By Nat Harrington
Special to the Delray Beach Tribune
School police officers in Palm Beach County could receive a salary increase this year after the school district and their union reached a tentative agreement this week.
The new proposed two-year contract must be ratified by members of the Police Benevolent Association, which represents about 160 district employees including school police officers. It must also be approved by the school board before it becomes official.
The agreement calls for a 2 percent increase to base pay retroactive to the start of the school year, July 2012. The 160 employees represented by the PBA will also get a one-time $500 bonus.
The two sides have been in negotiations since last May. The last time officers received a raise was in the 2007-08 school year.
The plan also revises the attendance incentive program to award $250 for perfect attendance in each nine-week grading period. The program previously gave $700 for perfect attendance over six months.
Other highlights of the agreement include:
·Replaces the step salary schedule with a min-max salary schedule.
·Incorporates the Insurance Benefit changes into the PBA Contract that were negotiated earlier in coalition bargaining.
·As a one calendar year pilot, provisions for a new sick leave donation plan, as allowed by FS 1012.61, are now included in the PBA Contract that permit Officers to donate sick leave to a fellow Officer.
·The definition of “light duty” as it relates to Workers Compensation will now be in the Contract.
·Establishes an eight-member joint committee to study and recommend revisions to the current Performance Based Pay Plan to make it more stringent. Implementation of these recommendations is subject to future negotiations.
·The Grievance Procedure is streamlined and updated.
·The right to conduct random drug testing of Officers is included in the Contract with no objection from PBA or the Officers it represents.
·Job vacancies will be posted on the bulletin board and also posted via email to all Officers.
·At least three meetings per year will be scheduled and conducted between three representatives of the Police Department’s command staff (including the Chief) and three PBA representatives to discuss and review issues of importance to the parties.
·Establishes a new two-calendar year Contract between the SDPBC and PBA effective Jan. 1, 2012 through Dec. 31, 2013. The Contract can be reopened on salary should State funding for FY 14 prove to be inadequate to fund the economic provisions of the new Contract; or should the District incur a liability prior to June 30, 2013 as a result of the final judicial or legislative resolution of the Florida Supreme Court case Scott vs. Williams.
PBA will be conducting a ratification vote of its represented employees later this month. The retroactive wage increases back to July 1, 2012 and the one-time $500 bonus payments will be made after employee ratification and School Board approval of this new Agreement. Pending employee ratification and School Board approval, these wage increases and bonus payments will be made in January.