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WARREN Cops get pay raise in contract

Published: Wed, April 24, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.

A one-year contract was approved in 2000 when police and other city employees took a one-year wage freeze.
WARREN -- A three-year contract between the city and the police union will cost about $332,000, city officials say.
Atty. Jonathan Dworkin of Amherst, who was the conciliator assigned to the case, released the binding report Saturday. Legislation to implement the agreement is on the agenda for the city council meeting tonight.
"Because we went to conciliation, it's a done deal," Gary Cicero, the city's personnel director, said at a finance committee meeting Tuesday.
The report recommends wage increases of 4 percent in each of the three years of the contract. The raises for the 42-member union are retroactive to 2001 and 2002 and for 2003.
Negotiations between the Ohio Patrolman's Benevolent Association and the city have been ongoing for many months. Talks broke off in January, resuming in February.
The previous three-year pact expired in December 1999. A one-year contract was approved in 2000, and police and other employees took a one-year wage freeze during the city's fiscal squeeze. Negotiations began in 2001.
Pay levels
Under the conciliator's report, police officers with three years or more of service will earn $18.58 per hour retroactive to 2001, $19.32 hourly retroactive to Jan. 1, 2002, and $20.09 hourly beginning Jan. 1, 2003.
Officers with up to one year of service will earn $13.01 hourly retroactive to 2001, $13.53 hourly retroactive to Jan. 1, 2002, and $14.07 hourly beginning Jan. 1, 2003.
Initially the union had wanted 4.5 percent increases in each of the three years of the contract but lowered the demand in February to match the 4 percent proposed by the city.
The conciliator also decided that the city will pay 5 percent of the employee's contribution to the police and fire pension and disability fund, effective July 1. Effective July 1, 2003, the city's share will increase to 6 percent of the employee's contribution.
The union had initially proposed the city pay 5 percent of the employee's gross wages for 2001 -- an amount that would have been larger than the employee's contribution to the pension and disability fund -- and 10 percent of the gross wages for 2002. The factfinder concurred with the union. The factfinder's report was issued in September and the city rejected it.
Mayor's reaction
Mayor Hank Angelo said the city has paid about $50,000 in attorney's fees.
The change in the pension pickup saved the city a considerable amount of money, the mayor said. He said the increases won't have any effect on the city's plan to hire new officers.
The contract will cost the city about $82,000 for 2001, about $104,000 for this year and about $146,000 next year. Auditor David Griffing said the money for 2002 raise was figured into this year's budget. Because the city hasn't hired police officers as quickly as it had planned, Griffing said there should be enough money in the budget to cover the retroactive raises for 2001.
The State Employment Relations Board appointed Dworkin as conciliator on Oct. 23.

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