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Suffolk detectives, Bellone agree to 8-year deal

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has reached a deal with the police detectives union that gives its roughly 350 members steady raises over the next five years, but also lengthens the time it will take them to reach their top salary step.

The eight-year pact between the county and Suffolk County Detective Association, announced Monday night, is retroactive to the start of 2011, and will stretch through the end of 2018 -- identical to the agreement Bellone struck last year with the larger officers' union, the Police Benevolent Association.

That PBA deal, touted for avoiding binding arbitration, could cost Suffolk $269 million through 2018, according to legislative budget analysts. A fiscal analysis of the detectives' contract has yet to be done.

Like the PBA deal, the detectives' pact contains no retroactive pay hikes, but provides contractual increases of 4.5 percent in 2014 (counting 1.5 percent that PBA members received this year), then 3.25 percent in 2015, and 3.5 percent each in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Separate step pay increases will take longer to reach. Officers hired before 2013 who are promoted to detective under the new deal will now have 10 steps over 10 years, rather than four steps over four years, to reach the top of the pay scale.

Officers hired beginning this year, who make detective in the future, will have to go through 12 steps over 12 years.

"As with any negotiation, neither side got exactly what they wanted," said Bellone, "but we ended up with a fair contract which continues to make future law enforcement officers more affordable and helps with our current fiscal situation."

Detectives union president Bill Plant couldn't be reached Monday night. In a statement, he said "there is no doubt this agreement is fair and equitable" for labor and management.

Other provisions under the proposed agreement -- which still must be approved by the county legislature -- include a no-layoff clause for detectives and increased longevity pay.

The county also gained the right to defer some of detectives' accrued overtime as a short-term cost-saving method. In a recent deal with the county's general municipal employees, Bellone also reserved the right to defer some of their pay.

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