In a 6-1 vote, the Waterford Township Board of Trustees ratified a Michigan Association of Police (MAP) contract at a meeting held on Monday, Oct. 22.
The four-year contract, effective Jan. 1, 2013, applies to community service officers, crime scene investigators, full- or part-time detention officers, and part-time patrol officers. It excludes supervisors and all other employees.
Part-time officers will be eligible for only wages, not benefits.
Concessions were made by the union, so eligible employees will now contribute 1 percent to retiree health care costs.
“The police association and our police officers in the department have been very astute in understanding our revenue stream situation,” said township Supervisor Carl Solden. “Their cooperation is appreciated. It speaks volumes of their dedication to the community.”
Eligible employees will pay the difference in health care benefit costs once the maximum health benefit is met. The township, in keeping with the requirements of Public Act (PA) 152, chose to enforce the hard cap on health insurance contributions. Now the maximum benefit per family is $15,000; per couple, it’s $11,000; and per individual, it’s $5,500.
Once the maximum benefit is met, the employee must pay the difference.
“That’s a $1.2 million annual savings with employees contributing, except for (firefighters), who are still under their old contract,” Solden said.
Sick days are now capped at 9 days and 6 hours per year.
A wage freeze will be in effect for the duration of the contract, with a wage reopener in 2014 and 2015.
“That is only if the economic conditions improve,” Treasurer Margaret Birch said of the reopener.
“The wage reopener is for the union, but not the township. I would like that changed to both the township and union, but basically they shoved it down our throats,” said Trustee Anthony Bartolotta, who was the only board member who voted against approval of the contract.
The union also agreed to submit for compensatory time off four days prior, unlike before when this process was not mandated.
Human Resources Director Lou Feurino said the capstones of the contract are getting control over the cost of benefits.
“Getting control of sick, comp time, wages and PA 152 are all huge,” Feurino said.
With the general election only two weeks away, Bartolotta said that the contract should have been approved by the new township board.
“They should have a say in this since they will be stuck with this contract for four years,” he said.
However, Solden said the intent was to approve the contract prior to the election.
“Money for the special assessment district for police will be going to new police officers, not into the pocket of those already there, and that’s why we wanted to get this settled prior to the election,” Solden said.
The township agreed not to subcontract or relocate work currently performed by the union’s employees, except in cases of emergency, but for no longer than 60 days.