Council approves new Memorandum of Understanding with Williams Police Officers Association, new vehicles for department

Last week, the Williams City Council unanimously approved a handful of modifications to the benefit package for the city’s police officers. The city and the Williams Police Officers Association have been negotiating the new Memorandum of Understanding since their prior MOU expired at the end of June.

The new MOU is retroactive to July 1, 2018, and will run through June 30, 2020. It was approved by the city’s finance committee prior coming before the full council last week.

According to the staff report provided to the council, the changes to the MOU include a 2 percent salary/cost of living increase, retroactive to July 1, 2018, and a 2.5 percent salary/cost of living increase effective July 1, 2019.

The city also agreed to increase the shift differential (the difference in pay between officers working night shifts and day shifts) from 3 percent to 5 percent, and doubled the cap for compensatory time off, increasing it from 80 hours to 160 hours.

For health, dental and vision insurance, the city agreed to contribute an additional $100 to the Williams Police Officer Association’s benefit package, retroactive to July 1, 2018, and an additional $100 to the benefit package, effective July 1, 2019. While there will be no increase to the Cash In-Lieu (of benefits) amount for 2018, the city will increase it by $50, effective July 1, 2019, bringing the amount up to $800 per month.

The city council also unanimously approved the purchase of two new vehicles for the Williams Police Department.

Chief Ed Anderson said that the new vehicles would take the place of two “outdated” vehicles, including his own, the department’s command vehicle, and the detective vehicle.

“My vehicle… has over 125,000 miles on it. Our detective vehicle has 105,000 (miles) on it,” Anderson said. “They’re both showing normal signs of wear and tear, and the repairs on them are becoming increasingly more costly, so it’s just time to replace them.”

The department will purchase a 2018 Ford Expedition and a 2018 Ford Fusion to replace the old vehicles, using money from the city’s Supplemental Law Enforcement Fund (SLEF). The City’s finance committee approved expense last month, Anderson said. The request had to come before the council because the cost of the command vehicle (the Ford Expedition) was over the city’s $30,000 cap.

Anderson said the department would hold onto the old vehicles for now, too.

“We can always use an extra vehicle to transport our people to training – that type of thing – (or) in case we need to use it for other operations, maybe surveillance… because they’re both unmarked vehicles.”

Annual SLEF (Supplemental Law Enforcement Fund) is typically allocated $100,000 annually. City Finance Director Rex Greenbaum said that the city has used that $100,000 allocation for salaries. Over the past several years, the city has received between $135,000 and $145,000 – and the city had some left-over money in the SLEF as a result, which Greenbaum said would be enough to cover the purchase of the vehicles.

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Brian Pearson is the Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects include reporting on local government and the newly feature sports page. To contact Brian about this article, or for future articles, please email him at brian@colusacountynews.net