New Castle, Police Union Reach Accord on New Four-Year Agreement

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The Town of New Castle announced Monday morning the terms of a new four-year agreement it has reached with members of the town’s police department.

The agreement, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2014, will give the current 36 members on the force an across-the-board 1.75 percent salary increase each of the next four years, Town Administrator Penny Paderewski said. It also decreases the annual increase in longevity bonus from $500 to $100 a year.

The town board voted to accept the agreement at its March 12 meeting but did not release the details of the deal until after the Police Association of New Castle, the bargaining unit for the department’s members, ratified the proposal.

Paderewski said the town’s negotiations was a balancing act to reward the police for the job they do for the town but also to be fiscally responsible to taxpayers.

“It’s been a very good working relationship with our police department, particularly the PBA,” she said. “We wanted to recognize that but we also wanted to be responsive to our residents.”

Given the pressures created by the state’s tax cap, a key issue for the town was to insure that any increase would be under 2 percent, Paderewski said. She said it also helps that the agreement was reached well in advance of the current deal’s end to give officials some cost certainty.

In its last four-year agreement that will expire on Dec. 31, police received raises of 2.25 percent each in 2012 and 2013, which followed increases of 2.65 and 2.50 percent in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

However, there will be no change in the level of contribution from the police officers toward their health insurance plans. They will continue to pay 15 percent throughout the life of the new agreement. Paderewski said that was a concession the town needed to make in order to reduce the salary increase.

There were no other changes made from the current agreement.

Messages left for Police Association President Kelly Close were not returned on Monday.

The town and police union have entered into Memorandums of Agreement that govern contractual matters between the two parties since the expiration of the last collective bargaining agreement at the end of 2003. The parties agreed to an MOA for 2004, which was then modified in a five-year agreement from 2005 through 2009 that was reached following arbitration.

The new MOA will be the second consecutive four-year agreement.


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