DENVER (KDVR) — Denver city council members voted 8-5 on Monday to reject an agreement between the city representatives and the police union on how to fund officer salaries over the next two years.
The proposal would have allowed the city to save money over the next year, but it did not go far enough for a majority of council in year two.
“You have the political climate that is demanding defunding,” Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca said. “This is not the place to do that. That still needs to happen in another venue…what this allows us to do is be nimble enough to meet our economic challenge of the moment as well as the challenge that we have from the public to do something different with public safety.”
CdeBaca has been one of the most vocal opponents of current police culture and funding. Her supporters want to move millions of dollars in police funding elsewhere in an effort to change the way the police force operates.
Denver representatives had agreed on a two-year deal that would have prevented police salary increases for next year and save Denver nearly $5 million. However, critics argue police would have been rewarded with an additional pay raise in year two of the deal that would pull $4.4 million out of city coffers.
There is a misunderstanding between the city and union over what comes next in the negotiation process. The president of Denver’s police union, Detective Nick Rogers, told FOX31 CdeBaca is wrong in what she believes will happen next .
“She doesn’t know what the hell she’s talking about, period,” Rogers said. “She doesn’t know what the hell she’s talking about. We have 45 days to negotiate a contract. That started June 30. June 30. Those 45 days are up.”
Rogers said arbitration is the next step and believes a final arbitrated agreement will be the same deal presented to council on Monday.
Late Monday, Mayor Michael Hancock tweeted the following:
“The agreement presented to @DenCityCouncil was the best deal possible on behalf of our taxpayers and the officers who protect them, balancing the sacrifice public servants must make during an economic downturn with our chartered responsibility to public safety.”
“Tonight’s decision by Council is not only short-sighted & irresponsible – it also puts city employees & services further at risk of layoffs and cuts, & shows a total disregard for police officers who are willing to share in the sacrifices required by our current budget situation.”