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City Council unanimously OK’s new police contract with no wage increase

The 11-member Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM) and the City of Chelsea agreed to a three-year contract Tuesday night, Sept. 11, which includes no wage increases in the first year.

Both sides agreed to reopen the contract in 2013 and 2014 to discuss wage adjustments “if the economy improves and revenue sharing is restored,” according to the benefits package language.

“Our employees in POAM are to be commended for their willingness to make concessions in order to make the negotiation process a smooth and fair one for both sides during a difficult economic time,” City Manager John Hanifan said.

The employees share of the monthly medical insurance premiums increased to 20 percent, but they were given a one-time $500 signing bonus in the first year.

Also increased was the police officer’s cleaning allowance and their education achievement stipend. Both were increased by $150 in the first year.

Dispatchers were given a clothing allowance and will wear special golf shirts. They were also given a cleaning allowance of $200 per year paid out quarterly at $50 per quarter, something they’d not had before.

There is also a one-year lay-off protection clause for the first year of the contract.

Included in the second year of the contract is an additional increase of $150 in both uniform allowance and education allowance.

In the third year, the only new item is the possibility of wage increases.

Hanifan also praised POAM Business Agent Harry Valentine, Officer Dori Blackford and Dispatcher Dan Whitesall, Jr. for their work during the negotiation.

The new contract is expected to increase costs to the city by about $8,500 in the first year, $3,500 in the second year and nothing in the third year if there are no wage increases, Hanifan said.

The two sides had been working on a new contract since April.

The union met previously and ratified the contract that runs from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2015, and the City Council unanimously approved it without discussion Tuesday night.

Council Member Cheri Albertson moved the motion and Council Member Frank Hammer seconded it.

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