Gardens approves new police contract with 6 percent raises

The Palm Gardens City Council will honor the police officers shot in Dallas at its meeting Thursday.

The Palm Gardens City Council approved a new agreement with the police union Thursday night.

Palm Beach Gardens officials voted 5-0 Thursday night to approve a new, three-year contract with police employees that grants six percent annual raises.

The agreement also boosts the minimum and maximum salaries for all positions by 3 percent in the first year of the contract, which will make Palm Beach Gardens more competitive in recruiting with similar departments in Palm Beach County for recruiting, Human Resources Administrator Sheryl Stewart told the City Council.

Councilman Bert Premuroso said officials should be appreciative of compromises police and firefighters made in previous years to get the city in a strong financial position. That, in turn, has allowed the city to make the adjustments that will make Palm Beach Gardens emergency personnel among the best-paid in the county, rightly so, he said.

“It’s certainly not taken lightly what they had to change and sacrifice over those years to really make it a team effort for our city to be successful,” Premuroso said.

The city made changes to police and firefighter pensions a few years ago to save millions of dollars. Police under the current contract earned 2.5 percent yearly raises. The new agreement takes effect Oct. 1.

Other provisions include 5 percent assignment pay to employees who are assigned to the traffic, K-9 or community involvement units or SWAT team. Community involvement officers and SWAT team members get no extra pay under the current agreement, while K-9 officers get monthly stipends and on-call pay.

There are 131 police officers, sergeants and communications operators in the Police Benevolent Association who are covered by the new police agreement, Stewart said. The total cost of the agreement for three years is about $2 million.

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