Borough board approves new police contract

NAUGATUCK — The Board of Mayor and Burgesses approved a new three-year contract Thursday with the police union, giving the union’s 58 members a 7.7 percent raise over three years while saving about $269,000 in health care costs in the same time period.

“Consistent with the previous agreements that we’ve done, we’ve gotten significant concessions,” Mayor Robert Mezzo said. “We want to thank the bargaining unit for their time and dedication in getting the agreement done.”

Union members will receive a 2 percent raise this fiscal year, a 2.5 percent raise next fiscal year and a 3 percent raise from July 2014 to June 2015. The raises are slightly higher than those recently given to the clerical workers’ and visiting nurses’ unions to compensate for the fact that police officers do not receive Social Security in the state, according to Mezzo.

The cost of the contract over three years, figuring in wage increases, overtime, clothing allowances and health insurance savings, is nearly $456,000, according to a fiscal analysis by Controller Wayne McAllister. The fiscal analysis does not include long-term savings from changes to the retiree health plan, according to Mezzo.

Currently retired police officers receive health benefits at no cost, but officers who retire after 2017 will have to pay a percentage. Those who retire five to 10 years from now will pay 5 percent, and required contributions steadily increase until they hit 25 percent for those who retire after June 30, 2037. Officers hired after July 1 of this year will have to pay 50 percent of their retirement health benefits.

The premium cost shares for union employees in preferred provider organization health plans will increase from 8 percent to 11.5 percent over the life of the contract. Employees hired after July 1 of this year will pay 25 percent over the next three years.

Premium cost shares and deductibles were also raised for employees in high deductible health plans. They now have to pay 25 percent of their deductibles, but that portion increases to 50 percent over three years.

“All officers play an integral part of a fantastic team that has transformed the Naugatuck Police Department into one of the most effective law enforcement units in the state,” Mezzo wrote in a statement. “We are grateful for the contributions to Naugatuck on a daily basis, the sacrifices made by each and every one of them and their family members, and their willingness to reach a reasonable and more sustainable agreement that will benefit Naugatuck taxpayers, particularly with regard to future health expense obligations.”