Rank-and-file patrolmen and Amherst police sergeants are on track to get two percent raises this year, the same hike in 2018, and 1.5 percent wage increases in 2019.
In return, they’ve agreed to drive each of their cruisers an additional 28,000 miles before forcing the city to buy replacements.
The terms come as part of a three-year contract city council will likely adopt Monday with the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, one of five bargaining groups at the Amherst police department.
Mayor Mark Costilow and council president John Dietrich hammered out the agreement over the course of several sessions.
The updated deal includes new language about how discipline is doled out. In some cases, patrol officers have been disciplined by the sergeants who are their direct superiors and fellow union members; now that responsibility will fall on lieutenants.
The contract does not make any concessions to health insurance coverage, “so this truly is a raise for our police officers,” Costilow said.
Police did, however, give ground on an old requirement that cruisers be replaced every 97,000 miles. Now they will be driven 125,000 miles each before they deemed unworthy of being used in a pursuit.
“There probably was a day for that. The cars probably didn’t last as long. But now, buying these Explorers and Chevy Tahoes, they last quite a bit longer,” the mayor said.
Auditor David Kukucka applauded the change, which will save Amherst taxpayers a significant amount of money.
Each Tahoe costs in the range of $35,000 to $40,000. The mileage requirement change will mean buying one less cruiser every 18 months.
Now Costilow said he is turning his attention to negotiations with the four other police bargaining units.
The contracts for each vary widely. He hopes negotiations will make them much more similar to streamline the bargaining process the next time around.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.