Labor Negotiations Update
For the last five years, the City and the Rye Police Benevolent Association (PBA) have been in negotiations over a new labor agreement. Despite many attempts to resolve outstanding issues, we are at an impasse and have proceeded to binding arbitration. The last collective bargaining agreement between the City and the PBA covered 2003-2008 and resulted on average a 3% per year (15% cumulative) salary increase with no increased employee contribution to health insurance or other benefits. The PBA has proposed a 3% increase for two years, a 6% cumulative salary increase, with no increased employee contribution to health insurance or other benefits.
What It Means
Under such an agreement, the base patrolman top pay would increase from $84,712 in 2008 to $92,567 in 2011. If this same percentage increase continues to 2013, the new base pay would be $98,204. If the cost for Health Insurance and Pension is added to the patrolman top grade salary, the base compensation for this employee would rise to $144,630 in 2013. The cost of health insurance for a full-year family plan has increased from an annual premium of $16,524 in 2008 to $22,464 in 2013. The cost of the 36% increase has been absorbed by the City since officer contributions have been capped at 4% of gross salary during this period. This has decreased the percentage share of total health insurance expense paid by a patrolman from a contribution rate of 20.51% of a family plan premium in 2008 to a 15.08% contribution rate for a family plan premium in 2013. The cost for the City to maintain an officer in the New York State Retirement
System has increased from a pension contribution rate of 14.50 % of salary in 2008 (approximately $12,283 per year) to 28.40% in 2013 (approximately $24,058 per year).
The City’s Proposal
The City of Rye has proposed a fair wage increase in the range of 2% per year accompanied by increased employee contributions to health insurance and a more flexible step plan for new hires. The City's proposal reflects the current economic realities facing the City and is consistent with increases negotiated with other bargaining units in Rye and in neighboring communities. The range of salary increase that is possible will depend on whether certain options are chosen, such as adding a health insurance contribution for the 12 non-contributing officers (12 current officers) or a less than fully retroactive pay agreement. Salary increases are permanent and compound with benefits such as pension, overtime and holiday pay which are based on salary, and increase labor costs even further.
Other City Employees
Rye City Management employees and non-union employees have received the following modest changes in compensation: 2%, 0%, 2% non-pensionable bonus, 1.5% increase effective June 1, and 1.75% increase effective June 1st. The most recent settlements with the CSEA DPW covered 2010 and 2011, with a wage freeze for the first six months of the contract year. Wage increases were 2% per year. The CSEA Clerical Unit also has a 3-year agreement (2011-13) with a wage freeze in the first 30 months of the agreement term, with a 2% increase in the final 6 months. This agreement also increased the cap on the employees’ health insurance contribution to 5% of base pay. The UFFA (Fire Department) has a contract agreement, which has been expired since 12/31/09.
The City of Rye, in order to achieve financial sustainability, must find a way to balance dramatically increased benefit costs, along with higher salaries, while working within the mandated tax cap. That is why we continue to seek contracts -- not just for the Police -- that will lessen the impact of higher benefits costs. We esteem the contributions Rye employees make to our safety and well being; and we respect the need to limit the tax burden on Rye residents. Mayor French and the Rye City Council
1037 Boston Post Road Site Deal Finalized
The City Council has accepted an offer and agreed to terms to sell the City-owned property for $5.6M to a family-owned real estate company who would like to refurbish the building and rent to a high-end retail establishment. The sale once closed restores the City’s fund balances, maintains some parking, and puts the property back on the tax rolls.