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Standard-Times staff writer
September 23, 2008 6:00 AM

FAIRHAVEN - Veteran police officers stand to earn raises of better than 11 percent under the terms of a three-year contract recommended by a state-level review board, town officials announced Monday night.
The contract now must be accepted by Town Meeting members at a special Town Meeting in October.
After reviewing material from both the town and the Police Department, the state's Joint Labor Council decided on the following three-year contract, according to Executive Secretary Jeffrey Osuch:

  • In fiscal year 2008, all officers receive a 3 percent raise retroactively. In fiscal 2009, officers will receive a 3 percent to 4 percent raise, depending on their step. On July 1, 2008, all officers who have worked for the department for five or more years will receive a 2.5 percent increase. On June 30, 2009, all officers with eight or more years with the department will receive a 2.5 percent raise.
  • Wages are reopened in fiscal 2010.
The council also approved an increase in the paid detail rate for fiscal 2008, from $34 an hour to $37, and then another $1 increase in that rate for fiscal 2009, Mr. Osuch said.
The town's request for "light duty" - that injured officers be required to work in whatever capacity they are capable while healing - was included in the council's recommendation, according to Mr. Osuch.
For example, if an officer were to break his leg, the police chief, depending on what jobs were available, could assign that officer to another duty, such as answering the phones in the station, until the leg was healed, according to Mr. Osuch.
Town Meeting voters can vote to fund or not fund this contract, Mr. Osuch said. If Town Meeting votes against funding the contract, negotiations will be reopened.
Police Chief Gary F. Souza could not be reached for comment Monday night.
The town's Fire Department has also requested a hearing before the state review board, Mr. Osuch said.
All such hearings are held before a three-person panel; two of the three people who decided on the police contract will also be hearing the town's fire contract, according to Mr. Osuch.
The special Town Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 29; all articles must be submitted to Town Hall by Oct. 1.
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