Legislature unanimously approves Nassau PBA contract

Legislature unanimously approves Nassau PBA contract
The Nassau County Legislative Building. (Photo by Noah Manskar)

The Nassau County Legislature unanimously approved a $159 million contract with the county’s Police Benevolent Association on Monday.

The eight-and-a-half year agreement, which still has to be approved by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, would run retroactively from Jan. 1, 2018 until July 1, 2026 and increase the top base pay for officers from $122,000 to $141,000.

The agreement would also increase the top base pay for officers from $122,000 to $141,000 and increase the starting pay for new officers from $35,000 to $37,333.

The NIFA board is set to vote on the contract during a Feb. 6 meeting, according to Newsday.

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman described the negotiations between the two parties as “exhaustive,” but expressed his pleasure with the agreement.

“I believe this agreement keeps our police department at the highest levels of salary in the nation but at the same time has provisions that enhance the safety of our communities and guards the taxpayer’s money,” Blakeman said in a statement.”

The county failed to come to an agreement with the 1,800-member union during the tenure of Democratic County Executive Laura Curran. Contract proposals of the same length were submitted and provided officers with a 25 percent raise over eight-and-a-half years.

Annual stipends of $3,000 for officers wearing body cameras were agreed on by the county and the union, which officials said costs taxpayers $8 million each year.

The county selected Ronkonkoma-based Island Tech Services to provide the camera technology and handle training and technical support for the officers.

Body cameras were one of several measures included in a 424-page plan to reform Nassau County’s policing that Curran released in February 2021.

The plan, which the county Legislature approved 16-3 in March 2020, was submitted in accordance with an executive order that then Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed in June 2020 requiring police agencies to devise plans to “reinvent and modernize police strategies” after Minneapolis cops killed George Floyd.

Nassau County spends $1,148 per capita on police and fire protection while the national median is $359, according to U.S. News & World Report finding that named Nassau County the safest community in America in 2020 and 2021. Public safety professionals account for 1.26% of the county’s population, compared with the national median of 0.70%.

Democrats attempted to add an amendment in the county’s budget to hire more than 100 new police officers. Blakeman’s $3.88 billion budget included the hiring of 36 additional officers.

“Police officers are often confronted with danger and put themselves in harm’s way as they fulfill their oath to serve and protect the public in Nassau County and across the nation,” Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) said. “As demonstrated when we proposed funding 110 additional officers in this year’s budget to enhance foot patrols and create a dedicated hate crimes unit, the Minority Caucus remains steadfast in our commitment to supporting Nassau’s law enforcement professionals.”

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