ROCKLAND, N.Y. -- For the past six years Rockland County Sheriff's deputies have been working without a ratified contract. This Thursday, the Legislature will hold a special meeting to vote on a new contract that could finally seal the deal.
The deputies' union ratified the agreement, which covers 2011-2016, in November, but political infighting between legislative members has delayed a final vote on the contract which includes $2.1 million in overall salary increases with a one-and-half percent retroactive increase per year.
The contract also calls for new hires to pay more for their benefits and includes free tuition for education and career development. The deal is also contingent upon deputies receiving their back pay by Feb. 17.
"Our heroes in blue have been waiting six years for a new contract," said County Executive Ed Day. "We had a deal that was good for them and good for the taxpayers. It's beyond belief that some Legislators want to play politics with their livelihood."
The administration has resubmitted a detailed explanation of the funding and its source. The approach is similar to the successful negotiations with the county's largest unions, Day said.
The Republican minority, led by Legislator Lon Hofstein, called for the special meeting in order to avoid breaching the agreement and potentially forcing the matter to binding arbitration. Under the terms, the agreement must be approved by Friday, Feb. 3.
"It's a fair deal that deserves our support," Legislator Lon Hofstein said. "The sheriff deputies have waited long enough. We shouldn't make them wait any longer. We need to do what's right for the people who work so hard to protect us."