by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Grove police officers are working with a union contract since the village and the Metropolitan Alliance of Police came to terms in December.
According to Sugar Grove Finance Director Justin VanVooren, the four-year contract covers the 12 patrol officers, beginning with initial salary increases averaging 3.95 percent and effective retroactively back to Aug. 1, 2007.
In addition, cost-of-living (COL) increases of 3.25 percent were implemented effective as of May 1, 2008. The COL increases will take effect each May 1 for the length of the contract.
The officer’s salary range was increased as of May 1, as well, going from $43,355 – $62,783 up to $44,764 -$64,823. The range will be increased again in 2009 and 2010. Officers receive step increases based on their length of time in the job. The number of steps within the range was reduced from nine to eight, making each step increase larger and allowing the officers to reach the top of the range quicker.
Officers received step increases on Aug. 1, 2008, and they will receive a step increase each Aug. 1.
Both COL and step increases are predicated on the officer receiving a satisfactory performance evaluation, VanVooren said.
VanVooren said the last salary survey the village conducted looking at all village staff salaries in other communities was completed on May 1, 2006.
â€œWe made an adjustment then, so we felt we were competitive,â€ he said.
When village staff began reviewing salary requirements for the contract, another survey was conducted, using police department contracts in 10 other communities.
Other terms of the contract include grievance procedures, work hours, overtime, holidays, sick and personal days, vacation time and insurance. The uniform allowance was formalized and special duty pay was implemented for officers in charge in lieu of a supervisor and for officers conducting field-training.
The Village Board approved the contract on Dec. 16, 2008, and raises were paid out on Dec. 19. The contract runs through April 30, 2011.
This is the Sugar Grove Police Department’s first union contract, and the discussions have taken place over the past two years. Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said that although that sounds like a long time, it is actually fairly typical for an initial contract.
â€œYou are starting from scratch, and you’re discussing every issue,â€ he said.
He said the relationship remained positive throughout the discussions and there were not any major issues that interfered with day-to-day operations. He said he believes it is a fair contract, as evidenced by both sides reaching a voluntary agreement.
Village officials will soon begin negotiations with the Fraternal Order of Police for a similar contract for its four sergeants.
Police contract by the numbers
Covers 12 officers
3.95% average first salary increase retro back to Aug. 1, 2007
3.25% cost of living increases May 1, 2008, 2009 and 2010
Step increases on Aug. 1, 2008, 2009 and 2010
Vacation time earned increases to 4 weeks at 14 years, down from 16 years
Contract runs from Aug. 1, 2007 to April 30, 2011