Council okays new police contract
The city council unanimously okayed a new police contract Tuesday night that offers no pay increases but tentatively maintains some health and welfare benefits that some council members have complained are too expensive.
Police had been without a contract for nearly 14 months. The term of the new contract is through January 2, 2010.
The contract includes no pay raises. But it reflects dramatic increases in the city’s contribution for medical and other benefits over the years since the last contract was approved, in 2000. During that time, the city’s monthly per-employee contribution for medical benefits has grown from $16 to $101, and the costs for a flexible benefit plan that includes dental benefits and a mandatory, $50,000 life insurance plan have doubled.
But it also calls for joint labor and management committees to review retiree health benefits which council members have said are too expensive for the city to maintain, and also the department’s retention pay program, with an eye toward changing them in the current contract.
In addition, it allows employees covered by the plan to accrue substantially more vacation time than usual over the next two years, with an option for a third year. And it eliminates the current four-day, 10-hours-per-day work week.
Council members Lena Tam and Frank Matarrese thanked the police union for working with the city in what have been challenging economic times.
No one from the police union was at the meeting to speak on the contract.