It's been a long year for Austin Police officers with no labor contract.
Numerous reports of low morale, officers retiring or just going elsewhere.
Last month, those frustrations came to a boiling point as Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday urged city leaders to get back to the negotiating table. "It's unacceptable and I had 300 officers in my hall yesterday pissed off that we have not sat down to go over our contract," Casaday shouted in the council chambers.
Late Thursday night, as the Austin Police Association live-streamed their negotiations with the city on Facebook...finally some common ground.
Like wage increases and the reinstitution of stipends. "I think we're at a point here where this is obviously not the amount you guys got last year, we all recognize that. But I'm hoping we can get past that and we can get this deal done because there's significant benefits to both sides. I think what we've offered you is a fair contract with a fair price," said the City negotiator.
The City's final offer on wages: a 1% pay raise the first year of the contract, 2% for years 2,3 and 4. So a total of 7% over the course of the contract. Total contract cost $44.6 million.
The result: a "T.A." or tentative agreement from the Union on the Meet and Confer.
Council Member Jimmy Flannigan tells FOX 7 it's exciting. He says the most substantive change is oversight and transparency. "The manager's recommendation of changing our office of Police Monitor to an 'Office of Police Oversight' is a great innovation. I think beefing up that effort is going to be a much more powerful tool than we had seen that office used in the past," Flannigan said.
So now it's up to union leaders to sell the deal to the membership.
The question is...what if they don't get behind it?
"It won't be ideal but I don't think the officers want to go much longer without any additional pay raises, nobody wants to have to do that and I don't think that that's where we'll be," Flannigan said.
Same question for Austin NAACP President Nelson Linder. "I would tell them accept the contract, let's talk together and work things out and make this a better city because we do appreciate your work. At the same time we can hold you accountable by utilizing the powers we have and by the way that power is not in the office of the Police Monitor, it's in the D.A.'s office," Linder said.