Praise, sharp criticism for police union contract

Omaha, NE – Omaha's tentative contract with the Police Officers Association drew both praise and sharp criticism at Tuesday's city council meeting.

A public hearing on the tentative agreement lasted more than two hours. City council members could vote on the contract next week. It changes the way base pay is calculated for new and future officers.

Police Union president Officer Aaron Hanson says the agreement was three years in the making. "I'm very proud of the hard work that police officers, the City Council, the Mayor's office, have all dedicated in to this very difficult challenge," Hanson says. "I will put these good faith efforts and sacrifices up against any other done by any other group dealing with an issue such as this in this city, or in cities across the nation."

Dave Nabity is president of a group called Omaha Alliance for the Private Sector. That group issued a statement last week urging the City Council to pass the police contract. But Nabity says he has some problems with the deal. "The dramatic issue before this Council and the citizens of Omaha is a 44 million dollar tax increase, half of which is going to go toward this pension package and salary increases and the cost of this labor contract."

The contract also raises the retirement age for officers and requires each Omaha officer to contribute $1,300 per year to the pension fund.