COLTS NECK – A new contract between the Township Committee and the union that represents every police officer in the Colts Neck Police Department with the exception of lieutenants and the police chief has been signed.
Beginning in September, representatives of the township and the union negotiated the terms of an agreement that will run from Jan. 1, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2021. The previous contract ran from Jan. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2017.
A memorandum of agreement was made between the parties on Dec. 27. The contract was signed on Feb. 28 by Mayor J.P. Bartolomeo, PBA President Rich Zarrillo and PBA delegate Morgan Savage. Township Clerk Beth Kara signed the contract as a witness.
Township Committeeman Russell Macnow, who was Colts Neck’s mayor and PBA liaison in 2017, Township Administrator Kathleen Capristo and Chief Financial Officer John Antonides represented the township in the negotiations.
Zarrillo, Savage and Sgt. Brian Caswell represented the union in the negotiations.
The new contract includes a pay raise for police officers, an adjustment to health insurance plans and the elimination of longevity pay for new hires.
The base level salary for police officers for the length of the contract has increased from $36,865 to $42,000. The salary structure is divided into 16 pay grades, with the highest pay grade being for sergeants, and each level of the salary structure has an increase.
Longevity pay is a contractual agreement that gived employees credit for the number of years they have worked for the police department. Macnow said the state has been pushing municipal officials to eliminate longevity pay and that has now been done for employees who will be joining the police department from this point forward.
Health insurance changes include implementing full dental benefits and adjusting the voluntary waiver program which allows officers who have other health insurance coverage to receive a payment in lieu of receiving health insurance from Colts Neck. Beginning with the new contract, new hires will not be eligible for the voluntary waiver program.
“We put time and effort into these negotiations, we met many times, we had back-and-forths,” Macnow said. “Ultimately, with our PBA reps, our business administrator, our CFO and with the advice of counsel on both sides, we are able to put an agreement together which will carry us forward … I am happy we were able to do this in a collaborative way. We did it the right way and I hope other negotiations will follow suit.”
“I would like to thank Committeeman Macnow and our representatives for completing this agreement,” Bartolomeo said. “I am really glad it was done in 2017, it took a little bit off my shoulders (as mayor in 2018). To the PBA, thank you for making the town what it is.”