By Rosemary K. Otzman
The City of Belleville and its Police Department union have been negotiating for many, many months on the contract that expired June 30, 2011.
Cpl. Todd Schrecengost, president of the union, said Sunday that the union had been hoping to get some pay raises, but it didn’t happen.
However, the recently approved agreement does have a wage reopener effective July 1, 2014. Belleville’s Police Officers Association of Michigan local has seven members.
The city council considered the contract in closed session a few weeks ago and turned it down, Schrecengost said. Then, there were more negotiations and at the end of the March 18 meeting, following another closed-door session, the council approved the contract.
The four-year contract runs from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2015.
Schrecengost said there was a lot of heavy negotiation on the additions to the procedures for promotion to sergeant and establishing an eligibility list.
“We worked it out,” he said.
Currently the department has no officers with sergeant status.
The wording on the Temporary Part-Time Position section now states the maximum number of part-time/temporary employees at three and maximum time of 3,400 hours per calendar year, up from 1,700 hours in the previous contract. Also the procedure is now spelled out how these employees can be used.
Also, if an officer decides not to take the health insurance offered by the city, the officer will get $500 every month that the officer opts not to be covered, up from $100 per month in the previous contract.
According to the last contract, the first month the city begins saving money as a result of the employee opting off the health care plan, the city shall pay the employee an additional $100 as an incentive to participate in the program.
Cpl. Schrecengost was surprised to learn the extra $100 was still in the new contract, since Belleville City Manager Diana Kollmeyer said that $100 was coming out. The contract approved by the city council still has that wording in it.
Kollmeyer is on vacation and not available for comment on the contract.
The Independent obtained the language for the previous and present contracts through a Freedom of Information Act request.
There are other, smaller but important changes to the contract language.
When Cpl. Kris Faull’s grandfather died, it was discovered there was a problem with the old contract in the Bereavement Leave section. While time off was given for a variety of other relatives, there was none for grandparents.
Schrecengost said Kollmeyer agreed it was an oversight and it was changed.
Other changes in the new contract include:
• The employer shall pay 80% of the premium for health care coverage and the employees pay 20%. This actually was effective July 1, 2012, but it now has been added to the language on the new contract. Also added was that effective July 1, 2012, the retirees health care cost share will be the same as active employees.
• A new line added in said reserve employees need to adhere to all established rules and regulations.
• Deleted was the part in the old contract that offered reimbursement for part of the co-pays on 90-day prescriptions ordered by mail.
• The only change to the straight-time wage rates was the addition of a $16 figure for part-time/temporary employees. The other hourly rates remain at $17.92 for patrol officers on probation, $19.93 for 1-year patrol officers, $21.71 for 2 years, $23.44 for 3 years, $25.11 for 4 years, and $25.69 for corporal, 8 years. (In the former contract the top pay was recorded as $25.68, but that was incorrect and was paid as $25.69, Schrecengost said.)
The part of the former contract remains that requires as a condition of employment that those who are not members of the union need to pay a union service fee the same as the union dues. The city deducts the union dues or service fee and sends the money to the POAM office in Redford.
By Rosemary K. Otzman