Trustees hired two police officers this week and expect to hire up to three more within the next two weeks.
The board approved conditional offers of employment Wednesday to Boardman High School alumni Christopher Costas and Michael Calautti, pending completion of background, drug and physical tests, said Trustee Chairman Brad Calhoun.
The township already has hired three officers since a police levy was approved in August 2011, and with recent hiring, trustees will be halfway to their campaign promise of hiring 10 police officers.
“We told [the public] 10, and we did tell them it would take us two years. If all goes well, we should have all 10 hired by somewhere around March,” Calhoun said.
The new hires bring the department to 53 officers, including the chief.
Trustee Thomas Costello said the board had planned to hire four officers Wednesday.
“We had a couple on the [civil service] list withdraw, and so what that did was throw the numbers off — because by law, we need to look at so many to hire so many. But we were still good to hire two,” Costello said.
An entry-level officer’s salary is $33,280 annually. After year one, it bumps up to $35,780, and then $37,780 after two years. Township Administrator Jason Loree said new hires are the only exception to the step-wage freeze in The Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association patrol union’s recent three-year contract. All other officers have wage and step freezes.
The patrol contract was finalized earlier this summer, and trustees recently reached a tentative agreement for a three-year contract with the OPBA rank union, which represents 13 ranking officers, that calls for a wage and step freeze throughout the contract.
The wage scale remains the same, with a sergeant receiving a $68,708.64 annual starting salary; lieutenants, $77,640.76; and captains, $87,734.06.
The department has two captains, three lieutenants and eight sergeants.
Loree said the rank contract had a $900 signing bonus and stipulates the ranking officers must pick up 40 percent of any increase in health-care costs.