County Reaches Agreements With Suffolk PBA, Suffolk AME And With All Unions On Health Care
For First Time in History, All County Employees Will Now Contribute to Their Health Care Plan
County Will Achieve Approximately $40 Million in Health Care Savings
Six-Year Contract with PBA Will Result in Lowest Raises for Officers in Decades
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced on May 8th, 2019 that the County has reached collective bargaining agreements with the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association and the Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees. The County has also reached an agreement with all County unions on health care. The three labor agreements will secure $40 million dollars in new health care savings and result in the lowest level of raises for Police Officers in decades.
“These agreements represent a major milestone that protect the taxpayer and are fair to the hardworking men and women who ensure our public safety and help operate county government,” said County Executive Bellone. “We have produced a framework that is realistic, affordable, and above all else, continues the efforts by my administration to enact significant cost-saving measures.”
Noel DiGerolamo, President of the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association, said: “The PBA is pleased we were able to reach a fair and equitable agreement with County Executive Bellone to provide reasonable pay and benefits for PBA members, and sustainable health insurance benefits for all County employees, while recognizing the fiscal realities of Suffolk County.”
Dan Levler, President of Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees, said: “We have worked very hard to negotiate a long-term contract that is fair to the men and women of Suffolk County AME, and it is our hope that it will be ratified overwhelmingly. This historic contract reflects the progress we can make when our workforce is strong and united. While every contract is the result of negotiation that will leave either side wanting more, this is a fair contract and moves our county forward. I want to thank County Executive Bellone for his commitment to negotiating a fair contract as well as our AME Negotiating Team for their hard work and countless hours of dedicated service.”
Health Care Savings
As the County Executive discussed during his 2018 State of the County Address, health insurance costs were the biggest financial issue facing the County. The rising cost of health care, which at the time represented 15 percent of the total county budget, has been on an unsustainable trajectory in part due to major medical, prescription and hospital costs. It is also a defining reason why the County Executive voluntarily chose to become the first county employee in history to pay into his own health care – 15 percent of his own health premium.
In order to curtail the rising health costs, the County Executive worked with all County unions to identify cost savings and plan design changes which will result in tens of millions of dollars in savings on an annual basis. All County employees will now contribute to their Employee Medical Health Plan for the first time in history.
The County negotiated a six-year agreement with the Suffolk County PBA that would result in the lowest level of raises for Police Officers in decades. Police Officers will receive average raises of 1.875% per year over the term of the contract.
Additional provisions of the contract include:
· The agreement maintains a 12-year schedule for Police Officers to receive top pay, while providing the same top pay to all police officers. This will save the County, over the term of the agreement, $434,000 per officer in base salary compared to the prior 6-step schedule, and $740,000 savings per officer with all salary and benefits included.
· The County will achieve $74 million in savings for every 100 Police Officers hired per year over 12 years.
· An annual increase in the benefit fund contribution of $225 per member beginning in 2020.
· Police Officers will be required to work an additional 14.5 days for the first year upon graduation of the Academy and 17 days the following year, which will save approximately $10 million dollars in overtime costs.
· An increase in longevity pay by $25 per year beginning in 2020.
· The number of usable sick days will be cut in half for new police officers.
· An increase in the stipend for Canine Officers.
· All officers will work an additional day by requiring firearm qualification to be completed on an off day.
· A cleaning and clothing allowance increase of $400 and $350 respectively.
· Cutting Mandatory Minimums on recalls in half from 4 hours to 2 hours and eliminating payments for meals and miles.
· A supplemental task stipend of 2.5% for the Precinct Crime Section, MedCat and Safe T teams.
· Last year of employment separation pay accrual will be pro-rated.