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Suffolk probation officers get new contract

Suffolk County probation officers, who have been without a contract since 2011, have negotiated a new six-year pact giving them an 11 percent raise.

But they will forego $2.8 million in pay hikes for 2011 to 2014, and defer another $1.7 million in raises until officers retire.

The new contract will cost the county $2.8 million this year in salary and benefits, but net the county $4.5 million in short and long-term savings, according to the administration of County Executive Steve Bellone.

However, the belated agreement will run out at year’s end, forcing both sides back to the bargaining table next year.

Details of the new contract came to light Wednesday when the county legislature’s Ways and Means Committee approved the contract unanimously.

The proposed settlement will go to the full legislature for a vote Tuesday. The 242 member union, a unit in the Suffolk Police Benevolent Association, has yet to schedule a ratification vote.

Under the agreement, probation officers get raises of two percent for each 2011 and 2012 and one percent pay hikes in each 2013 and 2014. However, the union agreed to have those pay hikes only take effect as of July 1, 2014. That means the union agreed to give up $2.8 million in pay for the first 3 ½ years of the contract.

The agreement also calls for pay hikes of one percent as of Jan.1, 2015 and another 1 percent as of Dec. 1, 2015.

But the union agreed to defer payment of the eight percent in raises that took effect in 2014 and 2015 until they reach retirement, providing temporary savings of $1.7 million. The contract also included a three percent increase that took effect July 1.

Vanessa Baird-Streeter, a Bellone spokeswoman, said the deferrals will be calculated as a percentage of an officer’s current hourly salary and will be paid out on a proportional basis at their final salary upon retirement.

The contract calls for probation officers to move to the Police Benevolent Association benefit fund, which pays for benefits such as eye and dental care. The union is now part the Association of Municipal Employees benefit fund.

Suffolk Community College’s Administrators’ Guild, meanwhile, reached agreement with the county on a five-year contract extension that will give the union eight percent in raises from 2015 to 2019. The contract also authorizes a $1 million lag payroll in the 2017-18 school year.

The pact was approved by legislature’s education committee Tuesday, and goes to the full legislature for a vote Tuesday.


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