Austin council members want to restore parts of police contract


Council members will present a resolution to restore portions of the city’s contract with police on Feb. 15.

Officials say the temporary measure would implement previous provisions while a larger pact is negotiated.

The Austin police union’s contract with the city expired at the end of December.

Some members of the Austin City Council plan to bring forward a resolution to restore some provisions of the former contract between the city and Austin police union while a larger agreement is worked out.

A post on the council’s online message boards from members Alison Alter, Jimmy Flannigan, Ora Houston, Ann Kitchen and Ellen Troxclair said their offices have been forging a path toward a new contract since the council voted to send the last proposed contract back to negotiators in December.

The members said their goals for a new contract would include “accountability to the public, is fiscally sustainable for the city, ensures our peace officers remain the highest paid force in the state, and allows the financial flexibility to hire more officers.”

“At this time, we have developed a set of recommendations to move forward that we feel achieves these goals,” the message said. “It includes guidance on an overall spending limit and details on other fiscal and non-fiscal items.”

The members said the details they have agreed upon will be delivered to City Manager Spencer Cronk “as soon as possible.”

RELATED: Austin police union ready to re-enter contract talks

In the meantime, they will bring a resolution to the full council on Feb. 15 to put some items from the old contract back in place for the short term while an interim agreement is worked up.

The message did not specify which items were being considered.

As the council prepares for the Feb. 15 meeting, the city’s Public Safety Commission will hear from members of the police union, city activists and others on Monday to discuss the current status and future of police accountability in Austin.

The city’s Citizen Review Board, an oversight body tasked with examining cases of police misconduct, was shuttered last month as a result of the police contract’s expiration. The contract’s failure also put limitations on the department’s hiring and promotion process.

Austin police union President Ken Casaday informed interim City Manager Elaine Hart on Jan. 26 that the union had selected its new negotiating team and was ready to reenter negotiations as soon as the city was had selected their team and was ready to make substantive proposals related to both economic and non-economic subjects within the contract.

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