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Published: Thursday, 4/3/2014

Sylvania Township police get new contract, 3 pay raises

BY NATALIE TRUSSO CAFARELLO
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Sylvania Township has reached agreements with members of the township Police Department for a three-year labor contract.

The agreements came after help from an appointed fact-finder.

Retroactive Jan. 1, the contracts provide a wage increase this year of 3 percent and provides 2.75 percent raises for each of the next two years for members in the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association Sergeant and Lieutenant union for command officers and for the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association Patrol Officers.

The third union, the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association Dispatchers, Secretaries, and Clerks, will receive a 3.5 percent increase the first year, 3 percent in 2015, and 2.75 percent in 2016, to be what township officials say is in line with pay rates of comparable nearby communities.

Over the three years, the pay increases will cost about $635,000 total. The average pay for a patrol officer is $64,834, $72,883 for a sergeant, $82,035 for a lieutenant, and $53,788 for a dispatcher, officials said.

At this week's township Board of Trustees meeting, trustees accepted a fact-finding report after discussing it in executive session for more than an hour. Officials said the unions had accepted the contract.

“I think it is a fair contract, both sides gave a little and gained a little, and it is always good to clear up language," said Susan Wood, township assistant administrator. "We want to keep our police department comparable to other departments with the same size, and we always look at the comparable.”

Union leaders referred questions to legal counsel, who did not return calls seeking comment.

The last three-year contract with the bargaining units expired Dec. 31. The contract covers 59 members; the department has three others who are not in the union. Under the prior contract, the employees received a 2 percent increase the first two years and 1.5 percent in 2013.

In the new contracts, union employees 10 percent share of insurance premiums has not changed from the previous accord. The police department’s 2014 budget for wages and fringes, estimated at $5.9 million, will be adjusted to reflect the wage increases.

The new contracts also outlined that the pay grade “step” schedule, based on experience, would change over time to take place in one-year increments for new hires rather than every six-month units. Employees will be eligible to donate accrued sick time to others within the department who are or have an immediate family member experiencing a serious injury or illness.

A fact-finder was called in because the bargaining had reached an impasse, township administrator John Zeitler said.

"We agreed on certain things, but could not agree on wages, insurance, discipline, and a leave donation policy,” he said.

Appointed by State Employment Relations Board, the fact-finder, William C. Heekin, intervened in the negotiations in March.

Officials said Mr. Heekin struck a compromise between the parties. 

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or ntrusso@theblade.com, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.  



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