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Lieutenants get contract while sergeants get back pay

One day after distributing back paychecks to 1,088 Chicago Police sergeants, Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced a similar agreement with 170 police lieutenants.

The new agreement mimics the terms an independent arbitrator dictated to sergeants in late September after the rank-and-file resoundingly rejected a negotiated agreement the mayor had touted as a roadmap to solve the city’s pension crisis.

Lieutenants who oversee 1,100 sergeants and 10,800 patrol officers will receive a pair of 2 percent pay raises, that will be considered effective as of July 1, 2012 and Jan. 1, 2013. One percent raises will kick in on Jan. 1, 2015 and Jan. 1, 2016. The contract expires on June 30, 2016.

Like the sergeants, lieutenants who retire at age 55 will continue to be eligible for health care. But future retirees between the ages of 55 and 60 will be forced to make a 2 percent contribution to retiree health care that’s now free.

The negotiated settlement also streamlines the mediation process in a way that, both sides hope, will “encourage completion of disciplinary investigations of alleged misconduct” within 18 months.

In a press release announcing the new contract, Emanuel commended the Policemen’s Benevolent Association of Illinois Unit 156B-Lieutenants for its “leadership and collaboration” with the city.

“This is a direct representation of the positive outcomes that result when both parties sit down and negotiate in good faith with the best interests of the city in mind,” the mayor was quoted as saying.

“Chicago Police lieutenants show leadership every day protecting the people of Chicago. Today, their leadership protects our future by ensuring the retirement of their members while helping to set our city onto a path of long-term financial security.”

Two weeks ago, the union representing 1,088 Chicago Police sergeants asked a judge to order Emanuel to pay $5 million in retroactive pay raises — with 5 percent interest dating back to November — mandated by the arbitrator’s ruling ratified by the City Council.

At the time, City Hall insisted that the mayor’s 2014 budget included $6.5 million for retro pay and that the delay stemmed from the painstaking process of calculating amounts owed to individual sergeants — not from a cash-flow crunch.

The sergeants association scoffed at that explanation and said the delay raises red flags.

Earlier this week, back paychecks totaling $5 million was distributed to sergeants. No interest was paid.