Shelburne Police officers and emergency dispatchers will be getting 3 percent annual raises for each of the next three years under a union contract approved recently by the employees and the town Selectboard.
Town Manager Joe Colangelo explained that Shelburne’s share for health insurance premiums will drop throughout the three-year contract. The town has been paying 90 percent of the insurance for employees, while they each pay 10 percent. During the three-year contract the town’s share will drop to 85 percent in the first year and to 84 and 83 percent in subsequent years. The employees will pay the difference each year.
The contract is retroactive to July 1 and is due to expire June 30, 2020, Colangelo said. Shelburne Officer Bruce Beuerlein, the local president for New England Police Benevolent Association Local 413, said the members are glad the talks, which began in the spring, have finally ended and to have a contract in hand. “We are pretty happy with it,” he told the Shelburne News.
Beuerlein, a 15-year veteran, said wages had been the primary stumbling block during contract talks.
After several negotiating sessions, Colangelo said they agreed to go to mediation. Colangelo, who initially served as the negotiator for the town, said he was later joined by Selectboard Chairman Gary von Stange and then-Vice Chair John Kerr. Beuerlein, Officer Cole Charbonneau and dispatcher Ian Kilburn represented the union at the table.
Under the new contract, a new Shelburne Police officer will be paid between $19.14 an hour and $20.05 while in training at the Vermont Police Academy; that could increase to a maximum of $21.45 in the first year. After 25 years, patrol officers will hit the top of the pay scale at $43.61 an hour, while corporals can be at $47.97 an hour. Emergency dispatchers begin training at $19.02 to $19.68 an hour and later can move in the first year to up to $20.27 an hour. They can max out after 25 years at $41.21 under the new contract.
The contract covers 14 police officers and emergency dispatchers, Beuerlein said. Deputy Chief Aaron Noble and Lt. Allen Fortin are excluded because they are considered to be in supervisory positions. Beuerlein said many of the negotiated items will apply to the part-time employees in the department. The contract also establishes a protocol to ensure a police officer or dispatcher involved in a shooting incident or some other high-stress incident is required to participate in a “critical stress debriefing.” They also need to have a follow-up to ensure they are physically and emotionally ready to return to work. The contract also has a new provision that provides an incentive program to promote physical fitness for employees, Colangelo said.