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Suffolk committee backs $3.1 million pact with detective investigators

The union for Suffolk County detective investigators, the county’s smallest law enforcement union and the only one operating without a contract, has reached a six-year, $3.1-million deal with County Executive Steve Bellone’s administration, officials said.

The pact, which will raise base salaries by a total of $1.99 million through 2024, is expected to increase county costs by about $514,000 a year, according to the county legislature’s Budget Review Office.

A legislative panel on Wednesday approved the proposed 2019-2024 contract for the Detective Investigators Police Benevolent Association, which represents 51 detectives working in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.

The new contract mirrors county labor agreements with other law enforcement unions.

Detective investigators will receive raises totaling 11.25% over six years, county labor relations director Jennifer McNamara told legislators.

Sick leave will be capped at 13 days a year, compared with 26 days under the union's previous contract.

"I feel it's equitable for both sides," DIPBA President Edward Fennessey said. "It was a long time coming. COVID kind of pushed us back quite a bit."

Bellone noted the contract comes after all county unions agreed to have workers pay a share of their health care costs for the first time in 2019.

The health care provisions are expected to save the county $40 million a year, Bellone said.

"With the lowest percentage increases in decades and inclusive of $40 million in negotiated health care savings, this agreement represents a substantially better outcome for taxpayers than going through the mandatory arbitration system," Bellone said in a statement.

In 2020, the average base salary for detective investigators who worked the full year was $134,292 and their total pay averaged $161,747, including overtime and other pay benefits, according to a budget review office report.

Their payroll for active employees cost the county $7.4 million in 2020.

The new contract will provide a 2.25% retroactive raise for 2020, followed by 1% raises twice a year through 2023, according to the budget review office.

Detective investigators will receive 1.5% raises in January 2024 and in July 2024.

Newer detective investigators will reach the top salary step in nine years instead of 10 years as set out in the union's previous contract, budget review said.

Detective investigators’ last contract expired at the end of 2018. All other county unions received new contracts in 2019 or early 2020, budget analysts said.

The full county legislature is expected to consider the agreement Tuesday.

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