67. NSB and police ink new contract with no raises for current fiscal year

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NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- The City Commission unanimously agreed to a new one-year contract with its police officers in January that provides no wage increases and actually costs the city less money.

Not only that, but there's a "savings of $56,000," with the new pact, said Personnel Director Carol Hargy at Tuesday night's City Commission meeting, adding it's retroactive to the start of the 2010 fiscal year that began last Oct. 1 and runs through Sept. 30.

Commissioner Judy Reiker, elected in November, along with Mayor Adam Barringer, wanted to know why the contract was before the commission now and when a new one would be worked out for fiscal 2011, which begins Oct. 1.

Hargy said the pace of negotiations was slowed by uncertainty over the budget and subsequent negotiations over such a sensitive issue involving raises.

"Last year negotiations didn't start until June," Hargy said, adding negotiations for next year will begin next month.

Commissioner Hathaway urged his colleagues to brace themselves for a long fight this time around since the budget is expected to be tight again.

Mayor Barringer, Commissioners Reiker, Hathaway, Jack Grasty and Lynne Plaskett, all voted in favor of the contract approved by the Teamsters Local bargaining unit.

The salary range for police officers is $32,214-$53,311 and for sergeants, $48,321 to $69,931.

No one from the public in City Hall chambers spoke on the issue prior to the commission vote .

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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer, the award-winning 24/7 internet newspaper in Lake Mary serving Central Florida via HeadlineSurfer.com. Florida's first around-the-clock newspaper was launched April 7, 2008, in New Smyrna Beach, initially as NSBNews.net and VolusiaNews.net. Headline Surfer is a registered trademark of NSB News LLC. Frederick was the top winner in the 2012 Florida Press Club contest: 1st place for Blog Writing & 3rd place each for General News Writing, Public Safety Reporting & Best Online Presence (with social media). He's received 18 major journalism awards as a breaking news, investigative reporter & city editor for daily newspapers in Florida, Massachusetts, New York & Connecticut since the mid-1980s. 
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