D.C. top cop signs $250K+ contract following union suit

(Paul D. Shinkman)

Mark Segraves, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – The District’s top cop signed a new five-year, quarter-million-dollar contract late Tuesday night, hours after the police union filed a lawsuit over raises for rank-and-file for the first time in five years.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier’s deal keeps her annual salary at the current $253,000 and contains no annual raises or bonuses, according to a source familiar with the deal.

Members of the D.C. Council are being briefed on the contract Wednesday afternoon as the they also debate the final details of the District’s budget.

Lanier will be eligible for a 5 percent retention raise in 2015 as part of the new deal. The raise is standard for officers who reach 20 years of service. Lanier’s would kick in after 25 years on the job.

The news of the contract comes just hours after the District’s police union filed a lawsuit against the District claiming Lanier is impeding the union’s efforts to reach a contract deal for the rank and file. The union says Lanier should no longer be allowed to negotiate with the union on compensation for officers now that her contract has expired.

A clause in her first contract allowed her to conduct such negotiations, but Lanier has said she’s never participated in such talks.

Police officers have been working without a raise for the past five years. The union’s leadership has been critical of many of Lanier’s policies throughout the her tenure as chief.

The chief’s contract will be presented to the D.C. Council before taking effect, but according to D.C. Councilmember Phil Mendelson, D-At-Large, who oversees the police department, the contract does not require council approval.

“We didn’t approve her first contract either,” he said. “It wasn’t required.”

The director of the D.C. Office of Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining ultimately approves all police union negotiations about wages, says police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump. The D.C. police chief has authority for union negotiations for working conditions.

A source familiar with the negotiations says the chief’s current five-year contract has not expired. The union’s lawsuit is therefore moot, as the contract did not receive final council approval until May 2008. Mendelson disputes that.

“It took effect as soon as it was signed,” he says. Lanier has said repeatedly that her contract was set to expire in April of 2012.

Kristopher Baumann, the head of the union’s negotiating committee, expressed frustration with the contract and administration’s explanation of the status of the chief’s contract.

“It disgraceful that Mayor Gray or Lanier would enter into a contract when office have been without a contract or a raise for five years,” he tells WTOP.

“They’re just making this stuff up as they go,” he says.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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