NEWTOWN SQUARE–Patrolman officers Dean Hodges and David Wilding were officially sworn in on Monday evening's Newtown Board of Supervisors meeting. Both Hodges and Wilding were hired by the township at a special Board of Supervisors reorganization meeting on June 1.
Hodges was accompanied with his girlfriend Theresa Coughlin while Wilding was accompanied by his wife Samantha during the swearing in ceremony. Judge David Videon swore in both the officers.
Both the officers hail from Yeadon's Police Department. Hodges started working with Newtown police immediately after his hire date on June 2, due to an officer retirement, while Wilding had a tentative start date for June 20. To find out more about the officers, read here.
Newtown Police, Supervisors Agree to New Contract Through 2014
The new contract, which includes the years from 2012-2014, calls for a base pay salary increase of a 2.5 percent increase for 2012, a 3 percent increase for 2013 and a 3.5 percent increase in 2014.
"We did this after looking at the average increase in other police departments, which was on average 3.22 percent, and agreed to these amounts which is an average of 3 percent for the next three years," explained Supervisors Chairman Joseph Catania.
In addition, police have previously agreed to an alternative medical plan with higher co-pays. An approximate $115,000 in savings could be seen each year with this agreement.
According to Catania, the previous contract from 2009-2011 had a base pay salary increase of 3 percent each year, in which police did not receive the increase in 2010 and 2011 due to a pay raise freeze.
The township owes approximately $65,000 in back pay to police, in which Catania suggested splitting that cost into two separate payments.
"For the money that we owe them for 2010 and half of 2011, which is approximately $30,000 for 2010 and $35-40,000 for 2011, what we proposed and what they agreed to is that whatever that total increase is, they would receive half of that increase in back pay owed by July 1," said Catania. "The other half that we owe them for the past 18 months, we wouldn't have to pay that until March 31, 2012."
The main reason for the two separate payments would be simply for the Board to save money this year and plan to budget the other half of the payment for next year.
Catania made a motion to approve the contract with the back payments on the two separate dates. The motion was seconded by Supervisors Vice Chairman Dr. Ross Lambert.
Supervisor George Wood brought up a concern of whether the back pay included the overtime costs as well during those years.
"So, we not only have a base salary we have to increase, we have to go back and calculate all those dollars that we paid in a variety of categories with the roll-up costs," said Wood.
According to Wood, the officers were not paid during those years as the contract was still in negotiation at the time.
Catania said last year the Board had budgeted each of those salary increases but never paid them out. Although Catania said everything, including overtime pay, was factored into the yearly increases, Wood disagreed.
"We didn't," said Wood. "But look, it is what it is but I'm just reminding you and the public that we truly don't realize the costs of this contract."
The motion passed 4-1 with Wood voting against the motion.