Glen Cove officials and the city police union have agreed to a contract that preserves pay and benefits for existing officers but reduces them for future hires.
The five-year agreement approved late last month is retroactive to Jan. 1. It provides for new officers to contribute to their health insurance premiums, stretches out the schedule for them to reach top base pay, and caps their termination payouts.
The changes are expected to save the city about $300,000 per officer over their careers, officials said.
"I think it's a fair contract," said Sgt. David Leon, the Police Benevolent Association president. "Times are tough now for the city, and we understood that. We knew we would have to accede quite a bit to help sustain the police department for the future. So, unfortunately, in doing that, we had to make some concessions for new guys."
Councilman Reginald A. Spinello, a member of the city negotiating team, said "it's a good contract for the city in terms of savings, and it's a good contract for the police because everything is preserved" for the existing staff.
"It was negotiated in good faith by both sides," said Councilman Michael Famiglietti, also on the negotiating team.
Mayor Ralph Suozzi said "both sides wanted to control our destiny" by avoiding an impasse that would be resolved in binding arbitration. "Although binding arbitration in the past has heavily favored the police departments, it's still a wild card for both sides. And in these challenging economic times, neither side wanted to go there."
In the prior contract, officers reached top base pay after five years. Now, that will take eight years.
Termination pay for new hires is now capped at 1.75 times the high base salary, which includes regular pay, differential and holiday pay but not overtime. That is about a 25 percent reduction from the previous contract.
All new police hires will contribute 10 percent of the cost of their medical insurance. There was no contribution under the previous agreement. The latest CSEA contract for other city employees also includes a 10 percent payment of health insurance premiums for the first time.
The contract covers the department's 46 officers, down from 52 a year ago because of retirements, even though there have been three recent hires.
Suozzi said the new pact will further savings from the previous contract, which he estimated saved about $1 million over five years compared with the prior agreement.