Pittsfield Public Safety Contract Extended

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Pittsfield Township will continue to enjoy its public safety services throughout 2021 now that the Board of Supervisors has agreed to a one year contract extension through 2022. The only difference is that Supervisor Many Grewal insisted that township employees across the board receive a five percent increase in salary, which includes the Department of Public Services.

“This is because of the public safety millage having been on the ballot twice this year, we didn’t undertake full negotiations. So next year will [have] negotiations over that one year time period,” Grewal said.

What is different about the DPW contract extension is that both township officials and Scott Koeppes, leader of the local 3008 chapter of the International Association of Fire Fighters said it would have been much more difficult without the passage of the November millage public safety millage last November.

“We had some talks prior to the November vote and [there was also issues] Covid too [in] getting people together,” Koeppes said.

The police union also received the same increase. Their union leader did not respond to a request for comment.

The unions that represent DPW employees will continue negotiations with the township this summer. Fire Chief Sean Gleason said that the passage of the millage will allow them more space to negotiate and that filling vacant employee spaces wouldn’t be on the table.

“That was crucial in maintaining,” Gleason said. “We would not be adding positions. We are [currently] down three positions [in the fire department] and now we are filling positions. If we had not gotten the millage, I don’t think we would be able to fill positions. The police are in the same position; they’re filling positions also. But luckily the millage did pass, and we’re able to fill those positions.”

All agreed that it is too early to speculate on what the township and the unions will want when negotiations begin. The process will start this summer.

“The current extension goes until the end of 2022. During 2022, we will negotiate with all of the public safety union groups in fire, police, police command, to hopefully come up with the terms of a new contract in 2023,” Director of Public Safety Matthew Harshberger said.

Image Credit: Dwight Burdette at Wikipedia.org

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