Lakewood Board, Police Department Agree To Three-Year Contract

LAKEWOOD — Negotiations between the village of Lakewood and the union representing officers with the Lakewood-Busti Police Department have resulted in a new three-year contract.

The village Board of Trustees on Monday approved the collective bargaining agreement, which was successfully ratified with the Lakewood-Busti Police Department, CSEA Unit 6320, following several months of closed-session negotiations. The vote was unanimous, with trustee and former officer Ellen Barnes recusing herself.

According to a joint statement by Lakewood Mayor Cara Birrittieri and Deb Mueller, CSEA labor relations specialist, the new contract ensures that wages and benefit packages with the department are more in line with other departments in Chautauqua County, particularly that of the town of Ellicott.

This was a primary concern of Jarrett Reed, president of CSEA Unit 6320, who wanted to secure terms that would improve both retention of seasoned officers, as well as improve the ability to recruit top-notch officers who want to make a career providing police services for the Lakewood community.

“Mayor Birrittieri and Village Attorney John LaMancuso were able to find a good balance for the next three years through productive negotiations between themselves and the CSEA Unit 6320 negotiations committee led by Reed and Mueller,” the statement read.

Randy Holcomb, village trustee, said the new contract will go into effect retroactively beginning June 1, and will include retroactive pay under the new rates contained within through that day. The contract itself, which now only needs to be signed by the village board and police union to be officially finalized, will run through May 31, 2020.

Additionally, Holcomb said a retirement plan that included expanded benefits for eligible members of the police department was also approved during Monday’s meeting.

“That was something that was requested and that we worked to achieve,” Holcomb said. “The new plan contains certain benefits that (the police department) wanted, and we recognized that. Other local police departments have done the same and we wanted to make sure we matched them, so our officers would be equal with other departments in that area. Thankfully, the board and police union were able to come to an agreement.”