Guilderland police contract cleared

Two-year agreement holds annual 2 percent salary increase

— Less than five months after the Guilderland Police Benevolent Association’s contract with the town expired, a new agreement has been struck that includes raises for the next two years.

The Guilderland Town Board on Tuesday, May 7, approved a new two-year contract with the town’s police union, which has around 35 members. The agreement provides a retroactive 2 percent salary increase in this year, and the same increase for next year. Only four changes were made and no reductions were included in the contract. The new contract expires Dec. 31, 2014.

Town Supervisor Ken Runion said the town typically does one- or two-year contracts with the PBA. Negotiations started a “little late” in December, Runion said, but he thought the contract was negotiated “pretty quick.”

Town employees were also given a 2 percent raise this year, Runion said, though they received no increase in the previous two yeas. PBA members also received a 2 percent raise last year.

“We are comfortable with that,” Runion said. “We are trying to limit everything to 2 percent, because we have the 2 percent tax levy cap.”

The tax cap doesn’t expressly limit municipalities to a 2 percent tax property levy increase because several exclusions are offered when calculating its tax cap limit.

In the new contract, changes were made to the shift bidding process after senior employees previously held up the process by waiting to select what work schedule they preferred, Runion said. Some senior employees had held up the process for a month, Runion said, and then other officers would scramble to make their shift selections.

“Some of the senior guys were holding up the bidding to the end, so nobody knew what their schedules were,” Runion said. “We moved the bidding up to November and they only have 24 hours to pick their flavor and then it goes to the next one.”

The bidding process would start on Nov. 15 with the senior most employee, and if an employee doesn’t sign up on his or her designated day, he or she would be limited then to any available shifts.

A new provision was added allowing Youth Services Officers to tap any unused funds from their annual clothing allowance to purchase clothes worn during their plainclothes assignment.

The remaining amendments tackled retiree hospitalization and medical insurance, and the Empire Health Care Plan was deleted from insurance offerings, Runion said the plan was discontinued but remained listed in the contract.

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