PLATTSBURGH — After five years without a contract, the city of Plattsburgh and Plattsburgh Police Local 812 are close to reaching an agreement, but the city council has yet to intervene.
“When I was in the campaign and invited to come and speak to the members of this union, I specified that there were several things that I would address as mayor: departmental succession planning, better transparency between the department and city hall, and their expired contract,” city mayor Christopher Rosenquest said in a news release.
“THEY DESERVE THIS CONTRACT”
“My office and this department have gone hand in hand since I took office and they know where my heart is. Finalizing this deal, even through difficult conversations, shows the partnership we have developed.
“Change is difficult for some, but the fantastic women and men of this police service have embraced these changes with open arms. In fact, many have been the driving force behind what they believe is needed for years,” Rosenquest said.
“It’s refreshing to work with this department. I trust them and they deserve this new contract.
The tentative agreement, which runs until 2025, came just days before the city finalized a five-year tentative agreement with IBEW (municipal lighting department workers) and nine months after the agreement was ratified. agreement of the American Federation of County Municipal Employees by the Common Council and the members of this union.
As with Local 812, the AFSCME contract had also been outdated since 2017, and the city had to pay more than $650,000 in retroactive payments to update that union contract.
“Three down and one up,” Rosenquest said.
“This first year and a half of my administration has been a mix of cleaning up old stuff and promoting a very progressive and innovative agenda. It hasn’t been easy, but we are creating positive and meaningful momentum for our city and at the same time closing the books on a number of these unresolved issues.
After several rounds of stalled negotiations, an impasse was declared and mediation was requested. After two meetings with a mediator, the agreement in principle was reached to the satisfaction of all parties.
“Negotiation is a give-and-take. The city has given and taken away. The union has given and taken. City taxpayers, business owners and commuters should know that we put a lot of effort into this for the good of the city, PD employees and community stakeholders,” Rosenquest said.
“It’s a good contract for all of us.”
Plattsburgh Police Department Local 812 Union President Cpl. we reached an agreement between the mayor and the city of Plattsburgh to settle a long overdue contract”.
“This contract has been in the works for five and a half years with no results so far. Members have worked on 2016 wages and will receive a living wage. Union members are grateful to Mayor Rosenquest and the City of Plattsburgh for d working with us to settle this long overdue contract.
This agreement in principle provides for a retroactive payroll increase of 1.5% for active, retired or disabled employees for the years 2017-2021. The contract also includes a provision for payroll increases of 1.5% for the years 2022 to 2025. To improve competition and labor retention, the contract increases the base salary for employees first-year employees as well as modest increases for long-term employees.
Under the tentative agreement, the city will owe PD employees more than $1.17 million in retroactive pay and benefits covering the five years of missed raises due to the expiration of the contract.
“The impact of canceling these contracts not only deteriorates trust with our employees, but also creates unnecessary financial burdens,” Rosenquest said.
“Due to the two largest unions being so far out of cycle, the city had to spend nearly $1.7 million between 2021 and 2023 to update them. I don’t think that’s the way a city or municipality should do business, but that’s what we had to deal with when we took office.
The tentative agreement allows retroactive payments to be split into two instalments. The total 2022 payroll for the city’s PD will increase by $143,000.
“Due to the nature of this process and because it did not go as smoothly as expected, we did our best to ensure that the Board remained informed and kept up to date at every turn. Finalizing this deal has taken a little longer than expected, but I think we are all ready to breathe a collective sigh of relief after five years without a contract for this unit,” Rosenquest said.
As with all negotiated contracts, the Plattsburgh City Council will need to approve the deal, which is on the agenda for Thursday night’s meeting, which begins at 5 p.m.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Gibbs (D-Ward 3), said Rosenquest’s press release, which detailed the deal, was released to the media before she “had time to see what the contract negotiations were.” .
“The last communication we received from the mayor was June 18. It was a generic email that said there were ‘give and take’ and that more updates would be forthcoming,” said Gibbs.
“I’ve never seen a press release put out the document before the board had a chance to review the changes. Such a violation of protocol puts the board in a very precarious position if we have a problem with an element of the negotiation that prohibits us from approving it, then the board becomes the villain of the community.
Gibbs added that the long-term financial impact of the deal is an area that remains unclear.
“I cannot speak to the substance of the proposal at this time as it is a confidential document, but I cannot see what the financial impact of these changes will be in the long term. Apart from salary arrears, there will most definitely be other costs that we need to understand before approval,” she said.
“These are the things the board needs to know before a final vote. and since these proposed changes will require research by the board to compare the changes, this also puts us in a very difficult position. Overall, I find this approach very disrespectful of us and our duty to the city. We are a multi-million dollar organization making decisions in the dark.