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San Benito boosts police pay: City, union agree to $132,000 3-year contract

October 10, 2018

SAN BENITO — For the first time in about 10 years, collective bargaining negotiations closed with an agreement to fund raises.

The city and the local police officers union have entered into a three-year contract that will come with a pay package totaling $132,000.

Through its general fund budget, the city will pay $38,000 this year, $47,000 next year and $47,000 during 2020-2021.

The contract will increase most of the department’s 43 officers’ salaries 2 percent this year, 2.5 percent next year and 2.5 percent during 2020-2021.

As part of the contract, cadets and first-year officers will not receive pay increases.

Under the contract, officers with two or more years of experience, sergeants, lieutenants and captains will receive pay increases.

For about 10 years, collective bargaining talks had failed to reach a contract increasing officers’ salaries, among the lowest in the Rio Grande Valley.

“ Any time the employees get an increase it’s a good thing,” Police Chief Michael Galvan said yesterday. “They put in a lot of hard work and every little bit helps.”

While starting officers earn base salaries of $35,931, captains draw $57,066.

The contract also increases officers’ salaries based on their experience, ranging from $25 a year for one year and $2,750 a year for 30 or more years.

Meanwhile, the contract also increases salaries based on certifications.

Under the contract, oficers with intermediate certifications will earn an additional $825 a year, those with advanced certifications $1,425 and those with master certifications $2,025.

The contract also pays officers according to their educational levels.

Officers with 60 college hours earn $150, those with associates degrees $250, those with bachelor’s degrees $500 and those with master’s degrees $750.

In recent years, the city has boosted police officers’ salaries by about 2.5 percent as part of the its annual across-the-board pay increases.

For the next three years, the officers will not receive increases outside of the city’s contractual obligations.

However, Galvan said the new contract “guarantees” pay increases for three years.

“ At least it’s in writing in a contract,” he said.

Union President Guadalupe Andrade declined to comment.

City Manager Manuel De La Rosa declined to comment, stating he does not comment on collective bargaining negotiations.

More than 20 years ago, voters approved collective bargaining.

However, the police union has failed to reach an agreement for about 10 years as the city has continued to struggle with tight finances.

fdelvalle@valleystar.com

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