Tampa council will vote on police union contract Dec. 2
The Tampa City Council on Thursday scheduled a vote on the police union contract for Dec. 2 at 1:30 p.m. Mayor Pam Iorio and the union have been at an impasse in negotiations since July, largely over raises, so the council has to settle the dispute. But even scheduling the date caused some friction. The city's human resources director Kimberly Crum chose that date after clearing it with the calendars of City Council members.But she didn't check in with the union's attorney, Diane Bailey Morton.
So Morton fired off a memo to the council Thursday questioning why she wasn’t consulted, calling it "fundamentally unfair" and in violation of the code of professional conduct. She said she she has an arbitration hearing that morning where she'll be representing a former Tampa firefighter. She speculated that the city didn’t want her to challenge the date, and it was set in an attempt to give the city an unfair advantage.
But as it turns out, Tom Gonzalez, the attorney representing the city in the contract dispute, wasn’t consulted either. "Who do you think is representing the city in that arbitration hearing?" he said, when asked about Morton's scheduling conflict. The answer, of course, is Gonzalez. He said he also had a previously scheduled meeting the afternoon of Dec. 2 that he canceled so he would be available for the City Council hearing.
"They told me the date and I'll be there," he said, adding that he understands that the hearing needs to happen quickly. "The contract that we’re negotiating to replace has already expired."
Janet Zink, Times Staff Writer