May 22—Those working in the Middletown City Building will find a little extra money in their paychecks.
Council recently approved raises and bonuses for members of the Middletown Division of Police and one-time "premium pay" bonuses using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for non-union city employees.
All legislation related to these issues passed unanimously during Tuesday night's City Council meeting.
Acting City Manager Paul Lolli said the three-year collective bargaining agreement with Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 36 runs through Oct. 31, 2024 and was retroactive to Nov. 1, 2021.
Some of the highlights of the contract, according to Lolli: The 12 steps to reach the highest pay was reduced to six steps; patrol officers will receive 3% raises every year of the contract, 2% bonuses each year and $3,000 in premium pay; sergeants and lieutenants will receive 2%, 3% and 3.5% raises, 2% bonuses and $2,496 in premium pay; detectives will receive an additional $1,200 a year for call-outs; field training officers will receive a 50-cent an hourly raise (from $2.50 to $3) when they're training an officer; and K-9 officers will receive $2 more a day (from $5 to $7).
Rodney Muterspaw, a retired Middletown police chief and first-year council member, said Middletown's previous 12-step pay program was "unheard of in any business."
He said all city employees are "vastly underpaid."
Councilman Zack Ferrell said the contract was "a step in the right direction" and Vice Mayor Monica Nenni said attracting and retaining good employees in any organization is "paramount."
Every non-union city employee will receive a one-time lump payment of premium pay using some of the city's ARPA funds.
The cost of the payment is expected to be about $386,928, according to city documents.
The city has received ARPA funding from the Federal government that allows for so-called "Premium Pay" (up to $13/hour for employees deemed essential, for whatever number of hours the city might designate) to "essential employees" working through the COVID-19 pandemic.
In February 2022, council authorized the payment of "premium pay" for all active trade union employees with the intent to also extend similar premium payments to the city's remaining essential employees.
Each employee must have been employed by the city on April 16, 2022 to be eligible for this premium pay, according to city documents.