Bradenton police union OKs new contract, first raises since 2009

March 6, 2014 

The Bradenton Police Department's union has ratified a three-year-contract with the City of Bradenton that will include the first raise for officers since 2009, police officials announced Thursday.

The Police Union, represented by the Florida Police Benevolent Association, approved the contract Tuesday, the department said in a media release. The union consists of 120 officers and sergeants.

Collective bargaining negotiations first began two years ago. Union representatives pushed for a pay scale they said would be more in line with neighboring departments.

Under the new contract, members of the department's pension plan will also immediately begin contributing 7.5 percent, an increase from the current 6 percent.

Effective Oct. 1, the pension contribution rate will go to 9 percent.

The modification to the police pension plan will result in a long-term cost savings for the city of about $5 million.

The pension plan change "demonstrates everyone’s commitment to act in a prudent manner in regard to controlling the cost of local government," Deputy Chief of Police Warren Merriman said in a statement.

A first-year Bradenton police officer earns around $39,000 a year, while a senior officer with 20 years of experience averages about $64,000 annually. Officers with 20 years of service at age 45 and older can receive a full annual pension equivalent to 60 percent of the average of their top three annual salaries.

The new contract goes before the City Council at its regularly scheduled meeting March 12 at 8:30 a.m.

If approved, the contract will last until Sept. 30, 2016.

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