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Township, cops reach agreement

February 22, 2002

Township, cops reach agreement



By RICHARD F. BELISLE
waynesboro@herald-mail.com


The Washington Township, Pa., Supervisors this week approved a new three-year contract that will give the municipality's 12 police officers bigger salaries and improved benefits.

Members of the Washington Township Police Association have been working without a contract since their last one expired Dec. 31, 2000, said Township Administrator Michael A. Christopher.

Terms and salaries will be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2001, the start of the new three-year contract. The salary increases represent nearly 18 percent over the three years of the new contract.

At the end of the old contract a starting police officer earned $32,054. An officer starting out Jan. 1 under the new contract would earn $33,090. A new cop starting with the department on Dec. 31, 2003, the end of the new contract, would make $35,975.

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A veteran police officer was making $37,910 at the end of the old contract. He jumped to $40,594 Jan. 1, 2001. The same officer will be making $44,701 on Dec. 31, 2003.

Three officers in the department are currently at that level.

The department's full complement is 11 officers plus Barry Keller, the police chief. Two recent resignations dropped the number to 10 officers.

As chief, Keller is not in the police bargaining unit but his salary is tied to theirs, Christopher said. Keller was making $49,700 under the old contract on Dec. 31, 2000. It jumped to $54,841 in the first year of the new contract and will go up to $57,900 in the third year.

The contract also includes 1.25 percent step increases for police officers.

The department's two part-time officers will get a 3 percent raise under the new contract.

The issue of benefits, not money, was the sticking point that put the contract talks between the association and the township supervisors into arbitration last summer, Christopher said.

It was the arbitrator who ruled on the new salary schedule. The supervisors learned last week that their appeal of the arbitrator's ruling was unsuccessful. Wednesday night, the supervisors unanimously approved the new contract.

According to Christopher, the supervisors were pleased that the contract dispute has finally been settled. "Now they just want to put it behind them and move on," Christopher said.

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