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New DeKalb police contract creates tiered pay scale

DeKALB – DeKalb police officers new union contract creates a two-tiered pay scale, changes longevity pay and sets pay increases for the next two years.

DeKalb aldermen approved a three-year contract with the Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council Local 115, which includes 55 police officers. The contract runs from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2016. The police union has approved the contract, although it has yet to be signed.

The previous contract expired June 30, 2013, and the union has been negotiating in good faith with the city since. The newest contract is the first one since 2006 that has not ended in arbitration.

City Manager Anne Marie Gaura thanked those involved in negotiations for their patience.

"On behalf of city management, I would like to thank the FOP and and the employee team for working with the city on this agreement," Gaura said.

As with any negotiation, this contract is the result of give and take, said Todd Wells, officer and president of the union's executive board.

"I would say, based on how negotiations started and what was important to our membership, we're comfortable with where we are now," Wells said.

Police officers will receive a retroactive 2.5 percent raise as of July 1, 2013; another 2.5 percent increase July 1; and another 2.5 percent increase July 1, 2015. The raises are the same as included in the previous contract.

New officers will be subject to a different wage scale under the new contract, however. Previously, it would have taken an officer four years to get to the highest level of pay for a patrol officer, which will be $39.17 an hour, or $81,473 a year, beginning July 1. It will take new hires seven years to reach that level.

Sergeants are the highest-level of officers covered under the contract, earning $45.31 an hour, equal to $94,244 a year, as of July 1.

New officers also will fall into a different longevity pay scale than their veteran counterparts. Longevity pay will begin in the fifth year of employment for new hires rather than year three and will move from $21 to $10 a month.

Under the previous agreement, the amount of longevity increased by $7 annually until 27 years of service where it was capped at $175. It will increase by $10 annually under the new contract and end at 30 years with a maximum payment of $260.

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