Sims agrees on contract for sheriff’s deputies

King County has reached a tentative agreement on a new five-year contract with the King County Police Officers’ Guild that includes provisions for the county to implement its first ever comprehensive civilian review process.

The guild entered into negotiations a year early in order to help speed up implementation of recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Task Force that in 2006 reviewed personnel and management issues in the Sheriff’s Office.

“This is a historic agreement, and I commend the guild’s officers for providing the leadership for working in collaboration with the county when this negotiation could have easily become a battle as has happened in other jurisdictions,” said King County Executive Ron Sims. “This demonstrates the leadership’s and the membership’s integrity and commitment to transparency as public servants who put their lives on the line every day to protect the citizens of King County.”

The guild, which represents approximately 650 sheriff’s deputies, agreed to enter negotiations with the county executive in December 2006, – a full year before its contract expired in December 2007, – in order to address recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Task Force.

“We have a good working relationship with the guild, and that relationship helped us work through complex and difficult issues that will benefit our guild members and the public,” Sims said.

Another important element of the contract is moving guild members to the same health-insurance carriers as the rest of King County employees. It will save the county money and will give deputies better coverage than they now get. The contract includes an Early Intervention Program for helping to identify performance concerns early on and also made significant gains in deputy performance evaluations. The guild and the county will continue to discuss additional issues of concern to the county in ongoing labor management committees.

The financial portion of the contract includes pay increases each year of the five-year contract and adjustments to premium pay. Details will be disclosed after the guild shares the agreement with their members. Voting on the contract will occur after those meetings.

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