NEW FRANKLIN  The next step will be conciliation between the city of New Franklin and the two bargaining units of the Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (OPBA) after the union rejected a fact finder’s report on a new contract.

by the two bargaining units of the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association representing nine full-time police officers, two sergeants and one lieutenant, for the city of New Franklin, the next step will be conciliation to try to bring the city and the OPBA closer to an agreement.

The three-year bargaining agreement for nine full-time officers, two sergeants and one lieutenant ran from Oct. 1, 2013 to Sept. 30, 2016. The city and the OPBA met several times to negotiate a new agreement, but were unsuccessful and an impasse was declared. On April 3, 2017, a fact finder was appointed by the State Employment Relations Board to conduct a hearing and provide a written report.

The fact finder's report was recently completed and each side took a vote to reject or accept. According to the fact finder’s report, the two main points of disagreement were compensation and length of contract.

At the Aug. 16 New Franklin City Council meeting, the fact finder's report was reviewed and discussed in executive session. Council unanimously approved it. But, with the rejection by the OPBA, negotiations will continue until a conciliator is chosen by both parties, according to City Council President David Stock. He could not give a timeline on when conciliation, or collective bargaining, would begin.

New Franklin Police Chief Dan Davidson stated because he is not part of the contract or negotiations, he had no comment. A labor attorney hired by the city Pat Hoban, was also contacted and he stated his policy is not to comment on negotiations.

The fact finder's report concluded and recommended that the new contract be effective from the date of ratification by the parties and remain in full force and effect until midnight on Aug. 31, 2018. The city is seeking a 1-year contract. The union is seeking a 3-year contract and is requesting that the agreement be effective on Oct. 1, 2016 and remain in until midnight on Setp. 30, 2019.

For the wage issues, the city is offering a wage increase of 1.5 percent, effective as of the date of ratification, and an additional 1 percent increase, effective on October 1, 2017.

The union is asking for a 3.5 percent increase in wages in each year of a three-year contract, effective Oct. 1, 2016. It is also seeking an additional 2 percent "pension pick-up" to mirror the one given to the city’s full time firefighters in their contract.

The fact finder's report also addressed requests in changes in duty hours; review of police videos before an officer can comment and comparable police officer wages in surrounding communities.

The cost of the fact finder’s time and report, $5,284, was split evenly between the OPBA and the city.