City presents offer to police, fire unions

HARLINGEN — After more than three months of negotiations, city officials have presented an “offer” to the Harlingen police and fire department unions, City Manager Dan Serna said.

The current police contract expires today.

Serna said he could not disclose details because of a confidentiality agreement.

“We’re close to either getting a response or, I hope, we can reach an agreement,” Serna said.

Sal Carmona, president of the Harlingen Police Officers and Law Enforcement Association, declined comment, adding he would issue a statement today.

Since early June, city officials and local union representatives have held collective bargaining talks behind closed doors.

The unions seek contract extensions that might include pay raises, officials have said.

Attorney John Sierega, representing the police union, has said the current two-year contract expires today.

Sierega, an attorney with the Texas Municipal Police Association, has said a request for raises could depend on other cities’ police salaries and cost-of-living increases.

Two years ago, collective bargaining talks led to a two-year contract that came with 2.5 percent raises in 2014-2015 and 3.5 percent raises in 2015-2016.

Police officers’ full-time salary package climbed about $700,000 from 2013-2014 to 2015-2016.

In 2015-2016, the full-time salary package stood at $6.5 million, up from $5.8 million in 2013-2014.