Wednesday, May 18, 2011 | 12:03 p.m.
The Las Vegas City Council today unanimously approved a new two-year contract agreement with the Las Vegas city marshals that amounts to marshals making about half a million dollars in concessions.
"It does pain me as a union attorney. But times being what they are, this is the right thing to do," John Dean Harper, chief negotiator for the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, told the city council before the vote.
The LVPPA, which represents about 70 city marshals, is voting on the contract this week. The tentative agreement is expected to be approved by the members by Monday, Harper said.
Mayor Oscar Goodman told Harper the city appreciated the concession.
"I think they set an excellent example during these very challenging times," Goodman said. "We all have to work together in order to assure that we're able to provide the services to our constituents."
Councilman Steve Wolfson echoed Goodman's comments.
"You're setting a tone for our other employee groups, and our non represented employees as well, that it's got to be a shared sacrifice and your group's doing it," Wolfson said.
Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian also thanked Harper and the LVPPA for making the concessions.
"I know how hard it it and I know you are pained," Tarkanian said. "We just have to work together to get through this."
Wage concessions made last year by the city marshals will also continue this year, according to City Manager Betsy Fretwell.
Under the two-year agreement, there will be no cost of living allowance increase, which would have historically been a 3.75 percent raise.
Dan Tarwater, the city's human resources director, said there were also no step, or merit, increases this year, which saved the city $71,840.
There will also be no longevity pay increases, saving another $27,000, Tarwater said. The city marshals also gave up their $1,375 a year uniform allowance along with two to three other items in the agreement that also helped the city, he said.
The biggest savings comes from a 4 percent rollback in wages from last year to this year, which saves the city $350,000, Tarwater said.
"For them to offer that up for two more years, I think, is huge," Tarwater said.
Another major concession was that salary scales for newly hired employees have been reduced by 14 percent, he said.
Currently, the salary for a newly hired deputy city marshal and a municipal court marshal ranges from $49,536 to $76,024. That will drop as of July 1 to a range of $42,601 to $65,381. The current salary of a deputy city marshal sergeant and a municipal court marshal sergeant will drop from the current range of $61,865-$94,945 to $53,204-$81,652.
"With that recommendation, we will have three of our major unions sacrifice new employee benefits going forward," Tarwater said.
The Las Vegas City Employees Association has agreed to a 12 percent decrease for new employees and the Las Vegas Peace Officers Association has agreed to a 28 percent decrease for new employees, Tarwater said.
"These unions have come to the table and really helped our city going forward," Tarwater said.
Since 2008, the city has laid off 270 employees and eliminated 615 positions.
However, the city's tentative 2012 budget includes no layoffs. The concessions employees have made have allowed the city to save more than $36 million over the next two fiscal years.
The upcoming city budget of $455.2 million, which goes into effect July 1, is a reduction of $5.2 million from last year. The city has cut about $115 million in operating expenses during the last three years, a 20 percent drop.