Mayor Dewey Bartlett has filed a request with the city clerk's office calling for a special election regarding the Fraternal Order of Police arbitration ruling, a news release says.
After the FOP and the City of Tulsa couldn't agree on a new contract, an arbitration decision that went in the union's favor will cost the city a half million dollars immediately and $1 million per year going forward.
According to the Police and Fire Arbitration Act of the State of Oklahoma, the mayor has the ability to call for an election if the city does not agree with an arbitrator's ruling or the city cannot comply with the ruling.
"By requesting the special election, I acknowledge the city is not in the financial position to support a permanent wage increase and invoking this process is in the best interest and welfare of the city-wide departmental operations and obligations, and especially in the best interest and welfare of our tax payers," Bartlett said.
Bartlett disagrees with the arbitration decision, saying it would cost the city the same as a new police academy would in the next budget.
"Based on the arbitrator's ruling to grant permanent salary increases in favor of the Fraternal Order of Police, I have filed a request with the city clerk's office to hold a special election asking citizens to overturn this costly decision," Bartlett said. "The City of Tulsa cannot afford an ongoing expense of over $1 million in the midst of reducing the city's budget by $17 million, eliminating 215 positions and impacting departments and service levels across the city.
"I continue to appreciate and commend the hard work and dedication of our Tulsa police officers. However, we have to be realistic in our current financial situation. During negotiations with FOP bargaining team, the City of Tulsa negotiated in good faith and offered a one percent, one-time stipend to police officers. I urge the FOP leadership to continue to negotiate with the City of Tulsa, so we may come to an agreement that does not impact the financial integrity of the city and avoid taking a vote to the citizens of Tulsa."
The letter from Bartlett requests the Tulsa City Council place an agenda item for the passage of a resolution calling for a special election on its June 5, at the 6 p.m. regularly scheduled meeting.