FH COPS GET NEW CONTRACT, RAISES

fhpd-hqFair Haven’s police force will get 2.5-percent raises this year and next. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

After eight months of negotiations, Fair Haven’s police force, minus the chief, have come to an agreement with the borough council on a new two-year contract.

The August 9 finalization was more of a gap than usual between contracts — largely because of the state’s fluctuating discussions on new property tax, retirement and benefits contribution regulations — but both sides are content, Mayor Mike Halfacre tells redbankgreen.

The 12 members of the local Policeman’s Benevolent Association, which had been operating under a contract that expired at the end of 2009, will receive 2.5-percent pay raises for 2010 and ’11, Halfacre said.

“There was a lot of back-and-forth,” he said. “We had had a couple of tentative agreements throughout the year, and something always seemed to trip us up.”

Still, both sides could have been happier, he added.

“There’s a mixture on both sides. I think some PBA members are satisfied to have a job. Others wanted more. Some council members are happy with it. Others wanted less,” Halfacre said. “I don’t think there’s a universal agreement at all.”

That being said, Halfacre put it into perspective.

“True universal happiness, I don’t think that exists,” he said.

The new contract will not affect the borough’s budget, he said, because the council had planned for raises. It did, however, fight for a fair compromise given the economy, Halfacre said.

“The borough was trying take as hard a line as possible,” he said. “We went in with some very, very low numbers.”

Halfacre didn’t have specific figures available, but said the union’s previous contract, which lasted from 2006 to 2009, included percentage raises “in the threes and fours.”

The lowest base pay for an officer is somewhere around $45,000, while the highest base is about $99,000, Halfacre said. Officers earn longevity, holiday and overtime pay, as well.