If you want to get a contract signed with the police quickly and cheaply, just get rid of the lawyers.
Mayor Gary Resnick said that was the key to Wilton Manors officials and the Broward County Police Benevolent Association [PBA], which represents the city’s police officers, agreeing on a new contract – officially approved by the commission at its Dec. 19 meeting. Commissioner Scott Newton abstained from commenting or voting because his son, Patrick, is a police officer with the city. Commissioner Tom Green, who was absent, also did not vote.
“Once we took the lawyers out of it . . . it worked in a very collegial atmosphere,” Resnick said. The mayor, an attorney, said the city saved tens of thousands of dollars by not dragging out the proceedings and paying additional attorney’s fees.
“I know we’re proud of this and the PBA is as well,” said City Manager Leigh Ann Henderson.
On Dec. 1 on its Twitter account, @goBCPBA, the PBA wrote “The Wilton Manors membership unanimously voted to approve a new three-year contract. Congratulations to our PBA representatives and the city of Wilton Manors for getting a great contact done for our members.”
PBA members will get a 1 percent cost of living adjustment each year of the contract and are eligible for a 0 to 3 percent merit pay increase.
Other changes include increases in hourly pay for private shift work and field training officer pay, an increase in the vehicle take home payroll deduction for officers who live more than 30 miles away, and additional vacation time after 15 years of service. There is also an increase in the top of pay ranges by 2 percent in year one, and increase bottom and top of pay ranges by 2 percent in years two and three.
For 2017-2018, police salaries and benefits cost the city $4.8 million. Because of the PBA contract, that will increase by $124,600 in 2018, $145,700 in 2019, and $155,000 in 2020.
Commissioner Julie Carson praised the contract and Vice Mayor Justin Flippen said he was glad to see it was “on parity with” the contract given to the general employees. In the past, Flippen said the city’s non-police employees should get similar raises as PBA employees because they are also important to running the city.