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City of Topeka, First Responder negotiations head to mediation

Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 3:17 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Negotiations between the City of Topeka and its police and fire departments move towards mediation and City Manager Brent Trout is hoping for success.

Topeka City Manager Bernt Trout says he has seen success with a federal mediator before and is hopeful they will be able to help Topeka and its first responders reach an agreement that benefits both parties.

Trout said the City values its police and fire departments, which make negotiations more emotional. However, he said he has a budget with a bottom line.

“We’re trying to find what we think is a fair rate for reimbursement for pay for them and what the City can afford,” said Trout. “The expenses that we have continue going up and so we have to look at that and balance whether or not and what type of increase in salary we can afford.”

Trout said he was unable to give specifics due to the ongoing negotiations. However, he said he recently presented a new budget to the City Council that included a $454,000 increase in personnel costs over the 2020-2021 budget.

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