Lexington reaches contract with county corrections officers

About 1½ years after the last contract expired, the city has reached a collective bargaining agreement with the union that represents the majority of corrections officers at the Fayette County jail.

Mayor Jim Gray announced the completion of negotiations at his state of the merged government address Tuesday.

Sgt. Kevin Johnson, president of Fraternal Order of Police Town Branch Lodge 83, said city representatives and union leaders reached an agreement Monday night. The contract must be presented to the Urban County Council and signed by the mayor.

Like Lexington firefighters, who completed their negotiations in September, corrections officers agreed to several concessions to save the city money. Gray has said he hopes to save $5.6 million in public safety contracts this year.

The new contract will save more than $700,000 this year and $1.2 million over four years, city spokeswoman Susan Straub said.

Johnson said corrections officers agreed to a two-year pay freeze and a reduction in vacation, sick and holiday time.

Corrections officers previously got 10 hours of paid time off a month that could be banked and applied to sick or vacation leave. That has been reduced to eight hours per month for the first two years of the contract, he said.

The officers also used to receive two "swing holidays" per year — full days off they could use when they wanted. Officers gave up that perk for two years.

Each officer also will receive $25 less per month in city contributions to health care costs, Johnson said.

The cuts are "something that we feel that is needed to support the city and the community," Johnson said.

The union represents 233 corrections officers and sergeants.

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