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Amityville police pay dispute to be resolved by an arbitrator

A pay dispute between Amityville Village and the union for its police officers will go before a private arbitrator February 25, trustee Nick LaLota said.

Amityville trustees in September reduced the premium the village pays officers for working overnight shifts by approximately $5,000 per officer per year, about $100,000 annually in total.

The village contends the move brought pay into parity with the Suffolk County Police Department and corrected an earlier practice that paid the premium, known as a “night differential,” even for daytime shifts.

Woodmere arbitrator Robert Douglas will hear the case.

Amityville PBA president Chris Mullin did not respond to a request for comment. In a statement released by a representative last summer after the union began a grievance process over the matter, he accused the village of breaching its contract.

“What the Village has done is an unfair labor practice, which will burden residents with unnecessary court costs,” he said. “The PBA looks forward to the opportunity for a neutral arbitrator to review the grievance and make a legally-sound decision.”

LaLota, in an email Monday, said the differential was a “perk” granted by a previous village administration.

Officers typically work six months of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. shifts and six months of 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shifts. The village and the PBA agree that the police contract calls for some extra compensation for those overnight hours, but disagree on the rate.

The village budgeted $325,202 for night differential pay last year.

Relations between the union and some trustees have been tense since at least 2014, when LaLota, Mayor James Wandell and Deputy Mayor Jessica Bernius signed a letter asking the union to agree to cap pay for some officers.

PBA officials angrily rejected the proposal. The union’s contract runs to 2018.

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