LINCOLN–(KFOR Oct. 3)–Lincoln City Council members Monday voted 4-3 to support a one-year labor contract for the Public Association of Government Employees.

The deal would give 500 city employees that are mostly street, maintenance, technical and clerical workers, will get a 3% raise, plus back pay to the end of the current contract. The new deal includes the city’s new parental leave benefit. The union in August rejected a 3% increase offered by the city, saying it wasn’t good enough to address inflation and shortages in staffing.

During discussion in the voting period, Council members seemed to be split on the situation.

“Some who has to worry about the fiduciary responsibilities of the city, I have one hat I have to put on,” Council member Bennie Shobe said. “Someone who cares about people, I have another to put on.”  Both are in reference to taxing people more money to pay for additional wages.

Council Chair Tom Beckius says he’s confident the city will investigate pay ranges by February, when negotiations are expected to begin on a new deal.

“When those discussions commence at that point in time, that data will be there and we will see what becomes of the pay ranges that we have before us,” Beckius added.

Union officials can decide to take the issue to the Commission of Industrial Relations or accept the deal.