By Michael Howell
Hamilton Police Detective Stephen Murphy told the Hamilton City Council at its first meeting this month that the Police Department is in the process of pulling out of the Teamsters’ Union and forming its own Police Association. The new organization is being established as a non-profit and will be able to do charitable work in the community as well as represent the employees in their collective bargaining with the City.
Murphy told the Council that the dues currently being paid to the Teamsters’ Union amounts to about $8,280 per year.
“That’s a lot of money going out of our community,” said Murphy. He said that the new Police Officers’ Association would be set up in a way to allow charitable work to be done in the community. There will be a small retirement benefit offered by the new organization for officers who have been employed for five years or more when they retire. A plaque commemorating their service will also be presented. He said the Association would be able to sponsor training for officers and possibly contribute to the purchase of needed equipment. He said the new association could also sponsor a charitable fund for individual officers to draw on instead of reaching into their own pockets to help people in dire need of some simple but necessary items like food or diapers.
In other business, the Council approved the refund of $77,590 to the state of grant money that the city was handling for the Human Resources Council of Missoula. The money was granted for a project that did not materialize.
The Council also approved a change order on the street improvement project at 2nd and Bedford. Due to the unexpected thickness of the asphalt discovered at the site, the cost of the project was increased by $9,774. An additional cost of $3,100 was added for unforeseen work on 2nd Street in front of the Court House, bringing the entire amount of the change order to $12,874
The Council also approved some increased costs on the project at 5th and State Streets. Adding a flashing light pushed the cost to about $11,000 over what was originally allocated in the 50/50 cost share arrangement with the Hamilton School District. The school has agreed to split the increased cost with the City 50/50.