HIGH SPRINGS – An agreement negotiated between the City of High Springs and the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) raised concerns at a Feb. 9 meeting when commissioners were set to approve the contract.
The PBA, which represents the unionized police officers at the High Springs Police Department (HSPD), apparently negotiated with city officials terms that would give up to 48 hours of vacation time to officers who don’t use sick leave for an entire year.
The move was presented as an incentive for officers to not abuse sick leave and in lieu of a wage increase.
Commissioner Sue Weller said she was under the impression the 48 hours was not what was originally decided upon. During the executive meeting, Weller said it was agreed to give the police department 28 hours of annual vacation time, not 48.
“It’s not a concession that they get this because they didn’t get an increase in wages,” Weller said. “They had no right to wages; they had no right to the sick leave. It’s something that you negotiate. The city didn’t get anything back for this, and generally, in negotiations, there’s a give and take.”
City Manager Jeri Langman said the agreement had already been voted on by the High Springs Police Department.
Mayor Dean Davis agreed with Weller.
“I find that a little bit high to give six days vacation time just because you don’t get sick,” Davis said. “It’s not that we don’t think they deserve it. It’s can we afford it?”
City Clerk Jenny Parham said the proposed vacation time is three times what employees in other city departments receive.
Vice Mayor Bob Barnas made a motion to approve the contract as it was written, and Gestrin seconded. The motion failed by a vote of 2-2 with both Weller and Davis opposing it.
Davis said the contract needed to go back to the negotiation board.
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