Thursday, August 29, 2019
3-year deal with city includes pay raises
By David Skolnick
The police patrol union has a new contract with the city that includes raises of 1 percent this year, 1.5 percent next year and 1 percent in 2021 as well as the elimination of two steps on the pay scale that will bump up salary for lesser-experienced officers.
The two sides reached an agreement on a three-year deal with the assistance of Felicia Bernardini, a state conciliator.
Mike Anderson, union president, said the contract “is fair for now.”
“We have a ways to go. This contract is a step in the right direction,” he added.
Council rejected a fact-finder’s recommendation for annual pay raises of 1.25 percent, 1 percent and 1 percent in April because of a provision that included $246,216 in additional costs in December 2020 through the elimination of three of the 12 steps officers have to attain to get to the top of the pay scale.
That would have resulted in officers automatically moving up three pay steps.
The union, which represents 92 patrol officers, wanted to keep the salary increases – which is slightly lower than what the city offered and what was eventually approved by Bernardini – and the elimination of the three steps in the nonbinding fact-finder’s report.
The city offered the pay hikes accepted by the conciliator and the reduction of one step, effective Sept. 14, and then another step January 2021.
The 1 percent pay raise is effective Sept. 14 with 1.5 percent more in January 2020 and then 1 percent more in January 2021.
Also, based on experience, officers will receive lump-sum payments between $250 and $450 because the union’s last contract expired Nov. 30, 2018.
The salary increases and lump-sum payments will cost the city $167,000 over the life of the contract, said Kyle Miasek, interim finance director.
The starting annual salary for a patrol officer was $31,054, or $14.93 an hour.
Effective Sept. 14, it will be $32,394, about $15.57 an hour. In January 2021, it will be $34,307 annually, or about $16.49 an hour.
The salary for those at the top of the scale, after 12 years on the job, is $56,326 a year, or $27.08 an hour.
Effective Sept. 14, the top of the scale will be after 11 years as a patrol officer and pay $56,890 annually, or about $27.35 an hour.
The union had said salaries for its members were less than those at other departments and it causes retention problems.
For example, an officer with five years of service in Youngstown makes about $37,000 annually compared to those in Canton, Lorain, Hamilton and Elyria making more than $50,000 a year and in some cases more than $60,000 annually.
“The steps are still an issue, but it’s not the major issue,” Anderson said. “It’s where we start at and where other cities and townships start their officers out. We’re still low. I’m hoping during the next contract we can tackle the starting wage issue.”
Mayor Jamael Tito Brown said, “One of the things we want to look at is to be competitive [in salary] with our safety forces. This is one step forward. This won’t be a stop. This will be a start.”
Councilman Nate Pinkard, D-3rd and chairman of the safety committee, said, “One of my concerns was the low starting salary and start to eliminate some of the steps. It’s a good start. We can’t do it all at once. I’d love to just have three steps, but we just can’t afford it.”
Also, these salary increases will impact ranking officers because they are paid based on what the patrol union receives. For example, a detective sergeant gets 15 percent more than a patrol officer, a lieutenant gets 15 percent more than a detective sergeant, and a captain gets 15 percent more than a lieutenant.