By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD — The Wakefield Police unions have agreed to three-year contracts with the town covering the period from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2017. Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio announced the deal at last Monday’s meeting of the Board of Selectmen.
Maio said that the terms of the deal were the same for both the union representing patrol officers and the union representing superior officers.
The contract calls for police to receive a 1.25 percent cost of living increase retroactive to July 1, 2014. Another 1.25 increase will be effective from Jan. 1, 2015.
Going forward, police will receive a 1.25 percent increase on July 1, 2015 and 1.5 percent increases on Jan. 1, 2016, July 1, 2016 and Jan. 1, 2017.
The total cost to the town of this portion of the agreement is $77,000.
As a result of the Wakefield Police Department being one of only 17 police forces in the state that is accredited, Wakefield officers will receive an additional 1 percent per year in merit pay. If the department loses its accreditation this increase will be lost. The town’s cost for this part of the contract is $28,000.
Another 1 percent night/weekend differential benefit will cost the town $22,000.
A $250 annual uniform increase will cost $11,250.
Approximately $15,000 has been set aside as a fitness stipend worth $500 per year per officer if they meet the Cooper’s Standard for physical fitness.
Under the agreement, police will also receive training in the use of Narcan, a medication used to counter the effects of opioids, especially in cases of overdose.
The total cost of the police contract settlement is $150,000, according to Maio.
“Although we were far apart in the beginning, we think that this is a fair contract for all involved,” Maio said. “The cost of living increases are certainly within a sustainable amount.
“We are also extremely fortunate here in Wakefield that we are served by a police department that is one of 17 departments statewide that is accredited,” Maio added. “Accreditation helps ensure that we in Wakefield continue to follow best practices as our police offer vital services to the community. Accreditation requires a commitment from our police officers to stay current with best methods and practices. The 1 percent annually for this designation continues only if the department remains accredited. It is performance based benefit unusual in Union contracts. I wish to commend the police department for their professionalism during the negotiations.”
In other business last week, the Board of Selectmen:
• Accepted the resignation of Charlotte Heger, 95 Audubon Rd., as Warden of Precinct 3.
• Accepted the resignation of Thomas Campbell, 95 Audubon Rd., as Tab Center Warden and Teller at Precinct 3.
• Accepted the resignations of John and Mary Malatesta, 8 Harris Dr., Burlington at Tellers at Precinct 3.
• Appointed Joseph Neal, 13 Rosemary Ave., as Warden of Precinct 3.
• Appointed Joan E. Green, 8 Ames St. and Winifred Ledoux, 41 Herbert St., as tellers at Precinct 3.
• Approved a request from Library Director Sharon Gilley to accept and expend $3,374 in gifts from various donors.