Borough, police union reach agreement on 4-year contract

NAUGATUCK — The borough and the Naugatuck police union have inked a new contract.

The four-year contract, which was approved by both parties at the end of December, is retroactive to July 2018 and runs through June 2022.

With some costs rising and others decreasing, the overall financial impact of the contract to the borough is estimated to be a net increase of $328,604, according to a cost analysis of the deal provided by borough officials.

Police officer salaries will increase by 2 percent the first three years of the contract and 2.25 percent the final year.

The contract also includes shift differential increases. Under the contract, patrol officers working between 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. and between 2:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. will receive a shift differential increase to their salary of 2 percent. Officers patrolling between 6:30 p.m. and 2:30 a.m. will receive a shift differential increase of 4 percent.

According to the cost analysis, the wage and shift differential increases combined are estimated to cost $411,832 over the life of the contract.

The contract also includes an increase to the amount the borough contributes to officers’ 401(k) defined contribution plan.

In 2011, the borough stopped traditional pension plans for new police officers. Any officer hired after the change is offered a 401(k) plan.

The increases in the borough’s contributions are given to the officers in steps, depending on how many years an officer has worked. They are expected to cost the borough $135,480 over the life of the contract, according to the cost analysis.

Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said the increases in the contract are to ensure that the borough is able to attract and retain the best officers.

The increases will be partially offset by expected decreases in other areas.

The cost of health insurance is estimated to decrease by $77,663 over the life of the contract, according to the cost analysis.

The contract requires police officers to participate in a wellness program, which includes going to a primary care doctor and getting any recommended preventive medical testing done. The requirement extends to an officer’s spouse, if the spouse is on the insurance.

Officers that participate in the program will pay 1 percent less in premium costs the following year. Those that don’t participate in the program will pay 1 percent more the next year, under the contract.

Hess said the expected decrease in healthcare costs is due to the implementation of the wellness program.

Lt. Colin McAllister, president of the police union, said implementing the wellness program was a “forward thinking” move since it encourages employees to stay healthy and reduces insurance costs for the borough.

“It is really a win-win for both sides,” McAllister said.

Under the contract, the borough also cut the amount it allocated for private duty assignments, such as when an officer directs traffic while road work is done. Over the life of the contract, the reduction is expected to save $140,000, according to the cost analysis.

Hess said the contract is fair, adding the borough and union both made concessions and gains.

McAllister echoed Hess’ sentiment, saying the contract was the culmination of a long negotiation.

“I think it was a fair deal that was struck that offers fair benefits and pay increases. It also looks forward to future of the police department to ensure we not only retain officers but attract new ones,” McAllister said.