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Police to announce vote today; Watts retires again

Tuesday, December 19, 2017 by Jo Clifton

After Thursday’s vote by the City Council to reject a contract worked out between the Austin Police Association and city negotiators, the APA seems unlikely to want to continue negotiations at this time, according to people close to the process who spoke on the condition of anonymity. At any rate, the APA is expected to announce the results of a vote by its members on whether to continue negotiating this morning. If they decide to reject or postpone further negotiations, they will go back to the rules police departments follow under Chapter 143 of the Texas Local Government Code. That means considerably less transparency than existed under either the previous contract or the contract Council rejected last week. One source said he expects APA might want to start negotiating again in June or July for the Fiscal Year 2018-19 budget. At the same time, the city has lost its chief negotiator, Larry Watts, who was serving as Austin’s interim labor relations officer. Watts confirmed Monday that he had returned to retirement. After all, he was only doing the job because of the sudden death last June of Tom Stribling, who was the city’s labor relations officer at the time. He said he told the city several weeks ago that he would be going back to retirement on Dec. 15.

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