JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As the city continues negotiations with police over pensions, pay raises and guarantees, the issue of body cameras has become one bargaining chip that is causing friction.
On Monday, the city responded to the police union's demand that they have some say about body cameras before they are used in April. The union said it wanted to bargain rules in a contract.
The response from the city was "no."
"The answer is, 'No.' We're not collectively bargaining it now," said Sam Mousa, chief administrative officer for the city. "That's not to say sometime in the future, it may not come up again. But today, the answer is 'no.'"
City negotiators did add that Sheriff Mike Williams would be in contact with the union before the cameras are implemented.
The union and city negotiators went back and forth on salary and pension benefits. It does appear that the union will be willing to go with a 401(k) pension plan for new hires. But the union wants a guarantee on what current and future employees will get when they retire. City officials said that's not reasonable.
The union has until Saturday to accept the city deal, which calls for a bonus pay, raises and 401(k) for new employees. Under the city plan, current employees would keep their existing plan, but would have to pay more into it.
The negotiations are in response to the city's $2.7 billion tension deficit. The city has to work out a new deal with a pension plan before a half-cent sales tax can go into affect to pay down that deficit