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Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Rockville Centre police contract finally settled
PBA gets raises; village loses on many key provisions
Christina Daly/Herald
After years of back-and-forth, an independent arbitration panel settled the contract dispute between the village and the PBA, awarding officers two retroactive 3.5 percent raises.

After years of back-and-forth between the Village of Rockville Centre and the Police Benevolent Association, an arbitration panel has settled a longstanding contract dispute, giving the police officers many of the benefits and contract improvements they were fighting for.

The panel awarded officers two retroactive salary increases of 3.25 percent for 2010 and 2011, among other increases. Before negotiations began in 2009, officers had a six-step plan, in which they reached a top salary of $106,757 in just over five years. The village wanted to increase that to a 10-step plan, which would take an officer 10 years to earn that salary. The panel ruled that the new plan would have seven steps, and that the salaries of officers hired on or after Dec. 31, 2011, would top out — at the same maximum pay — after 85 months, or slightly more than seven years.

“The arbitrator’s decision was similar to recent awards in Nassau County, and did not address our requests for relief from the ever-rising cost of salaries, health care and pension contributions,” said Village Administrator Keith Spadaro. “The village was, however, able to extend the period to attain top pay to seven years from five years, and to more evenly distribute incremental increases. This, accompanied with the new Tier 6 pension system, will save substantial money on new hires.”

The panel also increased the village’s longevity payments to veteran officers. Like salaries, longevity payments increase in steps. Before the arbitration, the village paid $1,000 at the six-year step, which the panel said was among the lowest it had seen in a police department.

The PBA wanted to increase the longevity payments to a percentage of salary, but the panel ruled against that, citing “longer-term financial consequences.” But it increased the six-year step payment to $1,500.

The panel also hiked the pay of those on desk duty, and increased the amount that officers receive for equipment and uniforms from $850 to $1,000.

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