Aurora drops police pension ballot question
Author: Kara Mason - September 6, 2018 - Updated: September 6, 2018
It seems the Aurora police union isn’t quite ready to let voters decide the fate of the police pension plan just yet. A special city council meeting was called Tuesday to pull the question from the ballot.
The question has caused contention among members on city council, in addition to the impasse between the union and the city. Aurora’s city charter dictates that if an independent report is done and both parties cannot come to an agreement, a ballot question can be submitted to voters.
In late August city council members approved a ballot question that asked voters whether Aurora police officers should associate with the report findings regarding a proposal from the police union. Police union leaders want to leave the city plan for a state plan, which more than 200 public safety agencies in Colorado are also a part of — including the Aurora Fire Department.
Rooted in the disagreement is the police department’s ability to attract talent. Bob Wesner, the union’s president, told council members during a previous meeting that officers are taking jobs in Denver for better pay and benefits.
Some city council members said last month their biggest concern is losing control over the pension when switching plans. Members said the biggest problem that potential issue presents would come during budget season. Aurora’s city charter mandates a balanced budget, and if the city was forced to contribute more to the state plan, members said there’s no guarantee there wouldn’t be cuts in other parts of the budget.
Now, with the ballot question off the table, it’s unclear where negotiations stand.
Gregg Gallozzi, vice president of the union, said during the 10-minute meeting Tuesday that the police association believes the best next step for the organization is to “continue talking.”
Negotiations between the city and union also included a pay increase and paid time off. Both sides have agreed on those components.