The Suffolk County Legislature unanimously approved Tuesday a 8-year contract with the union that represents the county’s 1,600 rank-and-file police officers.
County Executive Steve Bellone touted savings by reaching an agreement before negotiations with the Suffolk County Police Benevolence Association went to arbitration.
“This vote saves the Suffolk County taxpayer $54.9 million in retroactive payments to the PBA,” Bellone said in a statement. Union leaders also reportedly praised the deal.
The new contract institutes a lower starting salary for Suffolk police of $42,000 through 2018. The amount of time it takes to reach the top salary in the department was lengthened from five years to 12.
The contract also stipulates new police officers will pay 15 percent into their own healthcare—a first for Long Island law enforcement.
The Employee Medical Health Plan will save the county $17 million annually through 2020, according to Bellone.
Wages were retroactively frozen last year and this year. There will be no raises next year, either.
In addition, the contract returns Highway Patrol officers to Sunrise Highway and the Long Island Expressway. The prior administration had turned those duties over to lesser-paid deputy sheriffs.
Twenty of a newly hired class would provide staff necessary to patrol the roads. The contract goes into effect next year.