Tentative police pay accord reached

Officers would get 10.25% raise in Baltimore County

April 10, 2001|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

The Ruppersberger administration and the union that represents Baltimore County police officers have reached a tentative agreement on a salary and pension package that would give all officers a 10.25 percent raise July 1.

Cole Weston, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 4, said union officials will explain the package to officers today. The 1,700 members will vote on the offer tomorrow and Thursday.

Weston will recommend that officers ratify the agreement, which includes a deferred retirement option program for department members with at least 27 years of service and an improved death benefit for surviving spouses.

"These were important factors for us concerning recruitment and retention of those quality individuals who want to become Baltimore County police officers," Weston said. He declined to discuss specifics of the plan.

Under the proposal, the starting salary for a county officer would rise from $31,362 to $34,577. The starting salary for officers in Anne Arundel County is $32,212; in Howard County, $33,530; and for Maryland State Police, $35,030.

The starting salary in Baltimore is $31,000, but that will increase to $35,784 by July next year. Baltimore County police were scheduled to receive 5 percent raises July 1, when the third year of a four-year contract will begin. That agreement permitted salary negotiations to be reopened if officers' pay dropped below that of officers in neighboring counties and Baltimore.

The surviving-spouse retirement benefit would replace the current system, under which an officer must pay additional money if he or she wants to continue pension payments for a spouse after the officer's death.

Under the proposal for a deferred retirement option, officers who stayed on the job at least 27 years would have the option of large lump-sum payments at retirement in exchange for reduced annual pensions.

The first retirements under the program could occur in July 2004.

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