Oswego signs five-year contract with police; pay increases 30%; shifts go to 12 hours; overtime reduced

OSWEGO – The city and its police have come to terms over a new five-year contract that raises pay 30% over its term while gaining cost-saving and efficiency concessions that will moderate the contract’s final cost, according to Mayor William Barlow.

A five-year patrol officer currently makes $67,000, according to figures provided by the city. Under the new contract, the same patrol officer will eventually earn $90,000. In exchange for the increase in wages, the police union, the Lake City Police Club, agreed to other items that would save the city money to help fund the raises. The city and union agreed to eliminate shift differential, holiday pay, changes in overtime call-ins and distribution, an insurance waiver reduction, and an increase in employee health insurance contributions. Monetary payouts for unused sick time were also eliminated for new hires.

According to Barlow, the most difficult negotiating item was the city’s desire for 12-hour shifts.

“After extensive discussions back and forth and working out several other points of discussion,” Barlow said, “we were able to come to an agreement that is a win-win for both our officers and the city. The 12-hour shift allows for more police officers on patrol at one time, allows the administration more flexibility and capability to hold special details and initiatives and more foot and bike patrols because we’ll have more people on at one time. We also expect the shift change to drastically reduce the amount of overtime.”

Foot patrols, bike patrols, special initiatives and enforcement details previously were conducted on overtime, according to a city press release. The reduction in overtime will help offset officer’s pay increases, the release noted.

Under the new contract, police officers will pay more towards their health insurance. Presently, officers pay 15%, 20%, or 25% towards the cost of their coverage depending on contract and hire dates. The city picks up the rest of the tab.

For those who pay 15% of their annual healthcare insurance premiums, the city pays $10,306 for an individual or $27,865 for a family.

For those who pay 20% of their annual healthcare insurance premiums, the city pays $9,700 for an individual or $26,226 for a family.

For those who pay 25% of their annual healthcare insurance premiums, the city pays $9,094 for an individual or $24,587 for a family.

Barlow said that under the new contract, the percentage police officers pay towards their annual healthcare insurance premiums will increase 1% in 2023, 2024, and 2025.

Pensions were not part of the contract negotiations, Barlow said.

The Oswego Police Department currently employs 45 police officers.

“I am beyond proud to deliver significant raises to the men and women in uniform who serve and protect our community each and every day,” Barlow said in a press release. “The Oswego Police Department is a vital component to our revitalization efforts and have stepped up to do tasks and functions that other police departments don’t do. Simultaneously, police officers around the country have endured challenging times recently and I want our officers to know, without a doubt, the Oswego community backs the blue, respects law enforcement and appreciates their service,” Barlow said.

Kevin Hadcock, president of the Lake City Police Club said, “this contract is a win for both the members of the LCPC and city residents. Concessions on both sides allowed us to come to a mutually beneficial agreement. The new schedule will allow us to better serve the community and engage in community outreach. Although we will now be working more hours, the wage adjustments make us competitive against comparable agencies giving us the ability to recruit and retain the best officers. We would like to thank Mayor Barlow for collaborating with the union throughout this process and his continued support of our membership. The members of the LCPC are fortunate to work for a city where the residents and elected officials recognize the important work that we do daily.”

The new contract received unanimous approval from the Common Council and will go into effect on Jan. 1.

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