APD Contract Notes


This document is a result of multiple officers within the Austin Police Department expressing concerns with the new contract. Officers have requested that Brad Heilman Defense place some of the provisions with explanations on our website, so that our members can be better informed before voting on the contract. The purpose of this document is not meant to disparage the contract or the personnel that worked diligently to negotiate the contract. The purpose is simply to inform officers of some of the concerns other officers have with some of the provisions in the new contract, so officers can make informed decisions when voting the next two weeks.

Article 6 Section 2 Lines 21-27

Provision: The City agree that it will not authorize payroll deduction of dues or fees for any organization that purports to represent Austin police officer in employment matters, that is not currently authorized to have payroll deduction of dues…

Result: Only organizations listed in the contract along with CLEAT can receive payroll deductions for fees or services. Brad Heilman Defense, TMPA, and Fraternal Order of Police will not be able to deduct fees from your paychecks.

Article 6 Section 3 Lines 31-39

Provision: When an officer dies…the City will deduct $10, or $20, as directed by the ASSOCIATION, from each ASSOCIATION member’s pay one time during the month immediately following the Officer’s death. In case of multiple applicable death’s in a month, the ASSOCIATION may have the deductions spread over consecutive pay periods upon reasonable notice to the CITY.

Result: The contract doesn’t specify if this applies to officers that die on-duty or off-duty. Either way, the APA will receive either $10 or $ 20 from each member’s paycheck. This will be multiplied by the number of officers that die in that month, but the APA can have the deductions spread over multiple pay periods until the total is received by the APA. There is no opt-out provision in the contract. The decision to invoke the provision as well as the details relating to the received funds will be governed by an APA created policy.

Article 7 Section 1 Lines 7-29

Provision: Payraise for 2013-14= 1.5% increase; 2014-15= 1.0% increase; 2015-16=1.0% increase; 2016-17=2.0% increase.

Result: There is no provision that allows the officers’ pay raises to be in addition to any pay raise received by non-public safety employees. If for example they receive a 3% pay raise, you will only get the raise listed in the contract.

Article 9 Section 2(b) Lines 5-7

Provision: …employee shall mean any City of Austin employee except a Chapter 143 civil service employee of the Fire Department or the EMS Department.

Result: Officers are unable to donate sick leave to any members of the Fire Department or EMS that is covered under civil service.

Article 11 Section 1 Lines 1-6

Provision: Definition of Association business.

Result: Allows APA board members to take Association Business Leave to attend the annual State CLEAT conference.

Article 11 Section 2 Lines 39-42

Provision: This provision does not exclude the Chief from approving other individuals or groups to address cadet classes at his/her discretion, including employee representative groups with current dues check off, but excluding groups that seek to represent Officers regarding wages, hours and other conditions of employment.

Result: The APA will continue to be allowed to address cadet classes twice during cadet training. As you all know, the APA endorses CLEAT and assists CLEAT in signing up cadets for their employment related representation. The affect of this provision is that cadets will no longer be able to make informed decisions about their legal representation. They will not be told about other organizations such as TMPA and FOP as alternatives to CLEAT. The provision does not distinguish whether the cadets can be reached while at the Academy or outside of class. Every individual has a Constitutional right to his or her own attorney. Nothing in this provision can stop a cadet class from seeking other options for legal representation outside of class.

Article 11 Section 3(f) Lines 38-43

Provision: The Chief of Police may determine that the continuous absence from duty of more than three months due to the usage of ABL creates a vacancy in the affected officer’s rank…the last person promoted to that rank will be demoted to the next lower classification and placed on a reinstatement list…

Result: If an association member is on association business leave for more than 3 months, the absence creates a vacancy in that position. Someone will be promoted to that rank. When the association member returns, the officer that was promoted will be demoted back to their previous rank and put on a reinstatement list.

Article 13 Section 4(e) Lines 13-27

Provision: If, during the term of this AGREEMENT, the number of classified positions at the rank of Commander is increased from 18 to either 20 or 21, such newly created positions shall be filled as follows…Result: IF the number of commanders increases the

20 or 21, the 20th and 21st positions will be appointed by the Chief off of the eligibility list. Regardless of where you are on the list, someone could pass you up on the list if the Chief wishes to appoint him/her. If you are on the previously stated reinstatement list, you are not entitled to be next in line for the appointed position.

Article 13 Section 6 Pages 23-24

Provision(s): These provisions provide for an assessment center process for promotion to the ranks of Sergeant through Commander.

Result: Officers have approached me with concerns over the costs and subjectivity of the assessment center. Also, some are concerned that the assessment center doesn’t produce the best possible candidates. This was in the previous contract as well.

Article 13 Section 11 Lines 30-33

Provision: …time limits for filling vacancies at the rank of Sergeant or above shall be

expanded to 120 calendar days from the date of the vacancy occurs…

Result: A vacancy can be held open for 120 days without placing an officer on the promotion list in the vacancy. This provision contracts out of the 90 day requirement in Local Government Code Section 143.036(d) and (e).

