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Police unions have contracts, get pay hikes

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The unions representing the Ogdensburg Police Department’s lieutenants, sergeants and road patrolmen have 2012-13 contracts that, although recently settled, will expire at the end of this year.

Both relatively new agreements expire in eight months, and city officials could find themselves negotiating the next round of contracts as soon as this summer.

The Police Supervisory Unit that represents the department’s two lieutenants and five sergeants settled their agreement last month. According to its terms, the lieutenants’ salaries retroactively increased 4.4 percent for 2012 and rose by 3.7 percent this year.

The sergeants’ salaries, meanwhile, rose retroactively by 4.49 percent for 2012 and are up by 3.82 percent this year.

The department’s 20 patrolmen represented by the Police Benevolent Association got a 2.75-percent salary hike. Their agreement was reached in December.

The new contract’s pay increases are significant for the sergeants because it raises their salaries further above a highest-paid patrolman’s base pay.

Before 2012, according to City Manager John M. Pinkerton, the 2.75-percent raise for patrolmen negotiated by the PBA thinned the salary gap between the uniformed officers and their supervising sergeants. That discouraged patrolmen from taking exams to become sergeants and, in some cases, prompted some of them to seek employment elsewhere.

Five patrolmen in two years went to the Massena Police Department and the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department, according to Chief Richard J. Polniak Jr.

“We had to fix that problem,” Mr. Pinkerton said.

In the new contract for the sergeants, the 4.49 percent salary increase for 2012 is $56,170, which is 7 percent above the top patrolman’s base pay of $52,495.

For this year, the salary is $58,254, which is 8 percent above the $53,939 top patrolman’s pay.

Mr. Pinkerton said the PSU salary increase cost the police department $19,000.

The cost to the city for the PBA’s agreement was unavailable.

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