.

The picketing garnered support from citizens, some of whom spoke up at council meetings to ask that something be done.

Now, the only thing left to make this contract official is for the Miami Springs council to give final approval.

“The unanimous endorsement by the police of our new labor agreement reflects the hard work put into it by Mayor/Council, the Administration, and the FOP union members,” said City Manager Ron Gorland. “It’s truly a break-through contract that will quickly bring us all back together again.”

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