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Indian Shores sets talks with police

The town has agreed to begin negotiating next week with officers anddispatchers of the Police Department for their first union contract.

Charles A. Salerno, executive secretary for the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) sent a letter to the town last month asking to start negotiations.

The Town Council agreed. First, council members plan to meet with their labor attorneys Tuesday in a closed session. The first bargaining session is set for Feb. 22, said Deborah Crumbley, one of the chief negotiators for the town.

"It's a give-and-take process," Crumbley said Wednesday. "I believe the council has an open mind."

Police and town employees began talking about establishing a union in April during discussions about benefits that workers claimed the town was taking away.

In the end, only the police joined FOP. The contract is to cover nine officers and dispatchers.

"Most of the proposals are basically what they have now," Salerno said Wednesday. "What we're trying to do at this point is protect what they have now."

One of the major issues is wages, Salerno said.

Police are asking for: A 5 percent wage increase retroactive to Oct. 1, 1989.

A slight increase in wages for working particular shifts.

Extra money for officers who are called to work during off-duty hours.

"One of their major concerns was to spell things out so that there would be equal treatment for everybody," Salerno said. "Most of the items in here are current practice. I don't see any problem resolving those things."