April 6, 2011


Common Council approves city police contract

City cops have worked since 2010 without contract; 3-year agreement will cost city $176,235

Staff Reporter

After over a year and a half of negotiations, the Common Council unanimously approved a new contract Tuesday with the Police Benevolent Association.
The contract, which covers from 2010 to 2012, has a 1 percent salary raise in the first year, a 2 percent raise in the second and a 3 percent raise in the third.
Road Sgt. Sean Byrnes, the local PBA president, said he could only speak on the contract in general until it is signed by the mayor, which he said should be done within the next couple of days.
The contract was ratified by union members Thursday.
The PBA made major concessions in raises, and kept the health insurance rate level, Byrnes said.
Byrnes said the contract negotiations took longer than either side wanted, and cooperation was important since both sides will be back at the bargaining table soon.
“It’s a relief to have this finalized for the city and for the police department,” Mayor Susan Feiszli said.
The new contract will cost the city an additional $176,235 total over the three-year period, Corporation Counsel Patrick Perfetti said.
Perfetti gave credit for the new contract to his assistant, Meira Hertzberg, who finalized negotiations on behalf of the city. Former Corporation Counsel Ron Walsh had worked on negotiations before the task had been outsourced to Binghamton attorneys Coughlin & Gerhart.
The previous three-year contract lasted from the beginning of 2006 to the end of 2008, and was extended for one year, expiring Dec. 31, 2009.
In the extension, the officers agreed to a 3 percent salary increase for 2009, and a 1.5 percent increase in their health insurance premium. Once the one-year extension expired, the officers went back to paying 16 percent, which is where it had been in the previous contract.
In the new contract, the officers will continue to pay 16 percent of their health insurance.
Hertzberg said other changes include a $500 increase in longevity pay, which she believed had not been changed in a long time. Through negotiations, she also said she saved the city money in other areas by conceding holiday time be bumped up from 1.5 time to double time.
The detectives’ on-call pay will also increase $5 a day, from $41.50 last year to $46.50 next year.
The shift deferential payments, which had been discontinued in 2006, were brought back at 50 cents per hour.
It had previously been raised 10 cents each year, which would have meant the city would have been paying 70 cents.
The officer-in-charge pay will also increase 50 cents per hour each year of the contract. The pay increase totals about $4,500 per year.
A new provision for a field training officer was also established for $3,200, although this does not create a new position.
The local Police Benevolent Association has 42 members.
Alderman Tom Michales (R-8th Ward) called it a “well-rounded contract” for the police department.
“It seems to be a good deal for the officers and the city,” Alderman Brian Tobin (D-4th Ward) said. “It was a better deal for the city than the last.”


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