WARREN POLICE Fact finder recommends supervisor raises



A recommendation is that police supervisors pay a portion of their health care.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- A fact finder has recommended that the police supervisors' wages increase 3.5 percent in each of the next three years.
City council members are expected to have a special meeting next week to either accept or reject the report. Union members unanimously approved it Tuesday.
The contract with the three police captains, six lieutenants and 12 sergeants expires at year's end. Sergeants now earn $23.22 per hour; lieutenants, $26.71 hourly; and captains, $30.71 per hour.
The city had proposed 3.5 percent increases in 2004 and 2005 and a 2 percent increase in 2006.
"As far as we're concerned, it's a win-win," said Capt. Tim Bowers, associate member of the Fraternal Order of Police Ohio Labor Council.
Bowers, who's been negotiating police contracts since 1991, also complimented Gary Cicero, human resources director, and Brian Massucci, also of the personnel department, for their professionalism during negotiations.
"There was more of a cooperative effort than I've ever seen," he said. "There was a real give-and-take process going on. There were lots of issues traded back and forth, and on some, we argued intensely but professionally."
Health-care coverage
Regarding health-care coverage, David M. Benjamin of Aurora, the fact finder, recommends that a modification in line with what was approved as part of the contract with the Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees last year be included in the contract with police supervisors.
The change calls for employees to make a 10 percent copayment for hospitalization and prescription coverage for incurred charges for those participating. The city will pay the remaining 90 percent of the costs. The union had wanted to maintain health insurance with no copayment.
For pension pickup, the union had wanted the city to pay 6 percent of the employee's gross wage, which is now paid by the union members themselves, to the State of Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund in each of the contract's three years.
The union had listed the fact that the police patrol officers and AFSCME unions and nonbargaining employees already get that benefit.
The city said that it fought against the patrol officers' unions getting the pension pickup benefit and that other unions had made concessions to receive it.
Agrees with city
"The fact finder recognizes the city's position that this benefit should be bargained for, and believes that for the association to obtain it, the city should receive something of value in return," Benjamin wrote.
He pointed to the health-care change as the benefit in the contract's first year. Under Benjamin's recommendation, implementation of the pension pickup will be done partially in the contract's second year with the remainder following in the pact's final year.
Benjamin recommends that effective January 2005, the city pay 3 percent of each union employee's gross wage to the pension fund. On Jan., 1, 2006, the rate paid by the city increases to 6 percent of each employee's gross wage.
"The fact finder believes the 'staging in' of this benefit will cause its value to more closely approximate the value of the health plan benefit modification," he wrote.

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