City Council approves union contract

September 17, 1997


Staff Writer

Hagerstown City Council members unanimously approved a new three-year contract for Hagerstown City Police union members during a special meeting on Tuesday.

The contract includes 5 percent annual pay raises, the elimination of a $20 bonus per court appearance and a revised pay scale, officials said.

The agreement does not include pension changes wanted by members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3373.


But, city officials have agreed to look into the matter.

Officers have wanted the right to retire with full pension benefits after 25 years of service. They now must put in at least 30 years.

In a Sept. 5 letter from City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman, he states that the council has directed city employees to look into the feasibility of a separate pension program for police and fire employees, including the possibility of a 25-year retirement program.

City officials expect to know more in November about the cost of moving police and fire employees into the state's 25-year program for such employees, as well as the cost of withdrawing them from the state pension program in which they are now participants, according to the letter.

By mid-December an actuarial firm will be hired to update a 1995 study on the matter, according to the letter. The update would take about 30 days and is expected to cost less than $5,000, Zimmerman wrote.

Another evaluation of the cost of a new pension program could cost between $20,000 and $40,000 and take several months, according to the letter.

Police and fire employee unions might be asked to contribute toward actuarial costs, said Eric Marburger, the city's personnel manager.

The contract approved Tuesday will take effect retroactively to July 1.

The union, which has 69 members, approved the contract on Sept. 10.

In its first year, the agreement will increase the city's costs by $113,548, officials said.

Starting July 1, 1998, officers will no longer get the $20 bonus, which will be rolled into their base pay, Marburger said.

Therefore, the cost increase for the contract's second and third years are lower at $82,114 and $81,175, Marburger said.

The contract includes restructuring the pay scale for new hires so patrol officers' salaries increase at a slower rate.

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