July 18--Penn Township police officers would contribute to their health insurance premiums for the first time under a tentative five-year collective bargaining agreement that township commissioners unanimously approved Monday night.
Township officials announced the tentative terms -- covering 2012 through 2016 -- almost seven months after the expiration of the previous labor deal for the 17 active officers on the force.
Starting in January, the officers will pay 5 percent of their insurance premiums. That percentage will remain the same for the remaining four years of the contract. The average contribution will be $20 per pay for the first seven months until the new insurance rates take effect in August 2013.
Officers will receive a $2,463 lump sum payment for 2012 and annual $2,500 salary increases for the next four years. The $2,500 figure matches the annual raises in the last contract.
"We had a lot of issues to discuss and resolve, and I believe that the citizens of the township of Penn will be served well," Commissioner Chuck Horvat said.
"I think it's an equitable agreement both serving the citizens as well as the officers of the Penn Township police department."
Other terms include a reduction in longevity pay, which rewards long-term, continuous employment. Newly-hired officers will receive an additional 1-percent salary increase per year up to a maximum of 10 years, down from the maximum of 20 percent in the past contract.
Officers also will give up George Washington's birthday as a paid holiday every February.
The contract is subject to final approval by the officers.
"I know the guys and you worked for some time trying to find some common ground, and I hope this is the first step towards a working relationship in the future," Chief John Otto told the commissioners.
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