Northampton police file for contract arbitration
Unless the Borough of Northampton and its police officers can soon reach a new contract, a third party will have to come in and break the present stalemate.
Borough Manager Gene Zarayko delivered the message to council members at their meeting Sept. 18.
Council members had no comment on the lack of progress in the negotiations.
"As you are aware, the Northampton Police Department has filed for arbitration for their next contract," Zarayko said. "The borough has hired Attorney Michael Miller of Ecert and Seamans located in Harrisburg. They specialize in police contracts."
The police union will also name a person to represent its members at the arbitration hearing or hearings.
Both sides will select an arbitrator from a list provided them.
Once both sides agree on an arbitrator, the ruling of the independent arbitrator is binding.
The present three-year-contract expires Dec. 31. Police cannot strike by state law.
While the new pact may be for three years, as is customary, the talks may have stalled other issues, including wages, but more so on the officers' contribution to their pension plans.
At present, the officers pay 8 percent of their salaries to the pension plan. They reportedly want a sizable reduction to that contribution.
The 2014 police budget stands at $1,694,354, much of it in salaries. Wages tally $1,084,024, including that of the police chief, who is not in the bargaining unit.
Overtime pay in the 2014 budget is $105,000. Longevity pay comes to $17,697. Shift differential is $6,800 and $35,000 is for holiday compensation.
The police department is headed by Chief Ron Morey.