New Kensington, police department reach agreement
New Kensington's police officers have a new contract that will grant them 3 percent raises this year and next.
The 3-year contract is retroactive to the beginning of 2010 and covers the department's 22 officers through 2012.
Mayor Tom Guzzo said officers agreed to a wage freeze for 2010, as they had in 2009.
The starting salary for a new patrol officer will climb from $41,100 to $43,600 by the end of the contract.
The first-year salary represents 70 percent of the salary of a patrol officer with more than four years of service. A full patrol officer will earn $62,300 at the end of the 2012, up from $58,800 last year.
At the top of the pay scale, lieutenants, detective sergeants and juvenile sergeants will earn $65,500 next year, up from $61,800 last year.
The new contract maintains the same health insurance contributions. The city will cover benefits at their current cost, but employees must kick in 15 percent of any increase to the premium.
Guzzo said the city has not had health insurance increases since the provision was added in 2008; he did not know if the cost would jump next year.
Other major changes to the contract included reducing the number of sick days from 2 1⁄2 days per month to 2 and reducing the amount of automatic overtime hours for district court appearances from 4 hours to 3, Guzzo said.
Sgt. Russ Baker, who led negotiations for the officers, said they were pleased with two other changes, both of which come at no cost to the city:
• Giving officers the opportunity to buy additional health-care benefits at the officers' expense. He said this especially will help younger officers with families who desire expanded coverage.
• Creating a DROP (deferred retirement option pension) opportunity that allows officers approaching retirement to funnel money into a savings plan.
"We thought we got a fair contract," Baker said. "The mayor's been very fair to us."
Guzzo praised the officers for their efforts to reach a deal amicably.
"There was give and take on both sides," Guzzo said.
He said the delay in approving the contract was due largely to turnover in members on both sides of the negotiating committee.
Council unanimously approved the contract this week. Councilman John Regoli noted the two sides reached an agreement without involving labor attorneys, which saved the city money.
Chief Ron Zellers said he was not involved in the negotiations. His position is not covered by the contract
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- LaBar: WWE not backing down from controversy
- LCB, Duquesne University police recover rare bourbon in illegal sale
- 3 in Westmoreland charged in painkiller ring
- St. Agnes students assist food bank during Catholic Schools Week
- Overall Mon-Yough homicide stats remain steady
- End the Toneys’ reign
- Stat dropoff, road struggles have Penguins seeking consistency
- Former Century III Mall general manager waives charges
- Driver leaps from sliding truck just before it topples down hillside in Fawn
- Kennametal plans plant closings, job cuts in fallout from oil and gas decline
- BNY Mellon is putting iconic Citizens Bank Tower up for sale