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City of Jacksonville declares impasse in negotiations with FOP

11:25 PM, Nov 19, 2012   |    comments
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Image from October 31's negotiations between the Fraternal Order of Police and the City of Jacksonville.
 PDF Document: FOP.Impasse

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The City of Jacksonville has reached an impasse with the Fraternal Order of Police in its retirement reform negotiations.

Chris Hand with Mayor Alvin Brown's office said they have reached a crossroads in the negotiations and "now it is in the state's hands in the process for resolution."

The next step in the negotiation process could eventually lead to court. However, the city wrote that it remains open to reopening negotiation.

"Despite this impasse declaration, please note that the City stands ready to resume negotiations over retirement benefits at any time and hopes that the FOP President (Nelson Cuba) and his negotiating team will rejoin us at the table. As you know, a successful resolution of this issue is of great importance to all concerned," wrote Derrel Q. Chatmon, Deputy of Labor & Employment with the city's General Counsel office.

The City of Jacksonville's General Counsel asked the police union to respond to its communications by close of business Thursday. 

FOP President Nelson Cuba told First Coast News Monday it is the city that is refusing to speak to the Police and Fire Pension Fund.

"It's frustrating to me because you hear the mayor get up there and talk about how he wants pension reform, it's one of the biggest concerns of the city moving forward, but he does not go and address the issue with the proper party," Cuba said. "He decides to do this and deal with us when he knows the proper venue is sitting with the Police and Fire Pension Fund and working out a deal with them."

The city issued a response through Hand, adding:

"Mayor Brown has proposed a serious retirement reform initiative that that will save more than $1.5 billion over 30 years
 
In declaring impasse, the City of Jacksonville is following the law. Florida law is crystal clear: retirement benefits are a mandatory subject of collective bargaining. We hope that Mr. Cuba will return to the table so that we can work together on solving this critical issue in a way that respects and protects both taxpayers and public safety employees."

First Coast News

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