AUSTIN (KXAN)– After the City of Austin and the Austin Police Association clashed on adding police oversight to the labor contract in December, city manager Spencer Cronk released a letter saying he is optimistic a negotiation will be reached, as discussions continue this week.

The current labor agreement would have expired Sept. 30, 2022, but it was automatically extended until March 2023 so negotiations could continue.

“I continue to have confidence in our negotiating team and I am optimistic that the City and the police officers will soon have an agreed labor contract,” Cronk said. “Our two primary objectives in bargaining are (1) to strengthen our existing civilian oversight program by incorporating as many of the principles from the Equity Action voter initiative as can be achieved through agreement, and (2) to address APD’s very significant staffing needs for retaining current officers and recruiting high quality new officers to APD. Our negotiating team is laser-focused on these objectives while being mindful that in the end we must reach an agreement that will be approved both by the police officers and the Council.”

-City of Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk

The last contract was approved in the fall of 2018.

Meanwhile, the “Austin Police Oversight Act” will hit the ballot in May. According to a City spokesperson, “any agreements about civilian oversight reached by the City and the APA in their labor contract would supersede any contrary or conflicting provisions in the proposed Police Oversight Act.”

Read Cronk’s full letter below: