BARNEGAT – After more than three years without a contract, and some heated arguments, the township’s governing body and the police union have agreed on a new contract.
The last contract expired at the end of 2013.
The department had lost a few officers to other towns because of the lack of contract, said Patrolman James Purcell, president of the PBA Local 296. Many still remained, though, and did their job to the best of their abilities as expected.
“There was a lot of uncertainty while they were still giving it their all,” he said.
“This has been a long time coming,” Committeeman John Novak said, thanking the officers and people involved in the negotiation.
The new contract will run from Jan. 1, 2014 through Dec. 31, 2021.
The contract includes the following:
A 1.95 percent salary/percentage increase for each year starting in 2014 and going through 2021.
Retroactive pay shall be given for past years.
Officers reaching corporal status shall earn 10 percent above top patrolman pay.
Any officers in the bargaining unit starting their twentieth year with the township shall be recognized as corporal. There is a note in the contract that states this will make this “at least equivalent to the Detective First Grade that exists in the Supervisor’s Contract.”
Officer in charge pay will be changed so that it is only given to corporals who run a shift for two weeks or longer, rather than just covering a shorter vacation. However, corporals should not be used in place of sergeants if sergeants are available.
A change in the sick leave policy will state that any employee hired after Jan. 1, 2018, will have one working day off to be used for family illness.
Any employee hired after Jan. 1, 2018 will not be eligible for longevity pay.
Language was included to keep the employee contributions to health care stable, Purcell said. Barnegat officers will still not get benefits after retirement.
Sick time will be measured by the hour, instead of someone getting docked half a day for leaving an hour early, for example. He said this is in practice already, but the language makes it formal.