Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo commissioners to vote on city's contract with police union

LARGO — When the city and the police union began negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement last summer, Assistant City Manager Henry Schubert kicked the process off with a message that confounded union representative Michael Krohn.

Largo can afford to give raises to its police officers, Schubert told Krohn, executive director of the Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association, but city management won't even consider it. Like many other things, Krohn and Schubert don't see eye to eye on this one.

Krohn: "Basically, it was the middle finger to us, after we just helped them out the last year."

Schubert: "When I sit down with unions, I always tell them I'm never going to argue an ability to pay. … If we wanted to be irresponsible and spend … until we're out of money, yeah, we could do that."

It's been almost seven months since that meeting, and the city's three-year collective bargaining agreement with the police union expired Sept. 30. The sides have yet to reach a new deal, though, so now they will turn to the city commissioners to settle it.

Largo's police union rejected the city's last offer in early December, and at one of the next few City Commission meetings, commissioners will schedule a public hearing in which Krohn and Schubert will state their cases. Then commissioners will weigh in on the several items holding up a new agreement, like:

• Personal option days. When Krohn said police helped the city last year, he was referring to some officers agreeing to forego raises in exchange for extra paid time off, up to 96 hours. The police union is not asking for raises in the next agreement, instead asking for another 96 extra paid hours off for each member. The city has offered 24 hours, what it has given to its other employees in lieu of raises. Krohn has come down to 48 hours, but Schubert isn't budging from 24.

• Health insurance. Now, police officers who find their own insurance can opt out of the city's group plan and get $2,600 in income. The city has ended that practice with its other employees, Schubert said, and wants to do so with the police officers.

"We want to keep healthy individuals in the plan for kind of obvious reasons," he said. "They keep the premiums down."

• Wages. Last year, officers who were due raises but had reached the maximum salaries for their pay ranges received the raises as a one-time bonus. Krohn says those officers should continue to get their raises as bonuses. Schubert says, because no pay raises are being offered in a new agreement, no bonuses are owed.

There are other differences, but Krohn said Tuesday if the city had agreed to 96 hours of paid time off, he thinks his union would have ratified the new agreement. He was still annoyed over how Schubert opened negotiations last summer.

"I'm sure if I had a beer with the man, he'd be great company," Krohn said. "But to do business with the man — it's sometimes quite difficult when you walk into a meeting starting with something very negative."

Schubert doesn't think the negotiations have been contentious and said the impasse is the result of officers struggling to come to terms with a new, and worse, financial climate.

"The experience of the union has been whenever they engage in collective bargaining, they receive increased pay and enhanced benefits," he said. "We're now in an era where that's not always possible, and it's difficult for them to adjust to the new reality."

Whatever the City Commission approves as a new agreement will go into effect immediately for 2012. If the union doesn't ratify it as a new three-year agreement, though, Krohn and Schubert will find themselves back at a familiar place next summer — the bargaining table.

Will Hobson can be reached at 727-445-4167 or To write a letter to the editor, go to

Largo commissioners to vote on city's contract with police union 01/24/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 5:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa-based makeup artist disqualified from contest over pro-Trump post


    WICHITA, Kan. — A makeup artist who splits her time between Tampa and Kansas says she won a national contest sponsored by Kat Von D Beauty but was later disqualified because of an Instagram post supporting Donald Trump's presidential candidacy.

    Gypsy Freeman won the contest with this image posted to Instagram. [@facesofgypsy on Instagram]
  2. Flesh-eating bacteria nearly kills Florida man who thought he just had blisters from a hike


    Wayne Atkins thought little of the blisters he had gotten while hiking. He was trekking up and down the 4,500-foot-high Mount Garfield in New Hampshire - a 10-mile round trip - and blisters were no surprise.

    Wayne Atkins thought his blisters were from hiking, but the flesh eating bacteria nearly killed him. [YouTube]
  3. Yes, again: Rays blow late two-run lead, get swept by Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As weekends go, this was a bad one for the Rays. In a word: brutal.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Brad Boxberger, foreground, reacts after giving up a home run to Texas Rangers' Carlos Gomez during the eighth inning of a baseball game Sunday, July 23, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson) FLMC116
  4. White House offers muddled message on Russia sanctions legislation


    WASHINGTON - White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sunday that the Trump administration supports new legislation to punish Russia for its meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its aggression toward Ukraine.

    President Donald Trump at the commissioning ceremony for the USS Gerald R. Ford  at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, July 22, 2017. [New York Times]
  5. 'Stranger Things' is coming back; here's the first trailer


    The nostalgia-heavy, small-screen blockbuster Stranger Things returns to Netflix with a new season on Oct. 27 - just in time for a pre-Halloween weekend binge session.

    A scene from the Stranger Things Season 2 trailer.