While the local police union isn’t happy about it, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop says “the taxpayers prevailed” when an independent arbitrator settled their contract dispute yesterday.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
â€œThis is not a day where we say that we won, but rather that the best interest of the city, its residents and the taxpayers prevailed,â€ Fulop said in a statement.
â€œWe have negotiated successfully with six of the cityâ€™s other unions to adopt measures that correct many of the outdated contract provisions and worked productively with the
unions for the benefit of their members and the public. Unfortunately, the POBA chose a different route and an independent arbitrator was required.â€
The bad blood between Fulop and the Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association recently boiled over when about 50 officers protested a re-election fundraiser for the mayor at Liberty House last month.
Fulop hit back the next day, saying that some of the union’s complaints were unfounded, noting that crime has actually been down in the city without a chief.
In his own statement, Jersey City POBA President Carmine Disbrow said Fulop “should be ashamed of himself” for the way this contract negotiation played out.
â€œWednesdayâ€™s decision by a Christie appointed arbitrator is a continuation of eight years of attacks Trenton has waged against police officers,â€ stated Disbrow.
â€œSteve Fulop should be ashamed of himself for aligning with these divisive politics and refusing our overtures to come to the table and engage in real discussions about how best to move the Jersey City Police Department forward.â€
The city received the vast majority of their asks from the arbitrator, including the state-mandated two-percent cap (summer vacation time being converted to bonus days will be phased out), only one officer per month can receive tour exchanges and limits the number of officers that can use compensatory time at once.
The new deal, approved by James W. Mastriani, that impacts around 700 officers says those eligible for raises in 2018 and 2020, when the contract expires, will not receive that extra compensation.
Instead of a raise, those eligible officers will get an additional $750 in 2018 and another $850 in 2020.
Additionally, paid sick leave has been curtailed, with an officer out on paid sick leave for a year now having to return to the job for at least six months before using paid sick leave again.
Furthermore, the city also noted that longevity for new hires, from January 1, 2017 onward, has been switched to a flat rate schedule instead of a salary percentage.
They also said the new deal will save taxpayers $1 million a year due to healthcare policy changes.