BURRILLVILLE – After a long negotiating process that nearly led to interest arbitration, the town has agreed to terms of a tentative agreement with the union representing members of the Burrillville Police Department.

According to an agreement approved by the Town Council last week with Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 27, the contract will retroactively begin on July 1, 2019 and run through June 3, 2022.

It includes 3 percent pay raises for union members for the current year, which will increase to 3.25 percent for 2020, and 3.5 percent for contract year 2021.

For a sergeant working 37.2 hours a week or less, that would equate to a base salary of $72,251 in 2020, and $75,779 in 2021. For a major working 40 hours a week, that means a base salary of $79,545 in 2018 would increase to $87,554 by 2021. A detective with a base salary of $65,624 in 2018 will receive a minimum of $72, 232 in fiscal year 2021.

The new deal stipulates that probationary officers who have not yet graduated from the Rhode Island Municipal Police Academy will receive not less than $50,000 annually.  It includes new rank separations, adding $2,000 to the sergeant base wage salary after any cost of living adjustments has applied in year two, and adding $1,000 for the same change in year three.

The contract also adds in a new accreditation stipend, with lump sum payments every December for union members as long as the department maintains its status. For the remaining two years of the contract, the bonuses amount to $1,000 for each officer annually.

In the event the department should lose accreditation, regardless of the reason, the bonuses will not be given according to the terms.

There are also several smaller adjustments, like a change to the list of paid holidays that eliminates Lincoln’s birthday, but adds in President’s Day. It
establishes a procedure for waiver of TDI payments to the town for officers who have exhausted all of their sick leave.

Before both parties agreed to the new contract last week, union members were operating under a previous one-year contract, which expired in June. The FOP had filed for interest arbitration, a sign that negotiations with the town had reached an impasse.

The union withdrew a demand for interest arbitration due to the settlement in a letter sent on Wednesday, Dec. 18 to the attorney representing the town, Jeffrey Kasle of Warwick-based firm Olenn & Penza, LLP.

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