Rhetoric heats up between FOP and City of Topeka

Local News

Topeka Police Department (Michael K. Dakota / KSNT)

TOPEKA (KSNT) – The City of Topeka said in a statement Friday they are “disappointed” by comments being made by the Fraternal Order of Police.

“The comments are untrue and distract from the actual issues being negotiated by the parties. Throughout negotiations, the City has offered to make concessions with regard to wages, in exchange for changes to current discipline record retention policies.,” The city said in a statement sent to the media Friday afternoon.

The Fraternal Order Of Police and the city of Topeka are in a deadlock over contract negotiations, the union said in June.

The union said the two sides had started to meet in February and sessions were expected to end May 27. The union said it agreed to extend negotiations through June 9 at the city’s request, but issues couldn’t be resolved.

The statement from the city on Friday reports two remaining issues, compensation and employee accountability.

“Regarding compensation, the City has designated public safety as its first budgetary priority; it already makes up 77% of the City’s entire proposed budget for 2022, with the overwhelming majority of that being allocated to personnel,” the statement said.

On Thursday the police union claimed the city showed no urgency to resolve the dispute.

“It was embarrassing to see the City’s lack of preparation, organization and willingness to work with the Union during this meeting,” said FOP President Charles Wilson, “The City showed no urgency to resolve the contract dispute. This gives a strong signal that the City does not care about the recruitment, retention and staffing levels of officers, which in turn directly affects the safety of Topeka’s citizens.”

The City of Topeka is claiming the FOP is failing to take accountability seriously.

Regarding recent contract negotiations, the City of Topeka is disappointed by the divisive
comments made by the Fraternal Order of Police this week. The comments are untrue and distract from
the actual issues being negotiated by the parties. Throughout negotiations, the City has offered to make
concessions with regard to wages, in exchange for changes to current discipline record retention
policies. The Public Employer Employees Relations Act (PEERA) requires that negotiations between the
City and the police union be kept confidential. The City respects the process outlined by PEERA and
therefore will not refute individual comments.


However, the City takes seriously its obligations to be transparent and keep the conversation focused
on the real issues. Here, the two major, remaining issues are compensation and employee
accountability. Regarding compensation, the City has designated public safety as its first budgetary
priority; it already makes up 77% of the City’s entire proposed budget for 2022, with the overwhelming
majority of that being allocated to personnel.


Recent recruitment and retention challenges are valid concerns shared by the City and FOP. However
these are part of a national, systemic issue that cannot be solved simply by increasing wages. The City
has fully funded all authorized public safety positions while also remaining committed to holding the line
on property taxes.
In prior statements, FOP has failed to address the other major issue in the ongoing negotiations—police


accountability. Currently, disciplinary records are removed from officers’ files after two years and not
considered for purposes of promotion, progressive discipline, or employment verification requests. This
is simply out of touch with standard employment practices.
The next step is a fact-finding hearing under PEERA before a neutral fact-finder. If no agreement is
reached after fact-finding, the governing body will decide the remaining issues.


PEERA provides that public employees cannot strike. Therefore, the parties will continue to operate
under the existing contract until either an agreement is reached, or a unilateral contract is implemented
by the governing body.
The City is still hopeful that an agreement can be reached.

City of Topeka

According to a statement issued by the city the next step is a fact-finding hearing under PEERA before a neutral fact-finder. If no agreement is reached after fact-finding, the governing body will decide the remaining issues.

PEERA provides that public employees cannot strike.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories