Kenney administration lays proposals for contract talks with police union | Native Information

The Kenney administration is seeking major changes to the police disciplinary process and a number of other proposals in the upcoming police union contract.

However, the government’s chances of securing its proposals in the police contract face enormous challenges from the powerful police union and the protection of the unions at the state level.

On Wednesday, the Kenney administration officials set their top priorities in the upcoming collective bargaining with the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, which is expected to begin by the end of the year. The police union contract ends in August.

Richard Lazer, the city’s deputy mayor, said the Kenney administration’s proposals would focus on five areas: police discipline, residency requirements, transfers, the use of more civil servants, and complaints procedures.

The Kenney administration has sought similar proposals in the past but the officials will be “extremely tough,” Lazer said during this round of negotiations, which will be decided by an arbitrator.

Lazer added that the city would need complementary changes to police union protection at the state level, particularly with regard to police disciplinary procedures.

“It’s not one or the other, it has to be both,” Lazar said of the search for change at the local and state levels.

The police union sued the city in the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court last month, challenging the legislation that makes the hearing mandatory.

The hour-long hearing included testimony from dozens of community and religion leaders, activists and residents.

The police union refused to attend the hearing.

John McNesby, President of FOP Lodge 5, said in a published statement: “We do not negotiate or negotiate in public. On the contract front, things are going as usual for us. “

The Kenney administration intends to pursue the following proposals in the police contract negotiations:

Restoring residency requirements for new hires;

Allow the Police Commissioner to transfer officers without restrictions;

Expanding the department’s ability to deploy civilians, such as public security officers, and conduct investigations;

Expansion of the existing pool of referees; and

Limit the rebate.

One of the key proposals made by the Kenney administration is to forbid the referees from changing the disciplinary action imposed by the police commissioner if the officer is found to have committed misconduct.

The current Law on Police Contracts, Law 111, mandates mandatory arbitration for disciplinary proceedings but prevents, among other things, the police from striking. The 1960s law was used to overturn disciplinary measures and arbitration dismissals, even when officials are found guilty of misconduct and abuse. State law has not been changed in five decades.

While the city could make changes to the disciplinary process in the Philadelphia civil service agreement, state officials would have to approve the changes, said Monica Marchetti-Brock, director of the city’s Office of Labor Relation, who testified alongside Lazer.

State Representative Donna Bullock, D-195, said during the hearing that she intends to introduce laws amending Law 111 in the state House of Representatives at the upcoming session, which begins in January.

The bill would allow a limited appeal process against an arbitrator’s decision, increase the pool of arbitrators and, among other things, allow nationwide hearings on proposals for union contracts.

Bullock said the current collective bargaining process for police unions is not transparent and accountable.

“The contract and arbitration process has been found to be handcuffing our police commissioners,” Bullock said.

However, the success of state legislation in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Senate, which have not carried out similar police reforms in the past, seems unlikely.

Council chairman Darrell Clarke called on the Kenney administration to involve city lawmakers in drafting future proposals for contract negotiations with the police.

“It probably makes a lot of sense to … include a councilor perspective,” Clarke said.

Councilor Cherelle Parker urged administration officials to seek greater diversity in the pool of arbitrators who make binding decisions on contractual disputes and disciplinary challenges.

General Councilor Helen Gym said the police department’s disciplinary system does not protect wrongdoing, which undermines public confidence in the department.

“It’s been a long time since the city and the fraternal police force worked together and took basic, sensible steps to protect us all and prevent serious abuse and misconduct from continuing,” Gym said.

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