The Soldotna City Council ratified a two-year contract Wednesday evening giving a 3 percent pay increase to the city’s police officers and police department clerks.
The city’s nine patrol officers and two clerical staff employees are covered by the approved two-year contract that includes the pay hike.
In a memorandum to the city council, City Manager Tom Boedeker said the police department raises match the 3 percent increase in effect for other city employees as of July 1.
In addition to the pay adjustment, the contract with the Public Safety Employees Association Soldotna Unit combines the Police Officer 1, 2 and 3 positions into one Pay Range 10 classification.
Now all patrol officers in the department are classified as Police Officer Range 10 after they complete their first recruit year, Boedeker said.
The range now has nine steps officers can reach annually if they receive satisfactory evaluations.
Once they reach the ninth step, officers qualify for three longevity steps, which can be attained at three-year intervals. Each longevity step brings with it a 3 percent pay raise.
Last year, the city’s other 28 employees received a 2 percent pay increase in July. The new police contract awards a 2 percent retroactive pay adjustment to bring police in line with those other employees, according to Boedeker.
Uniform allowances also were raised for police officers. They now will receive $1,200 annually.
Boedeker told the council that while the pay scale of Soldotna police is among the lowest in the state, the uniform allowance now is the highest.
Adjustments to health insurance benefits provided to police were not made in the new contract. Boedeker said they would be addressed during the next contract negotiations when the benefits for all city employees can be looked at simultaneously.
Because of the small size of the individual bargaining units, Boedeker said insurance changes can be more effectively negotiated with the insurance company if the city addresses the changes for all workers at one time.
“This is the reason why this is a two-year contract,” he said.
Boedeker said he believes the contract to be “a fair and workable agreement” between the city and the police department employees and he recommended ratification by the council.
On Thursday, Boedeker said the police chief and the police sergeants are not covered by the collective bargaining agreement.
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