City of Owasso and Police Settle in Arbitration
On Oct. 22, an arbitrator ruled in favor of the City of Owasso on the arbitration between the City and the Fraternal Order of Police () relating to the 2012-2013 contract.
The declared an impasse in May, following the annual negotiation process, when the City and the determined they were unable to come to an agreement on compensation.
The City was not in the financial position to offer members of the increases in addition to their scheduled step and longevity increases. While the -proposed wage increases were not unreasonable, the city argues that for the past several years, revenues have not kept up with expenditures and the City has been forced to use its reserves to fund operations.
“The fiscal soundness of a city is determined by its ability to match revenues with the expenditure side of the ledger,” says Rodney Ray, city manager. “In this case, the facts are indisputable that city expenditures have outpaced revenues during the same period of time. In fact, the three past budgets have been balanced by drawing down from the fund balance. “
By doing so, the City has been able to avoid layoffs, furloughs and cuts in pay and benefits. During the past four years, non-uniformed employees of the city have not received pay increases. However, police officers have continued to receive increases in pay as a result of the step and longevity provisions.
The City of Owasso has 231 full-time employees and 46 sworn police officers budgeted.