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Northport official: Police contract saves village $3.2M over 10 years

Northport Village Hall in Northport is seen on

Northport Village Hall in Northport is seen on Dec. 27, 2014. Credit: Ian J. Stark

Northport officials have negotiated a new 10-year contract with village police that saves taxpayers at least $3.2 million over the life of the agreement, Deputy Mayor Henry Tobin said.

Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of the new contract.

Northport police had been working with a 13-year contract that was not set to expire until 2021. Village officials decided to seek renegotiation.

The Police Benevolent Association, the union representing the force, had agreed in the old contract, established in 2009, to accept two years of no pay increases, with large pay raises in the final three years, when increases of 5.5 percent, 6.5 percent and 9.1 percent would go into effect.

With those major increases approaching, Village Trustee and Police Commissioner Damon McMullen contacted the PBA about reopening the contract.

“I was looking ahead at the budget, going, ‘Wow, we’ve got some big numbers coming up here that’s really going to impact the taxpayer,’ ” McMullen said.

An agreement was reached that will give each of the department’s 16 officers $25,000 annual bonuses for the next three years — money that is separate from their base pay. In the current fiscal year, annual pay in the department ranges from $44,897 to $130,201 on a 12-step raise schedule.

In addition, officers will see a 2.75 percent pay increase each year of the new 10-year contract through 2027, Tobin said.

By awarding money in bonuses, the base salaries will only grow with the annual pay increases, saving the village money each subsequent year, Tobin said.

“Although counterintuitive, the increased upfront costs save the taxpayers . . . over the 10-year contract term,” he said. “This is a great investment.”

Police Chief Bill Ricca said the PBA recognized that even though the officers were entitled to impending large raises the old contract guaranteed, pay bumps up to 9.5 percent would not be well-received by taxpayers.

“The union and the village both thought they could sit down and come up with something that was going to be equitable for both parties but more realistic,” Ricca said. “You’ve got to give the PBA a lot of credit. They basically had that money on the table and walked away from it.”

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