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City Floats $6.5M Bond for Police Contract

Deal includes five years of retroactive pay.

Long Beach Police Department headquarters. (Credit: Joseph Kellard)
Long Beach Police Department headquarters. (Credit: Joseph Kellard)

The City Council will vote later this month on a proposed $6.5 million bond to finance retroactive payments to Long Beach police, who have worked without a contract since 2008.

A legislative memo announcing the proposal in the council’s Dec. 3 agenda reads: “This bond issue is required to pay the mandatory retroactive salary payments pursuant to an arbitration award to the PBA, going back a period of five years that they were without a contract.”

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After negotiations between the Police Benevolent Association and the city reached a stalemate, the city council in September 2012 granted an arbitrator permission to award a seven-year deal instead of a contract covering the first two years as required by state law.

On May 29, 2013, Arbitrator Arthur Reigel decided to award police the seven-year contract that runs from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2015, including five years of back pay. The first three years of the contract will each include a pay increase of 3.75 percent, a 3.5 percent increase for 2011 and 3.15 percent for each of the final three years.

The council will vote on the $6.5 million bond proposal at its Dec. 17 meeting at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 1 W. Chester St.
Robert Demarco December 03, 2013 at 08:00 AM
No wonder Long Island and its localities are going broke. Unions and arbitrators are slowly strangling the life out of the Island.
Castles Made of Sand December 03, 2013 at 08:54 AM
You have to laugh to keep from crying when you see stories like this. Another $6.5 million bond! Five years of back pay. It's a compounded 25+ percent increase. In a related story about the City Council agenda posted yesterday, you can bet more people will turn out to the City Council meeting concerning off-street parking for a hair salon and getting the City to pay up for those East End holiday lights. It's incredible how unsustainable the finances in LB really are. Why suffer the slow painful bleeding till bankruptcy. Give them 20% raises, give every city employee 20% raises. Give the East Enders a million dollars in holiday lights, build a parking garage for that hair salon. It's only money. Forget Bitcoin, let's start our own currency. Seashells, yeah, maybe that's the ticket.
Robert Demarco December 03, 2013 at 10:20 AM
As long as there are politicians seeking votes and arbitrators seeking favor with unions, this stuff will continue. As much as I disagree with the level of salaries, the union is just doing its job to represent its members. It is the politicians who trade votes for contracts, and the arbitrators who foul the entire system.
Long Beach Chuck December 03, 2013 at 02:19 PM
The City is floating a bond issue it can't afford, while at the same time they are wasting money on "holiday" lights on the Boardwalk. Do you really think that people are coming here to see these lights and are going to slap down tight money in the City?
Eddie December 03, 2013 at 02:32 PM
"Pay me now, or pay me later". Each administration knew it was spending money it didn't have when it failed to establish a contract in 2008. Since then, was the Department managed to save money? Was overtime managed? Headcount? Were retirements budgeted? While fools can blame the organization, the police or the arbitrator, the blame rests solely with management. Take it a step further and it lies on the voters. You get the government you deserve. This is what you have elected.
Castles Made of Sand December 03, 2013 at 03:27 PM
Eddie and Robert, I disagree. If the union is just "doing its job to represent its members", then the blame also falls on the police officers as well. If it is their intention to collect as much pay as is humanly possibly from taxpayers in the form of current salary, and now back pay, and lifelong pension and health care, then shame on them for doing this to the residents of Long Beach. There are plenty of professions that not only accepted no raises, but accepted salary decreases to stave off bankruptcy. Delta pilots took a 14% cut. Why?, because they knew they were just as overpaid as our police and didn't want the company to fall. There is a big difference between government and private unions. Private sector unions fight to get workers a bigger share of the profits that THEY helped create. Government unions earn no profit and generate no income. The PD in Long Beach couldn't care less about another $6.5 million dollar debt about to be dumped on us. They're all waiting to retire to some state with lower taxes and better weather. Well, good for the PD I suppose. The men and women on the job figured out that it's great gig and if they didn't belong to the union that is screwing the taxpayers, somebody else will. There are very good people in the PD in this City, but come on, this didn't need to be done. Long Beach is so screwed. Pray that the housing market turns around so you too can abandon ship before it goes down. Oh, and Eddie, you don't get the government you vote for. No one ever does.
Robert Demarco December 03, 2013 at 03:58 PM
Companies like Delta cannot raise fares indiscriminately to increase revenue or they would be non-competitive. Unfortunately, municipalities raise taxes to pay the bloated salaries, and you are right, the rank and file do not care. But once again, the union has to justify its existence, and the dues charged to members, by wringing every dollar out of the city. The geniuses that run Nassau want to do the same thing, and borrow to pay for it, because they will not raise taxes. So all this does is kick the bill down the road so the next set of politicians can suck up to the unions and lie to the public.
Eddie December 03, 2013 at 04:18 PM
Castles, you make a good point. But a police officer, who works to support his family, watches the City Council pay itself full time wages and benefits for three hours work a week. That officer watches the City Council fire 20-year garbage men so it can hire two dozen political hacks in new $150,000 jobs. He watched the City Council give $60,000+ bonus payments to its management, many of whom were on the job for less than a year. Now, what cop seeing that is going to say, "I better not get paid so much, or else the City might run out of money".
Eddie December 03, 2013 at 04:22 PM
Let's remember too that the cost of the Police Department to the taxpayer is determined not by the Union or by the cop but by the City's management. The City could say, "Okay, you won a 27% raise so we are reducing the headcount by 27% because we don't have the money". Will the City Council do that? That's a choice management has to make. But it doesn't look like the people you elect like to step up to the hard decisions.
Castles Made of Sand December 03, 2013 at 04:42 PM
How many other bonds and what sum are we presently paying down?
Jack December 03, 2013 at 05:47 PM
The way around this is to disband the LBPD and go to Nassau County PD. Detroit just declared bankruptcy and will reduce payments to city workers. LBPD is not thinking about the future- they will help bankrupt the city.
anonymous December 03, 2013 at 06:59 PM
The judge's ruling in Detroit today could be the death blow to public sector unions that we have been hoping for. In a perfect world LB should declare bankruptcy, void these ridiculous union and non-union contracts and move on. Nassau County isn't that far behind so by the time they've gone bankrupt then the public service salaries will come back to earth. Don't the idiots at PD headquarters and City Hall see the sheer stupidity of BORROWING money to pay salaries and back pay? That is the epitome of incompetence all around.

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