3 CIR 8 (1975)


Plaintiff, |
a Municipal Corporation, |
Defendant. |

Before: Kratz, DeBacker, Wall, Rudolph, and Green (EN BANC)

Appearances: For Plaintiff, Arthur D. O'Leary

For Defendant, Thomas D. Young


This case comes before us for determination of economic issues remaining after good faith bargaining between the parties had resulted in agreement on all other issues.

We note at the outset that the plaintiff's case was immensely aided and buttressed by the defendant's able, articulate, experienced and educated Chief of Police, testifying under subpoena. The defendant chose as a trial tactic to attack the evidence of the plaintiff and to offer little, if any, evidence of its own. Whatever merit this approach may have is an auto-auto property damage case, it has no place in the trial of complex economic issues, and at the close of the evidence, the choice presented to this court was virtually between a 20% or a 22.4% increase in base pay, as evidenced by the plaintiff's witnesses.

This court is not the prisoner of the trial tactics of the parties, however, and being blessed with administrative as well as legislative and judicial power, we directed the presentation of additional evidence. School District of Seward Ed. Assn. v. School Dist., 188 Neb. 772, 199 N.W. 2d 752; Orleans Ed. Assn. v. School Dist., 193 Neb. 675, 229 N.W. 2d 172. The court is not required to be judicially ignorant of matters which it knows in the ordinary course of affairs. It is apparent that no one's best interests could be served by a 20 or 22% increase. This Court is required by the statutes governing it to appraise the value of that certain labor brought before it in each case, just as a real property condemnation appraiser values the worth of that certain property brought before him.

Chief Anderson provided us with a list of thirty cities with which the City of Omaha has, through the years, compared itself in police matters. He then listed the 14 of those cities which he deemed most comparable in work and working conditions. Since no one provided us with statistics on Wichita, which was on the list of 14, we have been forced to drop it from the array. We then dropped, also, all of those cities located below the Mason-Dixon Line on the basis of testimony that such cities often vary in approach to police work and working conditions from Omaha, even though the testimony in other respects indicated a nationwide market for police services. The defendant had provided us with demographic data on eleven cities for which we were eventually able to secure the other necessary data. Some of these cities duplicated those on Chief Anderson's list, and we also excluded Cincinnati, Jersey City and Miami. The first two because they exceeded the size of police force which Chief Anderson deemed to offer comparability of work and working conditions (400 to 1,000 sworn officers), and Miami because of its Southern location. This left us an array of cities, and starting patrolmen's salaries as follows:

Portland $10,816.00

Phoenix $10,176.00

Denver $ 9,696.00

Kansas City $ 8,556.00

Minneapolis $10,924.00

Rochester $11,250.00

Buffalo $ 9,226.00

San Jose $12,935.00

Long Beach $11,964.00

Akron $10,525.00

Sacramento $12,900.00

Lincoln $ 9,396.00

Des Moines $10,236.00

We know that Lincoln and Des Moines do not meet Chief Anderson's criteria for comparability, being too small, but felt that leaving them in the array assured that our error, if any, would be on the side of conservatism. A further review of the array, as shown, reveals that it has three California cities in it, which could possibly skew the result. By eliminating Sacramento, as well as San Jose, we arrive at a 10.6+% increase. Thus, based on all of the factors which we are required to take into account, and based on the expertise of the entire court, we direct that the disputed patrolmen's salaries shall be increased by 11%. Crete Ed. Assn. v. School Dist. , 193 Neb. 245, 226 N.W. 2d 752.

Turning then to the common officers, we find that the same array produces a 4.1% increase for Sergeants, a 5.6% increase for Lieutenants, and a 7.1% increase for Captains. It is readily apparent that the inclusion of Lincoln and Des Moines in these particular arrays, at least, is skewing these samples by a large amount and producing statistically unreliable results. With those two cities eliminated, the percentages become 8%, 9.7% and 11% respectively. Accordingly, considering all of the statutory factors, we order the disputed Lieutenants' salaries increased by 10%, and the disputed Captains' salaries increased by 11%. CreteEd. Assn. v. School Dist., supra.

With regard to clothing allowance, we find the range to be from $150.00 per annum to complete furnishing by the division. The median thus appears to be $250.00 per annum, and we direct the defendant to increase the clothing allowance to that amount. With regard to hospitalization insurance, we find the almost universal practice to be to pay 100% of family coverage, and direct the defendant to pay that amount.

We have examined the life insurance afforded by other cities, and find Omaha to be generally in mid-stream, and direct no change. With regard to the anomaly of a public officer furnishing his own weapon as if he were part of a posse, we find the practice evenly divided, and accordingly direct no change. Likewise, we were unable to find any evidence of substantial departure from the norm in other areas raised by plaintiff and, accordingly, find on those issues for the defendant. The pension contribution is below the norm of defendant's evidence, but we understand that the determination of its amount is outside the issues of this case.

The dispute is ordered settled in accordance with the terms hereof. The period of time which this settlement covers is January 1, 1975 thru December 31, 1975.

Entered June 18, 1975.