The Southampton Town Superior Officers Association has reached a contract agreement with the town that includes 2 percent annual raises through 2020 and increases the number of sick days an officer can cash out upon retirement from 180 to 200.
The agreement, which expires Dec. 31, 2020, was approved by the town board on Aug. 28 and is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2017. The contract is similar to the town’s previous agreement with its superior officers and is modeled on the Southampton Town Patrolman’s Benevolent Association contract approved in December 2017.
“It’s mostly a continuation of the old contract,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. “There are very few changes.”
Under the agreement, officers can now accumulate 400 sick days, up from 360. Those days are payable at a rate of one day’s pay for every two days accumulated upon an employee’s retirement. Superior officers accumulate 22 days of sick time per year, according to the contract. Officers can cash out 250 total days, including vacation and other compensatory time.
Schneiderman defended the policy, which could result in six-figure payouts upon retirements, as an ultimate savings for the town.
“The town has found the cost of paying an officer who is out sick is more costly than paying them half for separation,” he said.
The agreement also changes the way superior officers are reimbursed for clothing, a change Schneiderman characterized as a giveback to the town. Employees previously received a $1,150 annual stipend and while they will still receive that amount, $500 of that total will be directed to a quartermaster system, with the clothing distributed through the department.
The agreement continues the town’s right to use GPS to monitor employees and conduct random drug testing on superior officers. It also stipulates that any superior officer appointed on or after Jan. 1, 2019, is required to work 236 eight-hour days per year, up from 232, according to town administrative services administrator Russell Kratoville.
The recent PBA agreement stipulates officers hired after Dec. 15, 2017, are expected to contribute 15 percent to their insurance costs. If those hires are promoted to sergeant rank or higher, they will continue to contribute that amount.
Southampton Town officers were not previously expected to contribute to their health insurance costs.
“We are going to have three officers that are paying,” Schneiderman said. “It’s going to be a while before they get to administrative posts.”
Southampton Town Superior Officers Association president Michael Zarro could not be reached for comment.