Police officers to vote on plan for pay raise

Contract is expected to offer salary scale on par with other forces

March 07, 2000|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

County police officers will vote today on a proposed three-year labor contract that will make their salaries comparable with those of neighboring police forces, officials said yesterday.

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 70, which represents about 520 county police officers, will present the proposal at three meetings -- at 8: 30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4: 30 p.m. -- in the union hall in Crownsville, said Detective Ricardo Hawkins, first vice president.

"I am content," Hawkins said. "It brings salaries up to the same pay scale as Maryland State Police, Baltimore [County] and Howard County police departments."

Neither Hawkins nor Andy Carpenter, a spokesman for County Executive Janet S. Owens, would comment on specifics of the proposed contract and the timing of any salary increases.

Howard County officers' salaries start at $33,346 and range up to $56,708 after 25 years. State troopers start at $35,029 and rise to $52,390, while Baltimore County officers start at $31,979 and earn more than $53,906 after 25 years of service.

The Anne Arundel police scale ranges from starting pay of $28,712 to $44,203 after 25 years on the force.

Closing the salary gap would cost the local government about $202,000 for each 1 percent increase given to its police force, county officials say.

Negotiations between the county and FOP lodge began in October but were interrupted by a union-representation election and runoff won by the lodge. Talks resumed in January, with a difference -- the FOP having contracted with the International Union of Police Associations to assist with the talks.

The tentative agreement comes more than a week before the March 15 deadline the two sides had established when negotiations resumed.

The county remains in talks with the County Sergeants Association, a separate police bargaining unit. The two sides failed to reach agreement by a March 1 deadline, and the sergeants association has requested a state mediator.

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