McCARTHY AND RBPD GET CONTRACTS

s-mccarthyRed Bank Police Chief Steve McCarthy at a West Side Community Group meeting in November. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Steve McCarthy just got himself some job security.

For the first time in borough history, the Red Bank council entered into a contract with its police chief, locking up McCarthy for the next five years.

“It protects the individual. It protects the municipality, and it alleviates guesswork out of what you’re supposed to do,” Mayor Pasquale Menna said. “We want him to stay for five years. Or more.”

The council also endorsed an agreement good through 2013 with the union for the 38-member police force.

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M’TOWN COPS REACH DEAL TO SAVE JOBS

hot-topic rightBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Middletown’s police department will stay intact, after the second and last remaining police union in contract negotiations with the township came to an agreement on a four-year deal over the weekend.

Policeman’s Benevolent Association Local 124, following the lead of the department’s other union, Superior Officers Association, struck a deal with the township that will save six jobs that were on the chopping block.

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PARKS AND REC JOBS LOST; TOP COPS SPARED

hot-topic rightBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

In a last-minute deal Friday, one of the Middletown’s two police unions came to an agreement that will save four department jobs, while the other got an extension through the weekend to decide whether to accept a deal to preserve six positions.

Meanwhile, a handful of parks and recreation employees retired and nine others were laid off after their bargaining unit failed to strike an agreement with the township, said Mayor Tony Fiore.

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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.

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GRIEVANCE FILED, AND OTHER COUNCIL NEWS

kevin-tauro-grievanceKevin Tauro, right, delivered a formal grievance to borough Administrator Stanley Sickels Monday night. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Upset with the unilateral implementation of a blanket furlough program, a representative from one of Red Bank’s two government employee unions delivered a formal grievance to the borough council Monday night, and vowed there’d be more to come.

Kevin Tauro, who represents the blue-collar Communications Workers of America union local, filed a policy grievance with the borough, saying that it violated terms of its collective bargaining agreement. He also said he’ll file an unfair labor practice lawsuit with the state.

“I’m very disappointed in the mayor and council. I thought you’d have a little bit more respect for your workers,” he said.

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FURLOUGH FRIDAYS IN RED BANK

furlough-signBorough hall visitors are being notified by a sign taped to the door that offices will be closed while workers are furloughed. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Now that the borough’s budget is in effect, Red Bank employees will, beginning Friday, find out the full meaning of the f-word.

That is to say, they’re getting their workweeks trimmed three times this summer, part of a borough-wide furlough program dictated by the $19.2 million budget, which was approved at a special meeting on Friday.

The temporary layoffs get started this Friday, and all borough offices, except for the police department, will be closed.

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FINAL BUDGET HANGS ON CWA FURLOUGHS

art-murphy

Council President Art Murphy conferred with Attorney Tom Hall during Tuesday night’s special meeting on the budget. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Red Bank Council introduced amendments to its $19.2 million proposed budget at a special meeting Tuesday night that was over so quickly it was as if the six council members were double-parked out on Monmouth Street.

Of course, the meeting might have been prolonged by input from the public, but there wasn’t any.

Instead, the council will likely adopt the spending plan, which carries a 2.3 cent tax increase per $100 of assessed home value over last year’s rate, on June 14. That means for a property assessed at the average $405,522, tax bills will go up by $93, said Frank Mason, the borough’s financial officer.

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UNION FURLOUGHS, SATURDAY PARKING OK’D

tauroKevin Tauro, who represents borough employees, gives the Red Bank council an earful Monday night. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

[Editor’s note: This article was updated at 12:50p to include a comment from the PBA and a copy of the PBA press release, below]

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

On a night that the borough’s budget was to be adopted, Red Bank officials instead made other financial news by announcing that free Saturday parking will become a thing of the past and police will take furlough days in order to fill a wide budget gap.

And despite the borough’s other union refusing to accept furlough days, the council will impose them anyway in order to avoid laying workers off, said Mayor Pasquale Menna.

In all, the borough will see a savings of $33,000 a day by furloughing its 178 or so employees for three days each, said Councilman Michael DuPont.

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TAX HIKE, FURLOUGHS IN RED BANK BUDGET

stanley-sickelsBorough Administrator Stanley Sickels gave an overview of Red Bank’s budget Monday night. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

In an effort to shrink its budget, Red Bank won’t pick up the cost of police overtime associated with the annual KaBoom! fireworks show this year, officials said Monday night.

They’re also looking at imposing 10-day furloughs for all borough government employees except crossing guards, leaving a vacant police captain’s job open and withholding raises from non-union employees.

Still, all that won’t enable them to hold the line on taxes.

As proposed Monday night, Red Bank’s $19.2 million spending plan will carry a 2.3 cent increase per $100 of assessed property value — from 46.2 cents in 2009 to 48.5 cents this year. The 2009 budget totaled $19.5 million.

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ST. NICK MAKES AN EARLY ARRIVAL

rb-santaRed Bank Patrolman Mike Zadlock, er, Santa Claus, made a visit to the Jackson house Monday night to drop off toys as part of the police department’s toy drive. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

He ditched the reindeer and sleigh for a convoy of lights-flashing cruisers. And instead of wiggling down the chimney in the middle of the night, he simply knocked on doors just after dark.

Nevertheless, Santa Claus did what Santa Claus does best when he made an early visit to some select Red Bank families Monday when he showed up with a sack of toys and other gifts with his pals from the borough police department in the annual Policemen’s Benevolent Association toy drive.

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