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Gulfport police stick with union

By Times correspondent

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 17, 2000

GULFPORT -- Police officers on Friday turned aside an attempt by some of the department's members to switch unions.

In an election supervised by the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission, the Police Benevolent Association will continue to act as the official representative for city police officers in contract negotiations with Gulfport. The current contract expires Oct. 1.

The PBA received 13 of the 20 votes cast (the chief, lieutenants and sergeants were ineligible to vote). The rival police union, the Fraternal Order of Police, received six votes. One officer voted against any union representation. The election was called after several officers petitioned for a change.

The PBA represents officers at 10 law enforcement agencies, from St. Pete Beach to Tarpon Springs. The FOP mostly represents Pinellas sheriff's deputies but has been gaining membership in the St. Petersburg Police Department in recent years amid complaints over the quality of PBA representation.

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