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St. Louis voters head to the polls

St. Louis Police Officers’ Association Business Manager Jeff Roorda greets voters outside a polling place at Gethsemane Lutheran Church at 3600 Hampton Avenue on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. Photo by Christine Byers, cbyers@post-dispatch.com

ST. LOUIS  — The city’s police union on Friday accused city leaders of “bad faith bargaining” and refusing to continue discussions over wage increases.

The St. Louis Police Officers Association said it also had asked in an “emergency grievance” for a federal mediator to get involved.

A news release issued by the association said that the city is diverting to other uses about $2 million from police salaries from a sales tax increase approved by voters in 2017.

Mayor Lyda Krewson declined to comment Friday, saying she had not yet read the union’s statement. City Personnel Director Rick Frank and Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards could not be reached for comment.

The union also alleged that the mayor’s office worked against an effort on the Board of Aldermen to provide a $2,000 retention bonus for police officers in the city budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Jeff Roorda, the association’s business manager, said that would have cost an estimated $1.8 million.

Last year most officers were given a $6,000 raise from passage of the sales tax hike, which was listed on the ballot as Proposition P.

The union previously filed grievances over $13 million it alleges is owed to police recruits and on-call officers from Proposition P.

City officials have said they don’t believe recruits are entitled to the Prop P raises and that the city has discretion on what it pays on-call officers. 

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Mark Schlinkmann is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.