Recently the city has been trying to trim $17 million from next year’s budget.
But there was still a battle over part of the current budget: police bonuses.
Because the City of Tulsa and the Fraternal Order of Police couldn’t agree to on what kind of bonus officers should get in the 2013-2014 budget, the case went to an arbitrator. The neutral Texas-based arbitrator just ruled in favor of the FOP—and now the city will have to pay.
Originally the city wanted to pay a one-time, one percent bonus to each officer on the force. But the Fraternal Order of Police asked for a 2.5-percent step increase. That means they’d get the bonus each year if their work performance was good. The FOP proposal would have cost the city less money than its offer in the first year, but would increase every year after that. The city was prepared to pay a one-time nearly $500,000 bonus for this year. But it says there’s no money for the $1 million it would cost in the future.
The FOP said if they didn't get the step-bonus they would likely lose officers. The FOP told us they’d promised this bonus to current officers when they were hired, because the city had been paying it for years.
Mayor Bartlett said he’s going to ask the city council to consider putting it to a vote—and ask you if you agree with the arbitrators ruling.