Nassau County Legislature Minority Leader Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams, center,...

Nassau County Legislature Minority Leader Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams, center, is joined by fellow county legislators as he announces reforms that will overhaul elections in Nassau County during a news conference in front of the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building, Mineola, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. Credit: Charles Eckert

Nassau County legislators on Monday approved a new, 8½-year contract that will provide pay raises totaling 15% for members of the Superior Officers Association.

Under the agreement, which has the backing of County Executive Laura Curran, county costs will rise by a total of $39 million between 2022 and 2025, county officials said.

The vote in the Republican-controlled legislature was 16-3, with Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport), Legis. Siela Bynoe (D-Westbury) and Legis. Carrié Solages (D-Valley Stream) voting no. They argued that the county legislature should not approve any agreements with law enforcement before Nassau has executed a state-mandated police reform plan.

Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) called the SOA contract "fiscally responsible," and said Republicans "reject any effort to defund one of the best trained and most dedicated forces in the United States."

Rick Frassetti, president of Superior Officers Association, said, "like any other contract it's a give and take. Our members run into danger. When everyone is able to stay home — just like during 9/11 and during COVID — we will be out when the second wave hits."

Frassetti says he has had "countless members who have been sickened with COVID and who are currently sick … and even had a member who had to retire due to his illness."

The SOA represents more than 350 county police supervisors including those with the rank of sergeant, lieutenant and captain.

The new contract terms will run retroactively from Jan. 1, 2018 to June 30, 2026. Members will receive annual raises beginning in 2020 of 2%; 2%; 2.5%; 2.5%; 3% and 3% under the agreement.

They also will get a $1,000 lump sum payment covering the two previous years, along with a $500 signing bonus.

County officials said the cost to the county will be minimal until 2022, when personnel expenses are expected to rise by $6 million, and by $8 million in 2023, $11 million in 2024 and $14 million in 2025.

SOA members agreed to contribute to their health care expenses, and also to a cap on termination pay, according to the agreement.

Members also agreed to wear body cameras while on patrol and will receive a stipend of $3,000 upon implementation of the county's body camera program, which is expected to begin by Sept. 30, 2021.

Abrahams said "while we recognize and appreciate the inclusion of a body camera provision in the SOA contract, today’s action threatens to erect unnecessary hurdles in efforts to subsequently adopt other worthwhile police reforms being demanded by community stakeholders."

Bynoe said while she respected the work of the police her "hands were tied" because of the timing of the contract. She said she believed there still was time to approve the agreement after more discussion on law enforcement reforms.

In June, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed an executive order requiring every police agency in New York to evaluate policies on use of force, crowd management, bias training and citizen complaints or risk the loss of state funds.

Each department must put forth a plan to "reinvent and modernize police strategies" by April 1, when New York’s next fiscal year begins.

The SOA agreement must be approved by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, the county's financial control board.

If approved, the superior officers pact would be the second collective bargaining agreement completed under Curran's administration. Curran, a Democrat, is up for reelection next year.

The county has an agreement with the county detectives union, but has yet to complete negotiations with the largest law enforcement union, the Police Benevolent Association, and the union representing corrections officers.

Also Monday, Nassau legislators approved a $125,000 settlement with Bobby Hayes, of Garden City. Hayes, who is Black, sued the county in federal court alleging false arrest by Nassau police, along with false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

The Nassau district attorney's office agreed to drop resisting arrest and disorderly conduct charges against Hayes in 2014 after his defense attorney said he provided a video of his client's arrest near a Uniondale barbershop that showed the charges were "fabricated," Newsday has reported.

With Bridget Murphy.

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