The agenda for Tuesday's Town of Orangetown Council Workshop meeting includes the discussion of a resolution approving a contract agreement between the town and the PBA (Patrolmen's Benevolent Association).
Orangetown Police Officers are currently working under their contract from 2010 and the process was in arbitration, but the settlement could be voted in this month.
The proposed settlement would apply for retroactively to Jan. 1, 2011 and run through Dec. 31, 2015. The terms of the contact would not change from the 2010 deal except for salary increases, which would be as follows:
- 2.25% for 2011
- 2.25% for 2012
- 2.35% for 2013
- 2.45% for 2014
- 2.50% for 2015
The full resolution is attached to this report under the backup materials for Tuesday's workshop. It is signed by representatives of the Orangetown PBA and three members of the Orangetown Council -- Councilmen Tom Diviny, Denis Troy and Paul Valentine.
"It's a settlement proposal with a certain amount of agreement," said Orangetown Supervisor Andy Stewart. "The PBA agrees to it. At least there of the town council members have said they agree with it."
Stewart and Councilman Tom Morr have not committed to supporting the agreement. Stewart said it is unlikely that the settlement would be voted on at the next regular town board meeting June 12 because one member of the council is expected to be absent.
He said it was possible that there would be presentations by the PBA and the Orangetown Finance Department Tuesday, but that was not confirmed yet. He also expected it to be a topic of discussion at the June 12 meeting.
"It's a discussion," Stewart said. "Everybody will say what they think and see what their understanding is. I would guess it's not actually going to come to a vote next week. One member will not be there and we'd probably end up with a split vote. We have to hold this vote with a full board."
Stewart said his concern with the agreement is the length of the deal.
"We shouldn't sign for five years," Stewart said. "I don't want to give up the opportunity to negotiate next year. I don't think it is in the best interest of the town to agree to a five-year contract with the salary increases that are indicated in that deal. We face a difficult dilemma. Public safety is the most important thing. It is also the most expensive thing. We're in a predicament.
"I don't see this settlement as really fair or the best solution. The more the price tag on policing escalates, the fewer police officers we can afford. Right now we're at 83 and we're pretty bare bones. We had 90 not that long ago."
One reason the town might accept the settlement is the concern over even higher salary increases that might come with binding arbitration. In arbitration, the contracts of bordering towns such as Clarkstown and Ramapo are taken into account. Earlier this month, the Clarkstown Police approved an agreement with the Rockland County PBA on a five-year contract that calls for 2.5% salary increases every year.
"One of the problems with arbitration is it's comparative to adjacent towns and others have more money than Orangetown does and they pay their police a little more," Stewart said. "Not a ton more, but a significant amount.
"Our officers work as hard and are just as good as Clarkstown and Ramapo. They feel they should get the same amount of money."
The full agenda and supporting materials for Tuesday's workshop are attached to this report.
The agenda includes a discussion of Rockland County pushing the expense for local students attending SUNY schools outside the county onto the town governments. It is something the county has been paying for. Check back with Patch Tuesday morning for a blog entry from Stewart on the subject.
Project graduation funding will also be discussed.