Aurora -- A new three-year contract is in place between the city and its police sergeants, officers and dispatchers, represented by the Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.
The new contract grants a 1 percent salary increase for 2011 and 2.25 percent increase in 2012 and 2013, and health insurance deductibles will rise under a new "health reward credit program." The previous three-year contract expired Dec. 31, 2010.
After the union OK'd the new agreement, City Council approved it March 28, and Mayor Lynn McGill signed the ordinance March 29.
"The city has had a good relationship with its unions over the years, and I think this contract will be beneficial to the city and our employees," said McGill.
Police officer Jeff Bugara, who is the union representative for the officers, sergeants and dispatchers, was unavailable to comment on the new contract.
The mayor said the city initially had hoped to keep salaries for this year at the same level as last year, but accepted the union's request for a 1 percent increase. He said the higher salaries will cost the city an additional $17,000.
As of Jan. 1, 2011, sergeants will receive $33.84 per hour, or $70,387 per year based on 2080 hours. Starting Jan. 1, 2012, the rate will be 12 percent above the highest paid patrol officer.
The annual salary for a police officer 1 will be $64,875 in 2011, rising to $67,828 in 2013. A police officer 2 will rise from $59,592 to $62,296 and a police officer 3 from $54,267 to $56,742.
Salary for a dispatcher 1 will be $50,104 in 2011, rising to $52,128 in 2013; dispatcher 2 will rise from $48,570 to $50,532 and dispatcher III from $46,238 to $48,106.
The new wellness plan is another major change in the contract. It is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2012.
Deductibles will increase from $250 to $1,250 for a single person and $550 to $2,500 for a family, with employee participation in the "health reward credit program" being voluntary.
Those who participate will receive a credit of $500 per individual and $1,000 per family toward the deductibles if both the employee and spouse participate.
In addition, if employees abstain from using tobacco in any form, he or she will receive an additional $500 per individual or $1,000 per family credit.
McGill explained the wellness program includes various screenings offered once a year.
"We've offered these screenings in the past, but have had less than 50 percent participation," McGill said. "We're offering this new program to increase participation. We want medical conditions to be detected early before they become life threatening."
The mayor said early detection ultimately will cut the city's health care costs because employees would not have to go through expensive treatment.
"We believe that ultimately this wellness program will help save lives and will save the city money on its health care coverage," McGill said.
McGill said negotiations will get under way later this year with other unions representing city workers, except firefighters. Those contracts expire at the end of the year.
Phone: 330-688-0088 ext. 3155