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Tonawanda extends police pact

A fourth year was added Monday night to the recently approved contract for the Town of Tonawanda Police Club.

Town Board members voted unanimously in favor of modifying the three-year pact approved at their Jan. 3 organization meeting. The contract now covers the period Jan. 1, 2009, to Dec. 31, 2012.

Had another year not been added, negotiations would have started this year for the town's next contract with the Police Club, which has approximately 100 members.

"We have a little breather with this bargaining unit," said Charles J. Naughton, director of labor relations.

Members of the Town of Tonawanda Police Club voted on the pact during a several-day period last week. A representative of the club couldn't be reached for comment Monday night.

The contract includes raises of 2.75 percent for each of the first three years, and 2.25 percent in the fourth.

Naughton said the contract includes "significant concessions" by the Police Club in health care coverage. They include a 20 percent contribution toward premiums by new, permanent full-time employees for their first four years on the job, with a lower percentage during the duration of their employment and into retirement.

Negotiations for the new contract began before the previous pact expired at the end of 2008. "It's not unusual for a contract to expire before they renegotiate a new one," Naughton said. "We went through at least 10 proposals on the town's side to get to where we are."

The Police Club had declared an impasse and two mediation sessions were held, according to Naughton; an interest arbitration session was scheduled for next week.

"In the meantime, we had had some informal talks," Naughton said.

At the Jan. 3 organization meeting, the Town Board approved salaries for nonbargaining unit employees, including the police chief, assistant chief and head of the detective bureau.

Each received a raise of 3.5 percent.

The chief's annual salary went from $112,735 to $116,687; the assistant chief from $101,513 to $105,072; and captain in the detective bureau from $97,340 to $100,752.

e-mail: jhabuda@buffnews.com

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