Nassau PBA President Thomas Shevlin, right, listens on Monday as...

Nassau PBA President Thomas Shevlin, right, listens on Monday as Nassau County legislators approve a new contract with the police union. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Nassau County Legislature on Monday approved an eight-year, $167 million contract to increase police officer salaries for the first time since 2017, ending a six-year stalemate with the county's Police Benevolent Association.

The Legislature approved the agreement by a vote of 18-0, boosting pay for the union's 1,800 sworn officers by 15% over 8.5 years. 

The PBA agreed to several concessions, including the requirement that employees who do not currently contribute to their health insurance premiums pay a small percentage of their salary for the care; that all officers work four additional tours per year; and reducing the annual sick day allowance for officers by two, from 28 to 26. Also, new employees, upon retirement, cannot be paid more than 1.5 times their base salary in termination pay.

The Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state board that oversees Nassau's finances, must sign off on the agreement before it can take effect. A meeting has not yet been set.

The pact could end up costing more than initially anticipated. County Executive Bruce Blakeman's administration in January estimated a cost of $158.5 million. The Office of Legislative Budget Review, which used higher cost factors in its projection, said in a Feb. 1 report that the agreement is expected to cost Nassau $167.1 million through the first half of 2026.

Nassau has struggled since 2017 to approve new contracts with its five major employee unions. The administration of former County Executive Laura Curran, a Democrat, executed contracts with the county's detectives and superior officer's unions in 2019 and 2020, respectively. In 2020, members of the PBA, the county's largest law enforcement union, voted down an agreement struck between the county and PBA leaders at the time.

Blakeman, a Republican, restarted negotiations with the PBA in 2022 after he took office. 

“This is a fair, equitable contract, and it fits within the pattern of bargaining that was established by NIFA," Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park), said before calling the vote. "I think it’s within the interests of our county residents to approve this deal."

Nassau Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) concurred, telling legislators his members feel "these agreements are within the budget constraints of the county."

PBA President Thomas Shevlin told Newsday after the vote that he was relieved the PBA was able to put the negotiations "behind us and move forward."

"This deal is fair for our members and the community, it gives us the financial security that we need for our future, and it pays police officers what they deserve to risk their lives every day and night for the community."

PBA members approved the pact in a 1,621-118 vote — a margin of 93%.

Officers, according to the pact, will receive 1% wage increases in each of the first four years of the agreement, going back to July 1, 2018. The fifth and sixth years include 2.5% increases for officers, and the final two years provide 3% increases.

PBA members hired after 2014 will have to contribute up to 2.5% of their base earnings toward health care costs.

The estimated cost of the overall agreement from the budget review's office reflects their use of higher cost projections, or "inflators."

The contract also calls for a $6,480 annual stipend for officers who've achieved six years of service, according to the OLBR report. The total cost of that pay is expected to be $54.3 million over the life of the contract. Members who attain "senior officer" status, or 15 years of service, will receive payments of $3,750. Those stipends should cost Nassau about $11.8 million in total, according to the report.

The OLBR report said the costs "were anticipated when the [2023] operating budget was drafted and as such there is sufficient funding to absorb the award in the current budget."

Benefits

  • 15% total raises, 8.5-year agreement
  • Stipend for six years of service: $6,480
  • Stipend for 15 years of service: $3,750

Concessions

  • Officers must make four additional tours per year
  • Officers who are not currently contributing to their health care will pay up to 2.5% of their base salary for the benefit
  • Annual sick leave allowance for incumbents reduced from 28 to 26 days

Source: Nassau County's Office of Legislative Budget Review

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