Davenport Police present contract proposal

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Davenport police serve in a variety of dangerous and delicate situations each day. Now, its union is asking for a three-year deal with 3% pay increases.

"Our ranking here in Davenport is dropping," said Alicia Gieck, an attorney who represents Davenport's Union of Professional Police.

The request is designed to keep officers competitive with other police departments. It counters a current wage freeze facing Davenport officers.

"We do want the best trained, best educated officers in the street," Gieck said. "Having a solid salary that puts us in the top of our like cities is necessary to do that."

"That, to us, is pretty excessive based on the negotiations we had last year with the unions," added Alderman-at-Large Gene Meeker.

The police union presented its contract proposal at City Hall on Tuesday morning. Davenport officials will offer their initial response next week.

Among other things, the police proposal calls for flexible schedules, expanded health benefits and more pay for special assignments.

The talks come at a difficult time for both the city and police department. Davenport is already looking at a deficit topping $700,000 next year.

"We have a projected deficit on our budget at the same time we're looking at demands from the unions," Meeker said.

Davenport does more with less because of government's cost. Pension expenses continue to drain city coffers. Balanced budget requirements prompt concerns over layoffs.

"The pension problem is a huge problem for the city," Meeker said.

"The city can afford to pay," countered Gieck. "They just don't want to. Layoffs aren't necessary."

As Davenport's finest continue to protect and serve in challenging situations, there are new worries over money matters.

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