After nearly two years of sitting on an arbitrator’s desk, a contract has finally been settled between and the , ending a four-year contract drought.
Retroactive to July 1, 2009, when the last contracted ended, new salary guides and raises have been implemented in the settlement, along with other negotiations both sides came to terms on.
The five-year contract shows pay increases of 2.5-percent in 2009, from effective July 1 of that year; 2.25-percent in 2010, effective July 1 of that year; 2-percent in 2011; 1.75-percent in 2012; and a 1.5-percent raise in 2013. All increases will be compounded year over year.
“There were some parts we were happy with, and others we weren’t,” Washington Township Mayor Ken Short said. “But I’m very happy that it’s been settled.”
The contract, which ends Dec. 31, 2013, impacts non-administrative personnel. Lieutenants and the Chief of Police are not included in the settlement unless that person was a non-administrator or retiree prior to the settlement.
In addition to the yearly pay raises, police personnel receive the following:
- Pay increase of $1,500 after the completion of 11 years of service.
- Pay increase of $2,000 after the completion of 16 years of service.
- Pay increase of $2,500 after the completion of 21 years of service.
- Outside employment rates will increase $3 per hour to $58.
- Health insurance contributions will be in line with state legislation requiring police personnel to pay 1.5-percent of their salary to the medical plan.
The previous contract allowed for a $1,000 salary increase for officers completing more than five years of service, Short said. That was eliminated.
Township Chief Financial Officer Kevin Lifer will have to come up with the total cost needed to pay the personnel retroactively in one lump sum.
Since contract negotiations began four years ago, the Washington Township Committee has been setting aside money expecting to some day settle and have to award retroactive pay, Short said.
“We’ve been banking the money for those years,” Short said. “We may be a little shy in some years, but it won’t affect us that much in the 2013 budget. My fear was that we wouldn’t have enough funds and be forced to remove officers. Fortunately we won’t have to do anything like that.”
While the ongoing stalemate is now behind the two sides, township and PBA officials will be back at the table in 2013, looking to put a new contract in place beginning Jan. 1 2014.
“It’s a great group of guys up there,” Short said of the police department. “Both sides have been trying to do what’s best for them, and I’m glad it’s finally settled."