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Deputies get raises in 4-year pact

| Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2005, 12:00 p.m.

Most Allegheny County sheriff's deputies will get pay raises averaging about 3.75 percent a year over the four-plus years of a new union contract finalized last week.

But the deputies, whose last contract expired July 1, 2004, will for the first time pay a share of health insurance costs under terms of the deal finalized Wednesday and made public Monday.

About 125 deputies at the rank of sergeant and below will get lump-sum payments to cover a 3 percent retroactive pay increase covering July 1, 2004, to June 30, 2005, and for an additional 3.75 percent raise retroactive to July 1 of this year.

Neither sheriff's solicitor John Bacharach nor County Manager Jim Flynn had calculated the total amount of the retroactive increase or the cost of the overall deal yesterday.

The county budgeted $8 million for Sheriff's Office salaries in 2005. Deputies make up the majority of those costs. A 3 percent increase would add about $267,000.

Health care costs and pay were among sticking points in the negotiations, Bacharach said.

Joe Chester, lawyer for the Allegheny County Deputy Sheriff's Association, did not return a call seeking comment. Tony Mann, president of the Allegheny County Deputy Sheriff's Association, could not be reached for comment.

The deal calls for deputies to get raises of 3.75 percent on July 1, 2006; 1 percent on Jan. 1, 2007; 3.75 percent on July 1, 2007; 1 percent on Jan. 1, 2008; and 3.5 percent on July 1, 2008.

The contract expires Dec. 31, 2008.

Deputies who have served 36 months or more now will earn $54,342 annually after making $50,853 under terms of the old contract.

Deputies with at least 20 years' experience will be paid 3 percent more. The deal does not increase the $27,039 starting pay for new deputies.

Deputies will begin paying 0.5 percent of their base salaries toward health insurance beginning Jan. 1. The contribution will rise to 0.75 percent July 1, 2006, and 1 percent on Jan. 1, 2007.

The contract was finalized by an arbitration panel including Bacharach, Chester, county lawyer Robert L. McTiernan and independent chairman Christopher E. Miles, a professional arbitrator from Washington County.

Arbitration hearings began in May after negotiators reached an impasse.

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