Article 16 Section 3(c) Lines 17-23

Provision: The OPM may directly question the Officer who is the subject of the investigation only if agreed by the subject officer or his/her representative and the IAD investigator.

Result: This is just a change from the last contract where the representative from the Police Monitor’s office couldn’t question officers during internal affairs interviews. Now, they still can’t question you if you do not agree to it.

Article 16 Section 4(e)(1)

Provision: There is no limitation as to the type of case which may be referred to the Panel at the request of the Complainant.

Result: This is added language that wasn’t in previous contract. This ensures that any case the complainant requests the OPM to refer to the citizens review panel can in fact be referred to them.

Article 16 Section 4(g) Lines 19-20

Provision: Individual Panel members may review the IAD case file for up to 8 hours, at the Police Monitor’s office and in the presence of a member of the Monitor’s staff.

Result: This is an increase from the last contract, which only allowed the members 5 hours.

Article 16 Section 6

Page 43 and 44

Provision: The provisions of Section 143.089(g) of the Texas Local Government Code are expressly modified to the extent necessary to permit public release…It is expressly understood and agreed by the parties that any recommendation and/or report released pursuant to this Section may contain information which would otherwise be made confidential by Section 143.089(g) of the Texas Local Government Code.

Result: The citizens review panel will be able to release information about investigations regardless of whether you were disciplined or not. Read these carefully. You are contracting out of your protections afforded to you by Section 143.089(g) which otherwise would not be accessible to the public. The following is Local Government Code 143.089:

(a) The director or the director’s designee shall maintain a personnel file on each fire fighter and police officer. The personnel file must contain any letter, memorandum, or document relating to:

  • a commendation, congratulation, or honor bestowed on the fire fighter or police officer by a member of the public or by the employing department for an action, duty, or activity that relates to the person’s official duties;
  • any misconduct by the fire fighter or police officer if the letter, memorandum, or document is from the employing department and if the misconduct resulted in disciplinary action by the employing department in accordance with this chapter; and
  • the periodic evaluation of the fire fighter or police officer by a supervisor.
  • A letter, memorandum, or document relating to alleged misconduct by the fire fighter or police officer may not be placed in the person’s personnel file if the employing department determines that there is insufficient evidence to sustain the charge of misconduct.
  • A letter, memorandum, or document relating to disciplinary action taken against the fire fighter or police officer or to alleged misconduct by the fire fighter or police officer

that is placed in the person’s personnel file as provided by Subsection (a)(2) shall be removed from the employee’s file if the commission finds that:

  • the disciplinary action was taken without just cause; or
  • the charge of misconduct was not supported by sufficient evidence.
  • If a negative letter, memorandum, document, or other notation of negative impact is included in a fire fighter’s or police officer’s personnel file, the director or the director’s designee shall, within 30 days after the date of the inclusion, notify the affected fire fighter or police officer. The fire fighter or police officer may, on or before the 15th day after the date of receipt of the notification, file a written response to the negative letter, memorandum, document, or other notation.
  • The fire fighter or police officer is entitled, on request, to a copy of any letter, memorandum, or document placed in the person’s personnel file. The municipality may charge the fire fighter or police officer a reasonable fee not to exceed actual cost for any copies provided under this subsection.
  • The director or the director’s designee may not release any information contained in a fire fighter’s or police officer’s personnel file without first obtaining the person’s written permission, unless the release of the information is required by law.
  • A fire or police department may maintain a personnel file on a fire fighter or police officer employed by the department for the department’s use, but the department may not release any information contained in the department file to any agency or person requesting information relating to a fire fighter or police officer. The department shall refer to the director or the director’s designee a person or agency that requests information that is maintained in the fire fighter’s or police officer’s personnel file.

Article 17 Section 6 Lines 4-24

Provision: …If the charge is found to be true, the Commission or Hearing Examiner must affirm the disciplinary action and cannot amend, modify, or reduce the period of disciplinary suspension.

Result: If an officer is temporarily or indefinitely suspended for retaliation or threat of retaliation against the author of an internal affairs statement, then the hearing examiner or civil service commission must affirm the punishment assessed by the Chief whether excessive or not. You are contracting out of the ability for your punishment to be reduced. This was also in the last contract.

Article 24 Section 2 Lines 9-22

Provision: Differentiates between conflict preemption and total preemption.

Result: Local Government Code Section 143.307 authorizes parties to preempt the civil service statutes through a labor agreement. This contract is your labor agreement.

Throughout the contract there are provisions that specifically state that the contract provision preempts a specific statute or section of a statute. If this is not specifically stated in the contractual provision, then civil service law controls unless a provision within the section conflicts with a section of the statute. Should there be a conflict, the contract will control.