An arbitrator has awarded Shelter Island’s small police department, which has been working without a contact since 2009, annual pay raises of 3 percent for 2009 and 2010 and has agreed to a third 3 percent raise for this year.
Town Supervisor Jim Dougherty said the increases were the lowest given in an arbitration on Long Island in recent memory. The back pay to the town’s eight police officers will total about $90,000, he said, which is less than the money set aside for that purpose in the town’s 2011 budget. The salaries are less than $100,000 a year, he said, lower than other veteran police officers in Nassau, Suffolk or the other East End towns.
The town’s police officers had received annual pay increases of 8 percent in their 2006-2008 contracts. Shelter Island argued in the arbitration proceeding that its economy — many residents are retirees on fixed income and the town has a very small industrial/ commercial base — means it cannot afford police salaries at the same level as those in other Long Island municipalities.
Shelter Island is by far the smallest town on Long Island, covering just over 12 square miles and with a year-round population of about 2,400 people.