Johnstown OKs police contract

JOHNSTOWN – The city has a new contract with its police union that calls for 2.7 percent average annual pay raises through 2016.

The city’s last contract with the 22-member Johnstown Police Benevolent Association expired Dec. 31, 2009. But officials from both parties have worked out a new deal that was ratified by the Common Council on Monday at City Hall.

Action on the pact followed a 15-minute, closed-door executive session to open the council’s regular meeting.

“I personally think this is a contract that is fair to the employees and the community,” Mayor Sarah Slingerland said.

The new contract had already been agreed to by the PBA. Officer Eric Johnson, union president, couldn’t be reached for comment this morning.

Second Ward Councilman Chris Foss read the resolution noting the new contract and its accompanying memorandum of agreement that was hammered out. He said the agreement runs about seven years and is retroactive to 2010.

Slingerland said the fact it is still a long-term deal that now runs until 2016 is a “real plus” for the city. The average hike in wages is about 2.7 percent during the length of the contract, the mayor noted. She said a few police officers made changes in their health insurance coverage, which assisted in the strengthening of the fiscal situation involving the contract.

The mayor indicated City Treasurer Michael Gifford feels the new PBA contract is “fiscally manageable.”

Slingerland thanked the PBA negotiating team, Gifford, and city labor attorney Elayne Gold for getting the deal done.

Talks between the city and the PBA had been at impasse. Both sides had met with a state Public Employment Relations Board-assigned mediator in December, and both sides at the time said talks went well.

The last three-year contract between the city and the PBA was approved in September 2009, but it was retroactive to 2007 and only lasted until the end of 2009. Since then, talks were delayed and impasse was declared. The last contract provided officers annual raises of 3 percent to 3.5 percent.

A 2 percent wage increase for union personnel in the city was built into the adopted 2013 city budget.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected].

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