Sunday, November 18, 2007

Police Contracts Top Council News

Many years ago, I used to hang around the City Clerk’s office on Friday evenings until the agenda was finished. Sometimes it was not done until 8 p.m. Then I would go home and write a preview or two for the Monday meeting.

At some point, someone decided I should not have access to the packet before the council members received it and that was the end of my citizen alerts. Still, even by picking up the agenda on the day of a meeting, I had time to make phone calls and gather background information for stories that then needed only the council votes and some quotes from the meeting to round them out.

Now that Councilman Rashid Burney has pledged to put council documents online by Friday evening, citizens and reporters can look them over for themselves and print out any interesting items. Click here to go to the web site.

The trade-off is that you will be using your ink and paper to print out what you want. The agenda for Monday’s meeting runs to 10 pages and each resolution or ordinance is several pages more. To me, the top story appears to be settlement of the police contracts and I only printed out the pages that summarized the increases.

Luckily for me, I have a blog archive from the last settlement in 2005, so I can tell you the prior top salaries from the 2005 settlements. However, my former blog partner Barbara Kerr used to do all the graphics and I still don’t know how to make charts on the blog. Barbara left the blog earlier this year.

Anyway, both the rank-and-file police officers and the superior officers of Police Benevolent Association Local 19 have settled on salaries for 2007 through 2009. The increases are 3.75 percent for each year. Police officers who had a 5-step salary range of $34,927 to $72,505 in 2006 will have a range this year of $36,237 to $75,224, increasing to $37,596 up to $78,045 in 2008 and $39,005 to $80,972 in 2009.

In case the low wage for rookies bothers you, consider that those who stayed on under the old contract received a 52 percent pay increase in the second year. The steps were not indicated on the new chart but the second-year increase for new officers should be similar.

In 2006, the top salaries for superior officers were $84,358 for sergeants, $97,074 for lieutenants and $111,981 for captains.

For 2007, the range for sergeants will be $64,716-$87,521, increasing to $67,143-$90,803 in 2008 and $69,661-$94,209 in 2009.

Lieutenants will have a range of $74,547-$100,714 in 2007, $77,343-$104,491 in 2008 and $80,243-$108,409 in 2009.

The range for captains will be $85,967-$116,180 in 2007, $89,191-$$120,537 in 2008 and $92,536-$125,057 in 2009.

There are other modifications in longevity pay and prescription plans. The projected total cost of the wage increases is $1.3 million over three years. For more details, see the web site.

The contract should be up for a vote Wednesday, less than a year after the last one expired. Negotiations for the last contract went on from 2002 through 2005, and it expired at the end of 2006.

--Bernice Paglia


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