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Patrolmen’s union, city reach $68 million deal

Boston police waited in the snow before the Super Bowl parade on Feb. 7.
Boston police waited in the snow before the Super Bowl parade on Feb. 7.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

The city’s largest police union and Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s administration have agreed to a four-year, $68 million contract for patrol officers, marking the first time in nearly a decade that both sides have voluntarily settled.

The contract, reached Jan. 20 and announced the Friday before a three-day weekend, will mean an annual 2 percent increase over four years — for a total of 8 percent — for the 1,500 members of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, said David Sweeney, the city’s chief financial officer.

“One of the biggest challenges the city has had is managing its collective bargaining costs over time,’’ Sweeney said. “We now have avoided all of the cost and anxiety of arbitration [by] creating certainty for the city for the next four years.”

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The announcement comes four days after the city released its 2016 payroll that showed members of the Boston Police Department as its highest earners. Those salaries included a massive one-time retroactive check that the city was ordered to pay as part of an arbitration award.

A Globe analysis showed that the payroll for the Police Department has increased 28 percent since 2009, in part because of the arbitration awards. The review also revealed that 2,011 Police Department employees — including members of the command staff and police detectives — earned more than $100,000 in the 2016 calendar year. That group included 1,243 people with the rank of patrolman, the data said.

Patrick Rose, the head of the patrolmen’s union, did not respond to a Friday phone call seeking comment on the new deal. Instead he said in a statement that his organization is proud to bring “these hard-fought for contracts” back to its members and to be a partner with the city.

“The bargaining committee and I believe it represents a fair bargain and is beneficial to the union and the city of Boston,’’ Rose said of the contract deal. “The city and the union made history by getting this done at the bargaining table and in the shortest period of time in the history of the union and without state intervention.”

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Walsh, who was said to be personally involved in the negotiating process, also put the agreement in sunny terms.

“This historic agreement was reached in record time due to both sides prioritizing good faith negotiations,’’ Walsh said in a statement. “And it maintains an affordable contract while still allowing the Boston Police Department to attract a strong police force.”

The patrolmen’s union and the city have not voluntarily settled contract talks since the 2007 negotiations resulted in annual wage increases as high as 3.5 percent, officials said.

Sweeney said the new contract, which was not provided to the Globe, was filed Friday for the consideration of the City Council. The councilors, who must approve the contract before it is implemented, probably will address the measure when they meet March 1.

With the pay increase, a patrol officer whose base pay is $68,000 in the first year will see his or her pay increase to about $74,000 by July 2019, Sweeney said.

In addition, the contract restores the full benefits of the so-called Quinn payments at a cost to the city of about $4 million per year through the end of the contract, Sweeney said.

The Quinn Bill was a state program that raised the salaries of officers who obtained additional education. The state and the city used to split the cost of the benefits. But in 2009, the state cut its half, and the salaries of many officers dropped significantly. The patrol officers missed out on approximately $27 million over the last decade as a result of the state’s cuts, the city said.

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The arbitration award during the last contract negotiations ordered the city to pay 75 percent of the original Quinn benefits, added $2,000 to every patrolman’s base pay, and mandated the city pay 3 percent raises in each of the last three years, city officials said. Under the new deal, the city will pay 100 percent of the benefit. Forty-nine percent of the patrol officers are eligible for the benefits, officials said.

The new contract will also standardize hazardous compensation for police officers that is comparable to what city firefighters receive. That component will cost the city $4 million annually.

In addition, the city will pay $4 million each year to revise the department’s raise system. Previously, officers received a step increase during the first three years of their employment, but would have had to wait another 17 years to get another raise.

Under the new deal, the officers will get $1,500 added to their annual pay after five years, a similar amount after 10 years, and $3,000 after the 15th year.


Andrew Ryan of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Meghan E. Irons can be reached at meghan.irons@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @meghanirons.

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