Selectmen ratify new three-year contract for police officers

by susan on March 27, 2013

The Board of Selectmen announced at their meeting last night they have reached a “fair and equitable” agreement with the police union on a new 3-year contract. The agreement marks the end of negotiations on the second of four municipal contracts set to expire later this year.

Like the public works contract ratified earlier this month, the police union contract contains changes to health care benefits that Selectman Dan Kolenda said would reduce costs for both employees and the town. Police officers will see lower premiums under the plan, and the town will implement new benefits programs such as flexible spending accounts, health reimbursement accounts, and an opt-out program.

Changes to the health insurance plan will also result in the reduction of post-employment benefit liabilities equating to $850K, Kolenda said.

During each year of the 3-year contract, police officers will receive a 1.5% cost-of-living increase. Officers will also receive “step” increases as they move through the pay scale. The Metrowest Daily News explains how the step increases work:

Officers on the top “step” of the salary scale – step eight – will get a 1.5 percent increase in year one, while those still ascending the scale will get the 1.5 percent increase on top of any other scheduled increases. New officers begin at step one their first year of employment and move up one step each year until they reach step eight.

In the second year of the contract, an additional step – called a “performance achievement step” – will be added at 1 percent higher than the current eighth step, according to a town document summarizing the contract.

“That performance step will also increase by 1 percent in the third year of the contract,” the document says.

Voters at Town Meeting next month will be asked to fund the first year of the contract at a cost of $17,270.

In voting unanimously to ratify the contract, selectmen thanked the police union for working collaboratively with the town on the new contract.

“It’s a good deal for the town, it’s a good deal for the police department,” Chairman John Rooney said.

With negotiations with the police and public works unions complete, we await word on a new contract for the fire union which expires at the end of June. The contract for the clerical union is also set to expire this year, but Rooney said earlier this month members of that union  have filed with the Labor Relations Board to decertify their union. A ballot vote of union members is expected sometime this spring.

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