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City Police Appeal Hearing Set For March

The city of Jamestown’s attempt to appeal an arbitration panel’s ruling awarding Jamestown Police Department employees a raise will be heard next month.

According to the state of New York Supreme Court Fourth Judicial Department Appellate Division’s website, the appeal hearing has been scheduled for March 30.

Terence Michael O’Neil of Bond, Schoeneck & King is the legal representative for the city and Charles DeAngelo is representing the Kendall Club Police Benevolent Association.

Last April, the council approved appealing the arbitration panel’s decision made in 2018 in favor of the Jamestown Police Department union. The arbitration panel’s split decision called for a retroactive 2% pay increase for the police department employees in 2016-17

Last month, Eddie Sundquist, Jamestown mayor, told The Post-Journal he wants to restart negotiations with the police union. The new mayor, who was sworn in at the beginning of the year, said he was waiting for the Jamestown City Council to approve his corporation council appointment, Elliot Raimondo, before officially restarting negotiations. Raimondo’s appointment was approved by the council Jan. 27.

Last month, Sundquist said because the appeal process started before he took office he would not stop the legal procedure unless an agreement is reached between the city and police union prior to the hearing.

In April 2019, the state Supreme Court in Mayville ruled against overturning the arbitration panel’s ruling that awarded the Jamestown Police Department employees a 2% retroactive raise.

In November 2018, a three-member arbitration panel released its split decision, 2-1, on the issue of a 2% pay increase, with independent arbitrator Howard Foster and John Crotty, police union representative, siding with the police and Todd Thomas, former city clerk and administrative services director who represented the city, providing the dissenting opinion.

The arbitration panel’s ruling also had a split decision on a health insurance issue. Foster and Thomas approved while Crotty provided the dissenting opinion to change how much union members pay. As of Jan. 1, 2018, union members participating in the health and wellness program will pay 19% toward the total monthly premium for health and dental insurance. Also, if an active employee or retiree elects not to participate in the health and wellness program, their premium will be 26%.

The expired contract had union members who participated in the wellness program pay 17% and those who didn’t participate paid 22%.

All three members of the panel agreed that effective Jan. 1, 2016, any employee who has completed 17 years of service will receive a longevity payment of $3,000 a year thereafter, which is a $500 increase. Also, all three agreed the wording would change for the premium holiday contract clause by deleting the phrase “with less than 72 hours notice.”

The union had asked that officers receive additional pay when working on a premium holiday that they weren’t originally scheduled to work. Only officers who are called in for a premium holiday with less than 72 hours notice were receiving additional pay. Now, all unscheduled premium holiday call-ins, regardless of the amount of notice given, will result in additional pay.

To view the arbitration panel’s report, visit perb.ny.gov/compulsory-interest-arbitration-award-index/iaawards-18-19.

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