Bellone's deal with detectives union to cost Suffolk $52M

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone's new deal with the police detectives union -- his latest labor pact that promises no layoffs -- will cost $52.6 million over the next five years, according to the administration's fiscal analysis.

The Suffolk County Detectives Association contract, up for legislative approval on Dec. 17, is retroactive to 2011 and stretches through 2018. Bellone withheld retroactive pay, saving Suffolk $9 million, but gave the union raises totaling 18.25 percent from 2014 to 2018.

The terms, including a no-layoff clause, are similar to the pact covering 2011 to 2018 that Bellone reached with the police officers union last fall. Legislative budget analysts said that contract may cost $269 million.

Last month, lawmakers ratified a multiyear pact with the Suffolk's 5,000-member general employee union that lowered starting salaries for new employees, but also promised no layoffs and provided raises, though smaller than those received by police officers and detectives. Its cost was estimated at $50 million through 2018.

"Job security is something a number of unions negotiated hard on behalf of their members to get," said Deputy County Executive Jon Schneider. "But in exchange, we were able to get other things, like deferrals, and making future employees more affordable."

Bellone's fiscal analysis of the detectives' deal assumes 12 retirements and 12 promotions into the 351-member union each year. Officers promoted to detective under the contract will take more than twice the time to reach top salary step.

With the salary increases and other perks, such as increased longevity pay and a stipend for members of more than 20 years, the detectives' contract would increase costs by $72 million between 2014 and 2018, Bellone's analysis found.

Potential savings over that same time -- mostly from deferring a portion of detectives' accrued overtime -- could total $19.5 million, bringing the contract's net cost to $52.6 million.

Legis. John M. Kennedy Jr. (R-Nesconset), the minority leader, noted that negotiated settlements with law enforcement unions are often preferable to the deals that come through binding arbitration.

"Everyone realizes that the alternative would probably have been more costly," Kennedy said.

Detective contract increases

 

2014: 4.5 percent*

2015: 3.25 percent

2016: 3.5 percent

2017: 3.5 percent

2018: 3.5 percent

*includes 1.5 percent for 2013

Source: Suffolk County executive

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