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Agreement Ends Take-Home Car Dispute

Louisville Metro Government and the Fraternal Order of Police have reached an agreement that will end their legal dispute over the charging of fees for police take-home vehicles. The fees were imposed by previous Mayor Jerry Abramson to help offset a revenue shortfall, but were challenged in court by the police union, which contended they were a violation of its contract with Metro Government.The courts and state Labor Department have sided with the FOP. The agreement means the city will drop its appeal. Current Mayor Greg Fischer says the legal battle had become expensive and contentious."The broader issue is how do we build a high performance city, the best police force in the country. And we can’t do that if we’re not talking with each other and we’re fighting with each other," he said.The deal calls for Metro Government to reimburse fees that were collected during the dispute. Officers who use take home vehicles for off-duty jobs will have to pay a monthly gasoline fee, probably around $50 per month, depending on the price of gas.Fraternal Order of Police President David Mutchler says members overwhelmingly approved the deal Tuesday night."I don’t think Mayor Fischer would disagree that the most important job of the mayor is tot kept he citizens safe, and as the lead enabler in doing that, all we ask is to be treated with dignity and respect," he said.(In Photo: FOP President David Mutchler and Mayor Greg Fischer sign agreement and Police Chief Robert White looks on)

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.