News Item:
New Lower Merion police contract voted on by commissioners
12/21/2012
LOWER MERION TOWNSHIP, PA — Lower Merion police will have a new labor contract with the township at the beginning of the year, pending the approval by the 14–person Board of Commissioners Wednesday night.

The new contract calls for a 3.5 percent pay increase in 2013, 2014 and 2015. In the final year of the four–year contract there will be a slightly different structure for the pay increase. As of Jan. 1, members of the department will see an increase of 2 percent and then on July 1 there will be another increase of 1.75 percent.

The 2012 annual base wage for a probationary police officer without Act 120 certification is $50,550 and with Act 120 certification is $56,668. Starting in January, the annual base wage for a probationary police officer without Act 120 certification will be $52,320 and with Act 120 certification, $58,652.

"I believe the board of commissioners will approve this tentative and union ratified labor agreement," Lower Merion Township Manager Doug Cleland said during a phone interview.

According to FOP officials, the contract had overwhelming support from the members who ratified it early last week.

"I think they (the members of the FOP) were satisfied and their expectations were reasonable in this economy and this climate which is tough for public employees and I think I represent a group of officers who have realistic expectations and they appreciated the pragmatic approach the union took with the township," said Gavin Goschinski, president of Lower Merion FOP Lodge 28.

The two sides negotiated during approximately 50 hours of face to face negotiations to get a deal hammered out before the old contract expired.

Along with the salary increase, there is also an annual $50 increase in uniform cleaning allowance in 2013 through 2016. In 2013 that will put the allowance at $900 and then $950 in 2014, $1,000 in 2015 and $1,050 in 2016.

Another benefit under the new contract will be the adoption of newer state standards for retired police officers who work longer than 25 years.

For police officers who have been in the department for 26 years, he or she will be eligible for an extra $100 per month as part of their pensions. For each additional year of service beyond that 26th year, the member will get an additional $100 for each year up to 30 years. So for an officer who has worked for 30 years the increase would be an additional $500 that is added into the monthly pension.

According to FOP officials, the contract had overwhelming support from the members who ratified it early last week.

"I think they (the members of the FOP) were satisfied and their expectations were reasonable in this economy and this climate which is tough for public employees and I think I represent a group of officers who have realistic expectations and they appreciated the pragmatic approach the union took with the township," said Gavin Goschinski, president of Lower Merion FOP Lodge 28.

The two sides negotiated during approximately 50 hours of face to face negotiations to get a deal hammered out before the old contract expired.

Along with the salary increase, there is also an annual $50 increase in uniform cleaning allowance in 2013 through 2016. In 2013 that will put the allowance at $900 and then $950 in 2014, $1,000 in 2015 and $1,050 in 2016.

Another benefit under the new contract will be the adoption of newer state standards for retired police officers who work longer than 25 years.

For police officers who have been in the department for 26 years, he or she will be eligible for an extra $100 per month as part of their pensions. For each additional year of service beyond that 26th year, the member will get an additional $100 for each year up to 30 years. So for an officer who has worked for 30 years the increase would be an additional $500 that is added into the monthly pension.

Ilgenfritz, Richard. "New Lower Merion police contract voted on by commissioners". Mainline Media News. December 19, 2012. http://mainlinemedianews.com/articles/2012/12/19/main_line_times/news/doc50d1f8afde306211050625.txt