After three years of failed negotiations, the Village of Amityville has reached an agreement with its police union on a new contract that village officials said will help sustain the police department for years to come.
The police department had been without a contract since the previous one expired in December 2018. The new contract covers the period between Jan. 1, 2019, to May 31, 2024.
Police costs make up more than half of the village’s $18.45 million budget and this year’s 1.8% tax hike was largely due to anticipated payouts to retiring officers, according to officials. The village and Amityville Police Benevolent Association released a joint statement saying they "both look forward to moving past contract negotiations and continue focusing on protecting and serving our village."
Negotiations had been going on since 2018, but hit a sour period earlier this year and arbitration was looming, said Amityville PBA president Harold Miller. Miller said when he became president in July he reached out directly to Mayor Dennis Siry and those discussions led to the new terms.
"We were in talks for at least a month and a half before we put pen to paper," Miller said.
The contract includes 9.75% in raises over the period, which Miller said will keep salaries competitive with surrounding departments.
Miller also said they lost two officers recently to the Hempstead and Kings Point departments. Two new officers were hired this week.
Police also received increased annual personal time from 40 hours to 48 hours, and a $300 increase in their annual clothing allowance.
The village was able to negotiate numerous givebacks, including having officers hired prior to February 2013 now contribute 2.5% of their base salary toward their health insurance. New officers will pay 15% of their health insurance premiums, including after retirement.
One of the village’s biggest gains comes in the form of money owed to officers for unused sick, personal and vacation time. New officers will now be paid out at the hourly rate they earned at the time, rather than their rate when they retire. In addition, all officers will be paid out for their unused sick time after Jan. 1 at 50% of their hourly rate instead of 60%.
"It’s going to be a huge savings for the village," Siry said. "It’s not going to be an immediate impact but this is the kind of thing we were looking for to keep the police department sustainable for the village."
Miller said "faith is restored" between police and the village.
"There’s absolutely a boost in morale," he said. "The fact that we went all those years without a contract and the uncertainty … I feel like the relationship has definitely improved."