Austin Local News
Hundreds of Officer Positions May Hinge on APD Contract Decision
The City of Austin and the Austin Police Department have been in talks about a new contract for months. This week, the Public Safety Commission voted 6-2 to approve the contract, moving it on to its final stop at City Hall with a vote from the city council expected next week. But the department doesn't believe council approval will be a slam dunk by any means. Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday gives the contract 50/50 odds of passage. If the council does not approve it, as many as 300 officers may resign before the end of the year in order to cash in on the hundreds of hours of sick time they've accrued.
"We have 150 that have 23 years or more and we have another 150 that have 20 years or more. What you would see [if the contract is not approved] is a catastrophic event, in my opinion," Casaday says.
Aside from the larger issue of being short hundreds of officers, Casaday says it will have a trickle down effect on those who do not resign.
"Detectives being pulled from their jobs -- child abuse, homicide, and robbery -- where we need them, and they would have to go back and work patrol shifts instead of doing their jobs."
One of the big issues is the sick leave accrual. Casaday says most of these officers who could retire have banked anywhere from 1400-1700 hours. Without a contract, however, APD would have to operate under civil service laws which only allow retirees to take 720 hours of the sick leave. In order to stave off potentially having to leave all of those extra hours on the table, many may choose to hang up the badge and call it quits at APD for good.
While 300 could potentially leave, Casaday believes the more realistic number would be somewhere between 80-160.
It's not known for sure how many council members may vote yes on this contract, but there are some who appear very likely to vote no. Council member Greg Casar's appointee to the Public Safety Commission, Daniela Nunez, was the most vocal about her unwillingness to support the new contract. Because of that, Casar is the most likely among all of the city council to vote against the contract as well.