Equitable Police Salary Agreement Leaves Everyone Unhappy, Mayor Says

(File photograph)

City Council on Tuesday approved an arbitration agreement giving police a three-year, 5.5 percent retroactive raise.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini said the deal exceeded what the city wanted to pay, but fell short of what the police union was looking for.

“It’s within our ability to pay,” Fiorentini said in his request for council approval.

Councilor Michael S. McGonagle described it as a fair and equitable solution.

“We’re all unhappy, so it must be,” Fiorentini said.

The police union wanted increases of 4, 5, and 3 percent, respectively, for fiscal years 2015 through 2017. The city had offered 1.5 percent raises for the first two years and 1.75 for the final year, in line with the raises given other city departments.

Unable to reach a contract agreement,  the city and its patrolmen’s association agreed to abide by the ruling of a three-member arbitration panel. The contract agreement covers 2015-2017.  The two sides have already returned to the negotiating table to try to reach a deal for 2018-2020.

Members of the panel were Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella, representing management; Lawrence police Officer Alan Andrews of Haverhill, representing labor; and neutral chairman Bruce Fraser.