Town, PBA reach 5-year pact
After four years without a contract, the Police Benevolent Association and the town of Newburgh have a five-year agreement that will permit the town to hire up to 12 part-time police officers while guaranteeing members of the bargaining unit a series of pay increases over the life of the contract.
The Town Board approved the contract on Wednesday and the members of the union ratified the agreement the following day.
Supervisor Wayne Booth said Thursday that the agreement provides a 2 percent pay increase retroactive for 2011 and 2012, a 2 percent increase in 2013 and 2.5 percent increases in 2014 and again in 2015.
The agreement also allows the town to keep police vehicles in service longer than was permitted in the previous contract. The maximum mileage allowed before retiring a police vehicle increases to 105,000 miles from 95,000, Supervisor Booth said.
The last labor agreement between the PBA and the town expired on Dec. 31, 2008 and the two parties operated under an arbiter’s decision in 2009 and 2010.
Councilman Ernest Bello, liaison between the Town Board and the police department, served on the negotiating committee that carved out the agreement.
“It was a pretty pleasant negotiation,” Bello said Friday, adding that it was unheard of for a town to hire part-time police officers.
An hourly rate for the part-time officers has yet to be determined, but the jobs will be devoid of health benefits and vacation time. Officers will be limited to 1,040 hours per year (20 hours per week) and must be certified with prior police experience. The town will not be responsible for police academy training.
The town will have the added quartermaster expenses of providing uniforms and weapons for the new officers.
Currently, the Town of Newburgh Police Department comprises 44 full-time officers plus the chief of police, an assistant chief and two lieutenants. The department is down eight officers, the result of retirements and disability.
The town’s police force has gradually decreased since 2009 when two recently hired officers were laid off. One of the two was eventually rehired. The second officer was offered his job back but had moved on, becoming a police officer in the city of Peekskill.
“We’re clearly doing more with less,” said Bello.
Several attempts to reach PBA president Fred Dinardo for comment on the agreement were unsuccessful.
By ALLAN GAUL