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Originally published Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 4:42 PM

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Editorial: Quit paying salary of SPD union president

The city of Seattle’s contract with the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild should be reopened, as soon as it is signed, to end paying the president’s salary.

Seattle Times Editorial

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THE city of Seattle and the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild are on the cusp of formalizing a new four-year contract, which allows negotiations to be reopened.

Use that clause to put an end to city taxpayers covering the six-figure salary and benefits of the union’s president. Let the union’s 1,250-plus members cover the wages for their employee.

The contract has already been endorsed by the police union membership, and it is wending its way from Mayor Mike McGinn’s office to the Seattle City Council for final approval.

The contract has wage adjustments and maintains medical coverage, and includes movement on issues surrounding the federal Department of Justice findings about use of force by Seattle police officers.

Those DOJ topics and any subsequent changes in what might be deemed working conditions could be dealt with through a reopening of the contract.

In the apparent pursuit of goodwill, the union president’s salary fell into the category of “sign the contract, bring it up later.”

Council members have already said they would do exactly that. Those who want the salary arrangement examined include Councilmembers Tim Burgess and Bruce Harrell, among others.

Taxpayers covered half of the salary for years, and have picked up the whole tab since 2008. City Hall does not pay any other union president’s salary.

The guild president’s duties have included appearing with police officers at disciplinary hearings. If that fits the rules and protocols of those procedures, fine. That only reinforces the role the president plays as an advocate for those who should pay his salary.

The guild website proudly declares, “We receive no funding from government agencies or taxpayers.” Except, apparently, the union president’s salary.

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