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Harmar Township reaches 5-year contract with police officers

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Sunday, May 25, 2014, 12:26 a.m.
 

After eight months of negotiations, Harmar Township has a new contract with the union representing its police officers.

The five-year agreement is retroactive to Jan. 1 and runs through 2018.

It covers the township's seven full-time police officers, consisting of five patrol officers, one sergeant and one lieutenant. They are represented by Teamsters Local 249.

The officers' last contract expired at the end of last year.

Under the new work agreement, officers will get 3 percent pay raises in each of the contract's first three years, and 2.5 percent raises in the last two years.

The salary for a patrol officer will rise from $57,030 in 2014 to $63,556 in 2018.

A sergeant pay's is 8 percent higher and a lieutenant is paid 10 percent more, Sgt. John Fechke said.

A newly hired officer starts at 80 percent of that year's base pay and reaches full pay after three years, Fechke said. This year, a new hire would start at $45,624.

All officers will contribute to health care costs and will pay deductibles.

Officers will pay 5 percent for health insurance, capped at $100 per month in the first four years of the contract and $110 per month in the fifth year. Only three officers hired after Jan. 1, 2011, had been required to contribute to health care costs, Fechke said.

Officers will have a $500 deductible; previously there was none.

Officers' contribution to their pension plan was increased from 2.05 percent to 5 percent.

The agreement removes a residency requirement. Officers had been required to live within 10 air miles of Harmar, Fechke said.

Supervisors recently approved the contract with a 4-0 vote. Supervisor Linda Slomer was absent.

When a resident expressed concerns about the potential rising costs of health care, Supervisor Bob Exler replied: “It's the best contract we could do.”

Exler, along with supervisors Chairwoman Pat Janoski, served on a committee representing the township in police labor negotiations.

Solicitor Chuck Means said the contributions were typical for police contracts.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com. Freelance writer Julie E. Martin contributed to this report.

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