Buffalo Police officers are another step closer to a new contract. Members of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association have ratified a tentative contract with the city by a six-to-one margin.
The 10-year contract would require new officers to remain city residents for up to seven years.
Buffalo Mayor Brown Brown tells WBFO News the deal is a win-win. He says the residency rule will help boost Buffalo's tax base.
"The residency requirement that we were able to negotiated in this contract -- absolutely huge -- it will pump a lot of dollars into the City of Buffalo and into the City of Buffalo's economy," stated Mayor Brown.
Although the contract calls for pay raises for officers from 2012 to 2018, the union would forego increases from past years between 2009 through 2011.
"There are some returns to the city to the taxpayers and appropriate raises for our police officers. The contract actually includes some zeros for some years and it provides a health concession that the most expensive health plan is also eliminated for new employees," noted Mayor Brown.
The PBA has been without a new contract since 2005. The proposed contract must now be approved by the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority and Common Council. A vote could take place on July 28.
"We think the the council and the control board will review this contract favorably," said Mayor Brown.
The PBA website posted a message to rank and file in response to membership voting. The contract was passed 504-81. The following is the full message:
CONTRACT RATIFICATION VOTE
The Executive Officers of the PBA want to thank all of our members for coming out in such large numbers and participating in the ratification vote on the contract. This vote is the culmination of two long and exhausting years of negotiation.
Over 84% of our members participated in the voting process. That is an overwhelming percentage and a huge indication that this union is as strong as it has ever been.
The margin (6 to 1) by which this contract passed is an endorsement that we are doing the right thing by our members.
At this point the City of Buffalo is on notice that the membership has ratified the contract. The Corporation Counsel will now present the contract to the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority for that boards review and consent. The BFSA is in advisory status and cannot void this contract; they can merely provide the City with its opinion.
During the same time frame the Corporation Counsel will present the contract to the Common Council. The Common Council is scheduled to ratify this contract on July 28, 2015. After the Common Council ratifies the contract the tenants of the contract will be passed on to the City’s MIS and Finance Departments for implementation. This process may take a month or two but rest assured that the PBA will advocate that these departments expedite their process.
This contract is not a panacea and there are a large number of issues that we have with the City of Buffalo and this department’s management staff. With our strength in numbers and solidarity by which we have just displayed we shall overcome any difficulty that confronts us.
The PBA wishes to extend a special thanks must be extended to those members that assisted in managing this ratification vote. Without their help this task would have been impossible.