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Tuckahoe, Police Union Agree To 5-Year Contract

TUCKAHOE, N.Y. – After a drawn-out negotiation that endured for nearly three years, the Village of Tuckahoe and the Tuckahoe police union have agreed to a five-year contract.

Both the board of trustees and union president Andrew Zirolnik expressed frustration during the sometimes contentious deliberations, though each ultimately praised the other side for the sacrifices made.

The contract will retroactively be in effect from June 1, 2010 – the time the last contract expired – until May 31, 2015. The police typically operate on three-year contracts, but the five-year deal was put in place due to the drawn out negotiations.

The two sides nearly required an arbitrator to step in, which would have cost thousands of dollars. Instead, they were able to continue with a mediator.

“My concern is that in recent contracts, it seems that the theme is delay, delay, delay,” Zirolnik said. “We want to get this done sooner so that there aren't two- and three-year gaps where we need to bring in an arbitrator.”

Both sides made several concessions in the final contract. Members of the police will now contribute to their medical benefits. Employees hired after June 1 will contribute 12 percent, while officers hired before then will pay 5 percent and 8 eight percent as of June 1, 2014.

Police employees will receive no salary increase during the first year of the deal, and have agreed to accept between a 2.25 and 2.7 percent increase annually thereafter. The detective's clothing allowance will be increased by $200 per year and no fitness tests will be required on days following a midnight tour.

“They have an average salary increase of less than two percent per year, so we’ve done our job in reflecting the economic climate we live in today,” Mayor Steven Ecklond said. “In addition, for the first time, members will be contributing to medical benefits.”

Although both sides felt slighted at times during the talks, Ecklond said this was normal for negotiations of this type.

“It’s fair to say a good contract is one that hurts both sides,” he said. “I think we would all agree this is a fair agreement at this point.”

Zirolnik agreed, thanking the village for their patience and adding he hopes the next contract goes more smoothly.

“We've battled back and forth, and we’ve held countless meetings. Going forward, I hope we can have this ratified and put it to bed,” he said. “We want to focus on the village and the safety of our residents.”

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