County legislators approved a new deal with the union representing the Sheriff’s Department’s road patrol and corrections supervisors that includes health care changes and wage adjustments similar to other labor contracts.
The agreement covering 2011 and 2012 with an option for a one-year extension brings a 1.5 percent salary boost for the 10-member road patrol and the 22 supervisors working in the Schenectady County Jail. It also allows the bargaining units to accrue up to 225 days of sick leave and to carry over a maximum of 20 days of vacation time each year.
Members of the road patrol will also be able to accrue up to 96 hours of comp time in lieu of overtime with prior approval from the sheriff. The road patrol will also have a $100 increase in hazardous duty pay retroactive to January 2012.
County Attorney Chris Gardner said the union agreed to a number of concessions regarding health care, which will ultimately save money. This includes joining a preferred provider health care plan that costs 22 percent less, offering a choice between two less expensive Medicare Advantage plans and enrolling the units in a county program that utilizes the more affordable prescription drugs from Canada.
“We believe it will save the county money,” he said of the agreement, which was unanimously adopted by the Legislature last week.
The reforms are similar to ones negotiated with the CSEA, 1199 SEIU, and the corrections bargaining unit of the Schenectady County Sheriffs’ Benevolent Association. Ronald Walsh, the association president, couldn’t be reached for comment this week.
Gardner said by approving the changes to the contract, the county has continued on a path that has allowed it to save roughly $10 million annually in the health care cost of its employees. He said the county has seen flat health care costs over the past five years, during a time when other counties in the Capital Region have seen these expenses spike.
“We think we’ve been very successful in dealing with these issues,” he said.