By Brian Messenger firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — METHUEN — The city’s 69 police patrolmen will receive a 10 percent raise July 1 under a new contract approved Monday.
The City Council approved the three-year pact by a 6-2 vote. Voting against the contract were Jeanne Pappalardo and Ron Marsan. Both councilors promised during their election campaigns last year not to vote for tax increases while in office.
Abstaining from the vote was Chairwoman Jennifer Kannan, whose son is currently in the police academy.
The contract runs from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2014. City officials have said the 10 percent raise is equal to the pay cut patrolmen received in 2009. The contract does not include any back pay.
On Monday, Mayor Stephen Zanni told the City Council the 10 percent raise was offered to patrolmen in exchange for reductions to their education incentive pay increases, a concession that will eventually save the city “almost $1 million,” according to the mayor.
“Something big was given up,” Zanni told councilors. “That’s going to add tremendous savings over time for the city.”
Patrolmen and senior officers in Massachusetts have received education incentives totalling as much as 25 percent of their base pay under the Quinn Bill, a state law passed in the 1970s. Under the Quinn Bill, payment of those incentives were split between the state and municipality. But cities and towns have been left to cover the full amount since 2009, when state lawmakers stopped funding the bill.
The current education incentive is a 10 percent raise for earning an associate’s degree in criminal justice, a 20 percent raise for a bachelor’s in criminal justice or a 25 percent raise for a master’s in criminal justice or a law degree.
Under their new contract, patrolmen hired next year will instead receive a flat increase of $2,000 for an associate’s degree, $4,000 for a bachelor’s degree and $6,000 for a master’s degree. Patrolmen who receive the existing Quinn bill-era incentive will continue to get it.
Zanni has said savings from the change will be not be felt for a few years, or until patrolmen currently with degrees begin to retire.
Other provisions under the contract include a $1,200 stipend for patrolmen who pass an annual fitness test. Uniform cleaning allowances will be increased from $700 to $900.
There are 69 patrolman positions budgeted at a total cost of $3.1 million in the current fiscal year budget.