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Police 'fed up' with budget complaints

By Allan Benner, The Standard
Friday, November 24, 2017 5:22:41 EST PM

Niagara Regional Police Association president Cliff Priest said officers are tired of being “made to be the bad guys” whenever Niagara budget discussions arise.

“We’re fed up listening to this rubbish about the arbitration,” said Priest, who represents more than 700 officers and 300 civilians working for the Niagara Regional Police service.

“This was a mediated arbitration for a four-year deal, which they (Niagara’s police services board) agreed to.”

If the board had not agreed to that four-year deal, Priest said the arbitrator could only legally impose a settlement for a one-year period.

Nevertheless, he said officers are not happy that “every time something comes up budget wise, we’re made to be the bad guys.”

The arbitrated contract was again a point of contention during a Region budget committee meeting, Thursday, when councillors approved $143.5 million in spending for Niagara Regional Police.

“Enough is enough,” Priest said. “It’s the usual rhetoric that we get from the Region’s politicians who don’t tell the whole truth.”

The agreement, reached in April, gave uniformed officers a 2.3 per cent raise retroactive to Jan. 1, 2016, an additional 2 per cent in 2017, a 1.9 per cent increase next year, and finally a 1.95 per cent raise in 2019.

By the end of the contract, highest ranking officers will receive $100,311 a year.

Despite the concerns expressed by regional councillors, Priest said the arbitration award still falls short of wages paid to police officers in other similar jurisdictions.

“We’ve dropped behind some of the others, but our members are not upset. They understand the process.”

Priest said the awarded increase was an effort to keep local wages inline with other jurisdiction, after the police budget was held to a zero per cent increase in 2016 – despite knowing that the police association contract was due for renewal that year.

“Even a zero percent doesn’t take into account inflation. That was a very unwise move. In fact it was idiotic. They put themselves behind the eight ball there,” he said.

“They patted themselves so hard on the back it was ridiculous. It was just pure politics.”

Note: Timms says it is the first class constable that gets $100,311 , not the highest ranking officer
Last Modified: November 30, 2017 06:51 PM
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