Police Union Makes New Concessions In Dade Contract Talks

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As Miami-Dade County and it’s police union battle over concessions and cost breaks, a day long negotiation session Friday produced some movement, but not nearly enough to satisfy the county.

The union agreed to a series of financial concession Friday worth nearly $40 million, a move PBA President John Rivera called, “A huge step.”

Apparently, though, not huge enough for county officials, who want to cut more than $70 million from the police budget and will use layoffs if they must.

The union wants to prevent that.

Friday’s proposal by the union would:

–require police to pay for taking their cars home, a free benefit including gas that applies no matter how far away from their assignment cops live, a practice that costs the county over $1 million a year.Under the new plans, cops would pay $50 in every bi-weekly paycheck to take cars home.

–eliminate the uniform allowance which helps the officers pay for the clothes they wear on the job

–cut the extra pay officers earn for working overnight hours

“We are trying to be part of the solution,” Rivera said Friday. “It’s a very nasty pill we have to take, but we are gonna to try to ante up.”

“We need $70 million,” said Miami-Dade chief negotiator Chip Iglesias, “How to get there is the issue.”

Police director Jim Loftus appeared encouraged by the movement.

“Consider where we were even 10 days ago. There’s a vast gulf that seems to get closer and closer all the time, ” he said.

Negotiations will continue November 1, but no matter what deal is worked out it must be approved by the police union rank and file, many of whom are not happy with the changes.

“It’s going to be a tough sell. There’s no getting around that,” said Rivera. With a deep shrug, he said offered, “I’m going to have to do the best I can.”

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)

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