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Minneapolis committee advances police contract to full city council

Council could vote Thursday on a proposed contract between the City and the Minneapolis Police Officers Federation.

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minneapolis Policy and Government Oversight Committee voted to advance a tentative police officer contract to the full city council Tuesday without making a recommendation of whether it should be approved or denied.

Before the vote, members met virtually with Labor Relations director Holland Atkinson to go over the tentative contract, which is between the City and the Minneapolis Police Officers Federation from 2020 through 2022. Atkinson explained that the parties previously conducted "months of mediation following years of bargaining sessions" before reaching an impasse in mediation last December.

The latest contract proposal, summarized here, includes gradual officer pay raises and $7,000 in bonuses. It includes a new mandatory mental health screening for officers returning to duty following a critical incident. The contract would also give the police chief more authority "to determine the proper duty location of a police officer after a critical incident."

Atkinson says, if the council votes not to approve the contract, it would not go back to bargaining but rather arbitration, which comes with limitations as defined by state law.

"Regardless of what we would like to include or if we wanted to include new things or even if the public wanted new things to be considered by the arbitrator, that's just not how the arbitration environment works," Atkinson said.

Atkinson says the City would also risk losing a previously agreed upon "statement of support" for efforts to advance race and gender equity.

"It took a lot of convincing for that statement to be included and I just want to make sure we do everything that we can do preserve it," he said.

Many of the committee's questions focused on police officer misconduct; seeking clarity on whether disciplinary action falls under the contract.

"If you are saying the collective bargaining agreement is not the place to powerfully do that, then the other avenue that appears to be in front of me is around this idea of resetting precedent so that we are better able to use our policy manual and our procedure manual to hold officers accountable," said Aisha Chughtai, who represents Ward 10.

The full council could vote on the contract this Thursday.

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