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Rooney hails new police union contract as a win for recruitment, retention

Participating in a ceremony to sign the new police union contract Monday morning is, from left, Officer Chris Silkman, First Selectman Terry Rooney, Officer Nick Franzago and Sgt. Mike Johnson, who is the union president.

MONROE, CT — First Selectman Terry Rooney held a signing ceremony in the Monroe Town Hall conference room Monday morning to finalize a new police union contract, which he says will help the town’s recruitment and retention of officers.

In the past, Monroe has spent time and money training its young officers only to lose them to other departments for higher pay and start the process all over again.

“There were a lot of concerns over Monroe’s ability to give, what I consider to be, appropriate raises,” Rooney said. “After looking at the numbers, I thought we could still give our police officers what they deserve and come out with a responsible budget for these times of high inflation.”

Monday’s ceremony included Sgt. Mike Johnson, president of the Monroe Police Union, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 50, and officers Nick Franzago and Chris Silkman. The contract will run through June 30, 2025.

“It’s a contract that has the ability to get us in the ballpark for recruitment and retention,” Johnson said. “It’s a good thing for all the officers here at the Monroe Police Department and the vote passed unanimously.”

Rooney said he is “very happy” that the Town Council had also unanimously approved the new contract.

Franzago said, “the Monroe Police Department is a tremendous place to work and this contract will allow us to attract even more qualified candidates and helps us continue to be one of the premier departments in Connecticut.”

Avoiding arbitration

Sgt. Mike Johnson, president of the police union, right, signs the new contract.

The first selectman said the police union and the town were about to go into arbitration over concerns with medical costs and school grants running out.

“It was very important to me to negotiate the contract with the police union — just sitting down and negotiating with each other,” Rooney said. “I have a high regard for the work that attorneys do and respect their input on all town matters, but it was my belief I could sit down and get this contract done with the town and the police department.”

He said an attorney’s advice was used throughout the process to ensure everything was being done correctly, adding everything went smoothly.

Rooney said it has been a difficult time for many police departments.

“Being in law enforcement, now more than ever, is a very difficult job that comes with harsh public opinions at times, but the police in Monroe have done an exemplary job and I believe they deserve this contract,” he said.

“I know what our officers do during the day and the nighttime hours, while we’re relaxing and getting ready for tomorrow’s work day,” Rooney added. “They’re out there protecting us, checking on neighborhoods and businesses and making sure we’re safe. I appreciate them.”

Aside from regular raises, Rooney said he believes increasing the top step of officers’ pay will help to retain officers, while creating an environment where they want to work for the town of Monroe.

Since this contract was approved by the Town Council, Rooney said the town added an officer who transferred from the West Haven Police Department and hired two new officers who will be training at the police academy in Meriden.

Raises

Police officer salary steps for 2022-23 (retroactive):

  1. $64,928.97
  2. $69,042.33
  3. $73,956.44
  4. $79,244.30
  5. $82,077.98

Sergeant steps:

  1. $87,002.78
  2. $91,107.01

Lieutenant steps:

  1. $96,573.39
  2. $101,128.37

Police officer steps for 2023-24 (retroactive):

  1. $66,877.07
  2. $71,113.63
  3. $76,175.20
  4. $81,621.75
  5. $84,540.51

Sergeant steps:

  1. $89,612.78
  2. $93,840.20

Lieutenant steps:

  1. $99,470.49
  2. $104,162.23

Police officer steps for 2024-25:

  1.  $68,883.38
  2. $73,247.04
  3. $78,460.52
  4. $84,070.45
  5. $90,076.58

Sergeant steps:

  1. $95,481.37
  2. $99,985.19

Lieutenant steps:

  1. $105,984.27
  2. $110,983.46

Overtime

Employees shall be compensated at the rate of one-and-a-half times their regular straight time hourly rate for all assigned work performed on an employee’s scheduled day off; and for all assigned work in excess of the normal work shift.

Employees shall be required to work overtime when requested by the commanding officer in charge.

Employees who are called back to duty for hours not contiguous with the start or end of their regular shift shall be paid a minimum of four hours at time-and-a-half.

Compensatory time in lieu of overtime is allowable upon an employee’s request provided it is authorized by the chief or his designee and provided all compensatory time is used within the fiscal year that it is earned.

The time off will be scheduled at no additional cost to the town. Any compensatory time earned and not taken will be paid out to the officer at the end of the year. At no time shall compensatory time accumulate in excess of 80 straight time hours, according to the agreement.

Off duty assignments

The signing of the new contract for Monroe’s police officers ends with a handshake for First Selectman Terry Rooney, left, and Sgt. Mike Johnson, the union president.

Officers doing off-duty police assignments for the town or the Board of Education will be paid one-and-a-half times the officer’s regular hourly rate of pay with a minimum of four hours.

All other work, effective July 1, 2024 will be one-and-a-half times the top step of lieutenant pay per hour with a minimum of four hours, which comes to $80.04 per hour.

All work on Saturday, Sunday, a holiday or any day through the hours of 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. or in excess of 10 hours shall be paid two times the top step lieutenant pay per hour, which comes to $106.71 per hour.

The minimum of four hours shall be paid in the event of the off-duty assignment being canceled by the contractor with less than two hours notice.

If the job is canceled due to a police department error or omission, the officer will be compensated for one hour overtime, plus overtime in 15 minute increments until considered off duty, unless the officer prefers to assume patrol duties for the remainder of a four hour overtime block.

A minimum of eight hours shall be paid anytime an officer works at least hour hours, but less than eight hours, for road construction only.

For all work other than road construction employees will receive a minimum of four hours of work and shall be paid hour-for-hour for any such work which exceeds four hours of work.

Holiday evening pay

All officers who work the 4 p.m. to midnight shift on New Year’s Eve and/or Christmas Eve shall receive compensation at twice the regular rate of pay.

If an officer on a late shift works overtime going into the next day, that time would be the normal overtime rate of time-and-a-half, according to the agreement.

During the terms of this contract, the union’s members agree not to participate in a strike, picketing, sit down, slow down or curtailment or restriction or interference of work, even temporary in nature, as it deals with the town of Monroe.

If the union sanctions any strike, the town may terminate the contract.

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