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City, police officers' union agree to one-year contract

December 02, 2005|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown has agreed to a one-year contract with the union representing its police officers, who are getting a 2.75 percent salary increase, a new "standby pay" and better life insurance coverage.

The Hagerstown City Council approved the contract 3-0 at its meeting Tuesday. The union previously had ratified the agreement.

Council members Lewis C. Metzner, Alesia D. Parson-McBean and Kelly S. Cromer voted in favor.

Council members Kristin B. Aleshire and Penny M. Nigh got to the meeting too late to vote.

The new contract is effective July 1 of this year, the day after the last contract expired.

The new contract will end June 30, 2006.

Ray E. Foltz, an assistant finance director for the city, said there's always "give and take" in negotiations, but he characterized the latest round as "mild." He said the officers' union is awaiting the results of a compensation study the city is doing of all of its employees.

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James Bestpitch, a staff representative from Council 67 of the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, the police union, did not return calls to his Hagerstown or Cumberland, Md., offices Wednesday and Thursday.

Foltz said that about 80 police officers are part of the union. Another 40 officers and other members of the department, including civilians, are not in the union.

A first-year police officer's salary is $33,530 a year under the new contract.

Annual pay at the top step - at least 22 years on the job - is $51,646.

Foltz said the "standby pay" is new. Each weekend day, two detectives will each get $50 per day for being on call, which forces them to stay close to the city, he said.

That benefit was unbudgeted and will cost the city about $10,400 more, Foltz said.

Other features of the new contract, Foltz said, include life insurance coverage that was raised from $15,000 to one year of base pay and a fairer distribution of overtime hours.

Also, police officers who also are officers in the union may use, as a group, up to 15 days per year for union activities, an increase from 10 days, Foltz said.

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