It took arbitration two years ago for the town and the Law Enforcement Alliance of Southington to come to an agreement on a new contract, but efforts this year ended more favorably for both.
Southington has come to an agreement with the alliance on a new, four-year deal that will provide a two percent annual increase in general wages, effective on July 1, as well as adding a new rank and incentive program designed to help the retain officers.
“There is no such thing as a contract where everyone walks away completely happy, but this is an agreement that both sides believes is fair given the economy and we are grateful to have come to an agreement on this,” said Garry Brumback.
The agreement was reached in June and ratified by the Southington Town Council and members of the alliance. It became effective retroactive to July 1, 2012, although language in the contract is still being finalized, Brumback said.
One of the biggest changes in the contract is the step scale system, which is designed to reward officers for staying with the department. Previously, officers received a pay increases during only the first three years.
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They will now receive increases after one, three, five and 17 years as an officer. The purpose of the plan is to help provide retention incentives, union officials said.
In addition, the new contract adds the title of master sergeant to the ranks with an added pay increase of $2,500 for those promoted.
John Dobbins, chairman of the council, said the town benefits from the contract and praised those involved in negotiations for coming to a mutual agreement in a professional manner.
The real win, however, is avoiding arbitration so that both parties can focus on their real goal: serving the community and the residents of Southington.
“Both the town and our police aspire to provide the best service we can for citizens we serve,” Brumback said. “Contract negotiations by their nature are adversarial and time consuming. To do this without arbitration is the biggest win for both sides.”
See the complete summary in the attached PDF above .
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