URBANA – A Resolution authorizing the execution of the 2023 – 2026 Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), Lodge #70 Collective Bargaining Agreement for the Urbana Police Department (UPD) was brought forth to City Council at the Committee of the Whole Council Meeting on December 19, 2022. Like past police union contracts, this new FOP contract still violates the Urbana Human Rights Ordinance and fails to include changes regarding de-escalation and use of force.
Private negotiations for the new police union contract began on November 4th, 2022 between the FOP bargaining team and the City of Urbana bargaining team. City Council members were not involved in the negotiations and there were no efforts to solicit public input.
The new contract proposes salary increases that will cost the public nearly $1M over the next three years. Other changes include revising and expanding language to protect officers against discrimination and updating to gender neutral language.
Aside from the changes mention, the new contract is nearly identical to the previous (2020-2023) contract and still contains a clause prohibiting any person convicted of a felony from serving on Urbana’s Civilian Police Review Board (CPRB). This restriction is prohibited by Chapter 12 of Urbana City Code (also known as the Urbana Human Rights Ordinance).
Back in 2021, when the previous FOP contract was proposed for approval, members of the public voiced their concerns about the discriminatory clause and the lack of requirements for police accountability. City Council members responded by saying they were unaware of such a clause and that they were kept in the dark during the negotiations.
It seems like history is repeating itself as Council Members claimed they were excluded from the current negotiation process and the new FOP contract was provided to City Council only four days prior to the December 19th meeting.
During the public input session of the December 19th meeting, members of the public questioned the secrecy, bias, and rushed timeline of negotiation process (the current FOP contract expires in June 2023), as well as brought up the same concerns about the discriminatory CPRB clause, limitations to CPRB oversight, and lack of requirements for de-escalation and accountability.
Following public input, Council Members voted unanimously to move discussion of the FOP contract into a closed session. This was then followed by a vote to continue discussions at a future Committee of the Whole meeting.
According to Ward 4 Council Member Jaya Kolisetty, the extra time will give “an opportunity for City staff to talk through more of what that process has been and why it is the way it is with FOP contracts, specifically because they are a bit different.”