Denver Police Could Re-Vote On Pay Raises

With 90 Jobs On Line, Negotiations Continue

The Denver police do-over is a definite maybe.

While union leaders did not return several calls on Labor Day, 7NEWS has learned there is at least talk about a second vote on a proposed delay on pay raises.

“I hope they do. I truly do,” said Denver police technician Randy Kring of rumors that union leaders will ask members to vote again in the next few days. “That’s a lot of officers to be concerned on a daily basis about if they’re going to have a job come Jan. 1.”

Speaking only for himself, while working at the Taste of Colorado, the 10-year-veteran knows the layoffs under consideration would not affect him.

“In this economy, I don’t want to see anybody have to be out searching for a job. Anybody, let alone a police officer,” Kring said.

Guests at the Taste have asked about the ongoing negotiations between union and city leaders, Kring said.

He believes a second vote will happen in the next few days.

“I would hope it would. I’d hope we’d think about these officers and their families,” Kring said. “I have faith that these guys will do what’s right and be able to bring something to us that will be passed.”

On Aug. 31, Denver police officers rejected a proposal from Mayor John Hickenlooper to delay pay raises of 4.5 and 3 percent for one year, in 2010 and 2011, by a slim vote, at 60 percent versus 40 percent.

The mayor responded, saying the city might have to resort to layoffs of roughly 90 officers, most likely coming from the most recent academy classes of 2007 and 2008.

But the mayor is also holding out hope for a new deal.

“I’m the biggest supporter of our police force,” Hickenlooper said Monday while celebrating a school lunch program at Fairmont Elementary school. “They don’t always think that but it really is true. I hope they look at the whole picture and (I) hope (they) at least recognize that we’re on the same side.”

Part of the frustration, sources tell 7NEWS, is that police already agreed to wage concessions of nearly $2.5 million earlier this year and fear the city could come back again in a few months, even with approval of the delayed raises, and ask for more.

Still, the prospect of laying off 90 officers in this recession is not pleasant.

One officer who asked not to be identified told 7NEWS he felt betrayed by fellow officers.

As a recent academy graduate, the overnight officer said he’s considering going to Iraq for work as a security guard, leaving his wife and three kids for a year, in order to maintain his income.

Hickenlooper said both sides have been talking throughout the holiday weekend and that he has also heard about the possibility of a re-vote.

“I think they’re open to a second vote and looking at different ways to think about it. We’re trying to examine every possible avenue to find a resolution,” Hickenlooper said.

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