Rolling Meadows approves police contract, officers to get 2 percent raises
The Rolling Meadows City Council has approved by a 4-3 vote a new three-year contract for the city's police officers and sergeants.
Mayor Tom Rooney termed the new contract, which was reached after about 18 months of negotiations, "acceptable."
The contract approved calls for no salary increase in 2013 and 2 percent in each of the following years. Starting officers will make $58,000, with the current wage $92,270 in the seventh year. Sergeants start at 5 percent higher than officers who are on the seventh step. After one year at that rank a sergeant makes $105,259.
Rooney said the 2 percent annual raise was reached relatively early in negotiations, and much of the ensuing discussion was over health insurance and the number of hours of benefits like vacation that can be carried over from year to year.
First Ward Alderman Mike Cannon said he voted against the deal because he believes city residents cannot afford to pay such high salaries and the accompanying pensions.
"We are trying to rein things in from a fiscal standpoint," said Cannon. "We are struggling financially. although we are doing better."
Higher salaries make it more difficult for the city to catch up with its pension obligations, which are underfunded, he said. Rolling Meadows police seem to be among the highest paid in the area even though the city is smaller than most surrounding municipalities, he added.
He said his vote does not represent dissatisfaction with police service, and the union did give some on health insurance and carrying time off.
"We're proud of them, and they're doing a great job for our city," Cannon said. "When we call them they show up. It's a tough job.
The other votes against the contract came from Fourth Ward Alderman Brad Judd and Sixth Ward Alderman John D'Astice.
A spokesman for the Rolling Meadows Police Association was not available for comment.
The city is still negotiating with its firefighters union for their next contract.
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