The town of Bedford and the Bedford Police Benevolent Association have ratified a Memorandum of Understanding that will lead to a new contract retroactive to January 1, 2009 to be effective through December 31, 2012.
The new deal, approved by the town board on September 7, does not include a wage increase during the initial year of the contract. During the second year, officers will receive a 2 percent increase; in the third year, a 2.75 percent increase, and a 3.625 percent increase in 2012, the fourth and year.
The new contract terms do not require the police to make health care contributions.
"We had hoped to change that," said Bedford Supervisor, Lee Roberts. "But a zero percent increase in the first year shows they understood the economic realities and wanted to help the town."
The negotiations included three or four meetings sessions between September 2009 and June of 2010. After an impasse was declared last winter, a mediation session was scheduled.
Roberts characterized the sessions as amicable. "We did not want to go to arbitration, which is expensive, and lets an third party make decisions."
The agreement was ratified by the Police Benevolent Association prior to the town board vote. PBA President, Officer John Dunn, could not be reached to comment.
Other features of the new contract terms include moderate increases in "longevity payments," which are made based upon length of service. An officer with five years in the department would see an increase from $600 in 2009 to $750 in 2012; a ten-year veteran who received $850 in 2009 would receive $1,000 in 2012.
In addition, the town will make moderate increases in the amount it contributes to officer life and eye insurance premiums and uniform cleaning allowances.
The police department employs 40 full-time officers and in 2010 had a budget of approximately $4.7 million.