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April 03. 2014 10:42PM

Nashua police union close to contract

NASHUA — Police supervisors, who have been working without a contract since 2011, are one step closer to having a ratified bargaining agreement after an aldermanic panel supported the proposal.

A newly proposed contract between the Nashua Police Supervisors Association and the Nashua Police Commission was reviewed by the aldermanic Budget Review Committee on Thursday. The bargaining agreement, if approved, will run from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2015.

“This is the third go-around on this collective bargaining agreement,” said Attorney Stephen Bennett.

In November, the Board of Aldermen initially approved a prior agreement with the police supervisors, but Mayor Donnalee Lozeau vetoed a provision in the contract that would have allowed members to pay for retroactive health care costs using sick days. That original agreement, however, which included a combined 6.7 percent wage increase for sergeants and a combined 7.7 percent pay hike for lieutenants over a four year period, was never ratified and the unresolved resolution died at the end of last year.

The new contract includes the same salary and wage increases as before but does not allow members to use sick days to pay for retroactive health care costs — a concept that was strongly opposed by Lozeau and select aldermen.

Instead, Bennett said the retroactive health care costs — back to 2011 — will be funded through payroll deductions.

“A little over a year they will be paying back what they owe,” Bennett said of the police supervisors.

Under the proposal, 23 police sergeants will obtain a 1 percent wage increase in fiscal years 2012 and 2013, a 2.2 percent hike in 2014 and a 2.5 percent jump in 2015. The nine lieutenants will receive a 2 percent salary increase in 2012, a 1 percent raise in 2013, a 2.2 percent hike in 2014 and a 2.5 percent jump in 2015, according to the recommended agreement.

With the newly proposed salaries, Police Chief John Seusing said the department’s wages for supervisors would now be in line with other police departments of similar size.

Seusing said the supervisors have been working without a contract for nearly three years, adding he is hopeful aldermen will approve the proposal.

“Their dedication has not faltered one bit,” Seusing said of the 32 supervisors.

“I think it is very fair,” Alderman Ken Siegel said of the agreement, urging the committee to support the contract.

The committee voted unanimously to recommend final passage of the bargaining agreement. The full Board of Aldermen, however, will still have to vote on the proposed contract before it is officially ratified. It is expected to be addressed at the board’s next meeting, according to Alderman-at-Large David Deane, board president.

khoughton@newstote.com


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