Washington Township to ink new police contract
Approval of a new five-year police contract for Washington Township full-time police officers will become official Thursday.
Township supervisors are expected to vote on an ordinance that will confirm the contract already approved by both sides.
Wages for officers will rise each year of the contract, which begins Jan. 1.
“The increase is 3.75 percent the first year and 3.5 percent for the four years after that,” said Supervisors Chairman Rich Gardner.
Under the expiring six-year contract, patrol officers’ hourly wage rose from $25.80 in 2013 to $30 this year, a $4.20 per hour increase. Sergeants went from $27.27 per hour in 2013 to $31.77 this year, an overall boost of $4.50 per hour, while Chief Scott Slagle’s pay went from $32.12 per hour in 2013 to $37.41 this year, a six-year hike of $5.29 per hour.
With the new contract, patrol officers will begin with wages of $30 an hour and, by the final year, their hourly rate will be $35.79. Sergeants’ wages will go from $31.77 to $37.82 per hour. The chief’s pay will climb from $37.41 to $44.55 per hour by the end of the contract.
Gardner said the township made gains in the area of health care coverage.
While the premiums paid by the current seven full-time officers will remain unchanged at $20 per pay for single coverage and $40 per pay for family coverage, that won’t be the case for any new officers hired.
“New hires will start at the same rate as the non-uniformed township employees,” Gardner said.
He said that amounts to the employee paying 50 percent of the cost and 50 percent of any increases.
Gardner said that will help the township keep those costs under control in the face of fluctuating health insurance increases in the future.
“If there is a big increase, we share in it equally and if there is no increase, we rejoice equally,” Gardner said.
The only other major change in the new contract that favors the township is in the area of vacation time. It reduces the maximum annual vacation time from five weeks to four weeks.
Tom Yerace is a freelance writer.