Police union-county labor agreement approved

Published 11:01 pm Thursday, December 16, 2010

ST. JOSEPH — The Berrien County Board of Commissioners approved the labor agreement between the county and the Fraternal Order of Police Council (FOPLC), representing 206 county employees, at Thursday’s meeting.

The previous agreement expired at the end of 2009, and the new contract is effective Jan. 1, 2010 through Dec. 31, 2013.

Under the new deal, the employees will not receive a pay increase for calendar year 2010.

In 2011, a new top step will be added to the salary schedule with a 3 percent increase. Another provision of the settlement is a 1 percent wage increase for 2012 and 2013.

The employees will now begin paying 15 percent of the monthly health insurance premium costs, compared to the 12 percent they paid under the last contract.

The commissioners also approved a three-year collective bargaining agreement between the trial court and the Police Officers Labor Council, representing five unionized trial court bailiffs.

Provisions of the deal include a wage increase of 1.5 percent in 2011 and 2012 and a 1 percent increase in 2013. The employees will also begin paying 15 percent of the monthly premium for health care insurance, compared to the 12 percent they paid under the previous contract.

Other business conducted at Thursday’s county board meeting:

• The board accepted a grant of $1,700 from the Berrien Community Foundation for the purchase of a new curriculum for the county’s substance abuse prevention program.

• The commissioners authorized Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey to sign a three-year contract between the county and the Fresh Start Prevention Program. The program provides recovery support and relapse prevention to prisoners in the Berrien County Jail. It will cost the county $15,003 yearly.

• The board approved 20 appointments and reappointments to various county boards and commissions. The positions are on a volunteer basis.