Record Staff Writer
City Council approved a new, two-year contract for the Roswell Police Officers Association Thursday that included a pay increase and other incentives in a positive step toward encourage retention, councilors said.
“When the city can come together with the police department or any collective bargaining unit and address the issues that are important to employees, it’s a step in the right direction,” Mayor Del Jurney said.
Negotiations between the city and the police association went smoothly, said Detective Jeff Prince.
“We were happy,” Prince said. “City Council was able to make a nice offer for us. It has stalled out before. This time, it didn’t get to that. We were able to work out a solution. I have to hand it to the City Council. They had some ideas nobody discussed.”
The contract calls for a 2 percent raise to employee salaries, with an extra 75 cents an hour for those who work the 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift and a $1 an hour raise for those who work 9:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.
Detectives will make $50 more a month and officers who are fluent in another language approved by the police chief will also be paid an extra $50 a month.
All officers will receive a $1,000 payment in December. The contract also has built in retention pay in three, four and five years.
“It is basically everything we discussed,” said Human Resources Director Sheila Nunez. “I think we’ve come to a very good agreement.”
The contract approval is expected to make a difference in officers’ paychecks by mid-September.
Councilor Elena Velasquez said she hoped the incentives would help the department.
“I feel like it is something police officers can look at in such a positive way,” Velasquez said. “It’s something they can look at to stay longer.”
The department recently reported that nine officer positions remain vacant.
Jurney was encouraged by the contract negotiations.
“It really made a positive impact and created a positive direction for future negotiations,” Jurney said.