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Jan 3, 2018 10:45 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town, PBA Ink New Contract Extension

PBA President Kevin Gwinn is pleased with the new contract.   PRESS FILE
Jan 3, 2018 11:05 AM

Southampton Town and its police officers’ union have ratified a four-year contract extension that’s retroactive to 2016 and awards officers 2 percent annual raises, but also requires that new hires start contributing to health insurance premiums—and all officers must agree to random drug testing for the first time.

At the Town Board’s last meeting in December, Supervisor Jay Schneiderman signed the memorandum agreement with the Southampton Town Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, whose members ratified the contract on December 9. It is retroactive to December 31, 2016, when the prior contract expired.

Town Board members previously had unanimously approved the contract extension, which also creates an additional two steps in the pay schedule—increasing the total amount of steps to nine—for the town’s 73 uniformed officers.

The additional two steps were added to the middle of the pay scale, and officers can only climb one step annually, according to PBA President Kevin Gwinn. “I’m very happy with the new contract,” he said on Tuesday.

The contract, actually the fourth extension of a contract penned in 2004, expires on December 31, 2020.

Officers will receive 2 percent annual raises, a decrease from the 3 percent raises they received each year under the prior agreement.

At the same time, newly hired officers will be required to contribute 15 percent toward their health insurance premiums, both during their employment and in retirement. Previously, police officers did not contribute to their health insurance plans.

Russell Kratoville, the town’s management services administrator, explained the changes to the Town Board during a meeting on December 21. Mr. Kratoville also stressed that the addition of the two steps in the pay schedule will help the town financially: “That is a fairly significant savings to the town.”

He explained that the introduction of the two additional steps will slow down the pace in which the department’s police officers receive secondary raises. Newly hired officers start with a base salary of $53,730, while the most senior officers—who have completed the nine steps—can earn up to $121,330 annually, he added.

“Now it takes longer to get from bottom to top,” Mr. Kratoville said.

In terms of health insurance changes, the town will now require that all new police officers pay 15 percent toward their health insurance premiums. A typical plan costs about $28,000, according to Mr. Kratoville, who added that the town should save $4,200 per plan, moving forward.

He noted that the town intends to hire two new police officers later this month.

Additionally, the contract extension requires that all officers be subject to random substance abuse testing up to four times per year by an outside and independent entity. Previously, only those officers working in special units—including the Detectives Division and Community Response Unit–were subjected to random drug testing.

On any given day, up to 50 percent of the police officers on duty will be selected to submit to a drug test, officials explained. Refusal to participate will result in immediate suspension of the officer and subsequent disciplinary action, which could include outright dismissal from the department, according to the memorandum.

Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said that he is pleased with the terms of the updated agreement.

“I think it’s a stronger contract than the current one,” Mr. Schneiderman said.

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All officers weren't already required to submit to random drug screening? Wow.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (5143), HAMPTON BAYS on Jan 3, 18 10:58 AM
1 member liked this comment
Random testing for all police, bottom to the top. All town employee using town vehicles should all be tested...
By knitter (1575), Southampton on Jan 3, 18 6:07 PM
1 member liked this comment
"A typical plan costs about $28,000". WQW, more than $2000/month. Too bad the local hospital and doctors that work for it aren't owned by the State University of New York, then our taxes supporting that institution could cover the health expenses of the local government workers.

Wait, what?
By dfree (621), hampton bays on Jan 3, 18 8:28 PM
Wow...look at that mug, anytime a rich municipality is this excited about a contract "its a good deal" for the guys that line their pockets. Sounds like this PBA guy negotiated himself something pretty sweet. Good for us tax payers, sorry coppers, this ain't candy land!
By NYIRISH (4), Mastic on Jan 4, 18 11:11 PM
Don't know why I continue to be amazed by the imbecilic comments on this site.
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Jan 7, 18 11:09 AM
1 member liked this comment
President Donald Trump asked his aides why the Medicare program couldn’t be dramatically expanded, according to Michael Wolff’s new book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”

Trump, Wolff writes, impatiently wondered aloud during a discussion about health care why the federally administered program could not be expanded to cover “everybody.”

‘Why can’t Medicare simply cover everybody?’
President Donald Trump, as ...more
By dfree (621), hampton bays on Jan 7, 18 2:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
This is what's wrong with government the whole Police Department gets a raise. Meanwhile they just paid out 300K to a alleged sexual harassment of a woman. Some of the people that allegedly did this to the lieutenant Costa are still employees. So we are going to reward them with a raise? Why not let it go to trial and see who is guilty and fire them
By chief1 (2585), southampton on Jan 7, 18 10:13 PM
Re-read the article, the whole Police department didn’t get a raise, just the PBA. The people in question that did the harassment and continue to are in the SOA, they are the bosses and administrators, and they did not get anything according to the article. I do agree though go to trial and fire those responsible.
By mrobin (119), North Sea on Jan 8, 18 9:37 AM
1 member liked this comment