New 10-year police union contract includes residency requirement for new hires

Jun 12, 2015

The City of Buffalo has reached a tentative 10-year agreement with the union representing its police officers. 

The deal, announced by Mayor Byron Brown Friday afternoon, gives Police Benevolent Association members a 16.5% salary increase over ten years. In return, the PBA has agreed to concessions and benefit reductions for future employees. 

Mayor Byron Brown and Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda celebrated the tentative union deal.
Credit Avery Schneider/WBFO News

"We have been working to negotiate a contract with the Buffalo Police that is good for the residents and taxpayers of the City of Buffalo, that's good for the men and women that are our police officers, and affordable to the city," said Brown at a City Hall news conference.

Salary increases will be distributed on a seven-step wage schedule and, as part of the deal, new hires will be required to live in the city for the first seven years of their police careers.  

"We think that when officers live in the community, it provides a greater stake in what's happening in the community. The officers then become neighbors of the community that they police in, and we think it is good for the morale of our department," Brown said.

Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda, standing alongside the mayor, said the contract is good for the city and for the PBA. He embraced the residency requirement for new hires.

"We're hopeful that the next contract may [include] even more length of residency. I believe every officer should live in the city," Derenda said.

The mayor celebrated the agreement as the fourth major contract reached with unionized city employees since July 2013. Long-term deals have also been struck with Local 282 representing Buffalo firefighters, Local 264 of the Teamsters, and Local 650, which includes white collar employees.

The tentative contract runs from July 1, 2009 and goes until June 30, 2019. Officers had been without a contract since 2005. The agreement provides additional benefits to surviving family members of officers who are killed in the line of duty. It eliminates a "Cadillac" health insurance plan option for future employees.

The contract must still be approved by union members and the city's Common Council. A union ratification vote will be held in early July.