After three years with no deal on the books, the Hoboken City Council will vote on a new, five-year contract for the police superior officers association at tonight’s meeting.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“We’ve been without a contract for the past three years, so we’ve looked to try and work with both the city and the citizens of Hoboken to change that. We negotiated a five-year deal that would be about a three percent increase per year,” said Police Lt. Ed Drishti, the Hoboken PSOA president.
According to a copy of the memorandum of understanding, which will be voted on by the council via a resolution this evening, the contract is retroactive and therefore runs from January 1st, 2018 through December 31st, 2022.
Salary increases for all PSOA members, which Drishti estimates to be 45 officers, will see a five percent increases for 2018, 2019, and 2020, followed by no increases for 2021 or 2022, according to the MOU.
Additionally, ranking officers that have already retired will receive their retroactive pay during the first pay period of 2022.
Also, the police supervisors will be placed on a tiered pay scale and moved to the top base pay for their ranks, which will be $118,399 for sergeants, $134,557 for lieutenants, and $162,833 for captains.
Hoboken has not had the rank of deputy chief for many years.
Drishti, who had also served as the PSOA president about a decade ago, took over the post again in June, pledging to his members that he would get a deal done by the new year.
When asked if he feels the contract has the support to pass, he said he remains optimistic.
“I hope it’s there. I have always considered Hoboken an oasis, an island, I don’t want to jinx anything, but our supervisors display the utmost professionalism,” Drishti stated.
“Our chief talks about us not facing a civil suit for seven years and that’s largely because of the work of our supervisors.”
2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher said that while she believes it’s time to settle the city’s labor contracts, this deal may not be the best one for the taxpayers.
“I 100 percent support finally settling our long overdue contracts with the city’s six labor unions. However, I am not surprised to see Mayor Bhalla put forward just one of the six that if approved, would not only cost taxpayers significantly more, but would also block the ability to move to the state’s health insurance plan and save taxpayers approximately $5 million annually,” she argued.
“An almost 10% potential tax savings flushed down the toilet by our mayor.”
In March, shortly after 79 employees received layoff notices, the council majority pushed to switch the labor unions’ contract to a state healthcare plan, though that never came to fruition.
According to city spokesman Vijay Chaudhuri, the contract “protects the best interests” of local taxpayers.
” … This contract not only provides our frontline public safety officers with a fair and just contract that appropriately compensates them for their efforts on behalf of our residents, but also protects the interests of Hoboken taxpayers and provides the City much needed financial flexibility, in a year where the City’s finances were hard hit by the COVID-19 health crisis.”
The city council ultimately approved the contract unanimously (9-0).
Editor’s note: This was updated after the council approved the measure on Wednesday evening.