EGG HARBOR CITY — City Council voted Thursday night to settle contracts with police and city workers, giving them an average 1.5 percent per year pay increase for three years.
The police contract allows the city to stabilize the budget for officers’ base salaries, now at almost $1.1 million, said Mayor Lisa Jiampetti.
The contract gives increases of 2 percent the first year, 1 percent the second year and 1.5 percent the third year to officers with 10 years of experience and those who have achieved the rank of sergeant, lieutenant and captain, but not to those below those ranks. The city has a 13-member department.
The chief’s salary is negotiated separately and is not part of the contract.
“We asked them to keep the steps (for salary increases based on years of experience and rank) the same for current officers, but to rework them for new officers,” Jiampetti said. “They decided in lieu of that to rework them for everybody and give raises only to the top.”
In addition, the probation period for new officers, with its lower pay, is now a year compared with six months, Kahn said. Probationary salary for 2014 is $38,926.
It is followed by Step 2, at $43,288, and each step up (corresponding to years of service) then carries an increase of about $5,000 to $6,000 per year, up to $84,393 for Step 9. Those steps will stay the same for the next three years.
Sergeant pay will rise from $98,546 to $101,025 in 2016; lieutenant pay will go from $102,488 to $105,065 in the same period; and captain pay will rise from $106,587 to $109,268.
While the total budget for base salary increases from $1.027 million to $1.077 million, the retirement of a captain last year and his replacement by a new officer allow actual spending to decrease to an anticipated $1.013 million, Kahn said. That’s a savings of about $14,000, she said.
The city last negotiated a five-year contract before the recession hit, and police have received 3.5 percent to 4 percent pay raises per year for the last five years, Kahn said.
Teamsters Local 331 represents 12 blue collar and administrative workers, Kahn said. The budget for their base salaries will increase $11,694, from $529,375 in 2013 to $541,070 in 2014.
Local 331’s members will receive 2 percent, 1 percent and 1.5 percent raises over the next three years, said local President Marcus King.
“While we’re not that excited about just walking away with an average 1.5. percent, these are tough times with the public sector,” King said. “We represent other towns and county workers, and I think it’s on pace (with others).”
King said Local 331 settled with Atlantic County in December for 2 percent increases over three years, is in the midst of negotiations now in Brigantine, and will start negotiations later this year in Hamilton Township.
Teamster members often get hit hardest when there is a downturn, King said, since as mostly blue collar workers they don’t have high salaries to begin with, “yet those are the guys who are working out in snowstorms and bad weather,” he said.
King said nothing else in the contract changed.
“The city was not looking for other givebacks,” he said. “We accepted we’ll save the fight for another day when things are better.”
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