The Glen Cove City Council has ratified a new police union contract that freezes salaries for two years and purchased an insurance policy in efforts to contain costs.
The five-year contract, which is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2021, includes raises of 2% in 2023 and 3% in 2024 and again in 2025.
"The city is in financial hardship at this time after raising taxes and laying off some workers we kind of brought that to the forefront in our negotiations with the PBA [Police Benevolent Association]," Mayor Timothy Tenke said in an interview. "They understood that and they actually responded by agreeing to do two zeros on raises for the first two years."
In October, the City Council adopted a budget that cut eight jobs and hiked the tax levy by 6.8% as the city dealt with financial hits of reduced state and county aid due to the pandemic.
The city dropped a request to have all police contribute to their health insurance costs in order to get the two-year salary freeze, Tenke said.
Under the new contract the city will continue to pay the full cost of health insurance for employees hired before Jan. 1, 2013, while those hired on or after that date will pay 10% of their health insurance costs.
"It's a trade-off," Tenke said.
Tenke said the city will still get savings in the future as older employees retire and future hires would contribute to their health insurance, though there is now a hiring freeze in place for new police officers.
Tenke said he has asked the police department to keep overtime costs down but did not set a target or specific policy though the pandemic has reduced overtime costs because many ordinary public events where police are needed, such as parades, were not held in 2020.
The City Council approved the terms of the contract at its Jan. 12, meeting.
A call to Glen Cove PBA president Ryan Nardone was not returned.
The council also approved buying a municipal insurance policy to cover general liability, law enforcement, public officials, employment practices and automobile liability. The insurance policy through U.S. Specialty Insurance Company will cost $214,513 annually, according to city documents.
The city has been self-insured and could borrow to pay legal settlements. Tenke said the policy would protect the city in case of disasters or major lawsuits.