Bradford City Police Fire Back at Bradford Era

Editor’s Note: We originally learned of this letter via the 1490NewsBlog, and have since received a faxed copy from the City of Bradford Police Department.

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The police officers, of the City of Bradford Police Department, would like to clarify some misleading facts that have appeared in The Bradford Era. We are not doing this to get into a war of words with anyone, nor will we make any further comments regarding these issues.

First is the issue of concession asked for by the city. Yes, we have rejected insurance concessions offered by the city in the past couple of years. The last concession offer made by the city was on December 17, 2010. Representatives of our bargaining unit were told by the city clerk and city solicitor that they needed an answer by December 18, 2010. Department representatives were also told that the insurance was not the main concern of the city, but that a retirement package was. A retirement package of 2 years post-retirement benefits for any officer age 55 years or older was offered to our department. Representatives were also told that the officer had to be 55 at the time this offer was made. This limited the offer to 1 officer even though we have 3 officers who are retirement eligible, with one of those officers turning 55 in 4 months. Again, representatives were told that the officer had to be 55 at the time of the offer. To compare offers, the fire department package was for 4 firemen and included post-retirement benefits for up to 7 years. They, too, had a firemen fall just short of their age requirement of 58 years.

To further clarify the union’s position regarding the retirement package we offer the following: Approximately 3 years ago, our department had officers that wanted to retire and had asked for a benefit package similar to the one offered by the city last year. Union representatives were told, by the city, that it wasn’t allowed or that they couldn’t do that. To offer a package now is a slap in the face to those officers who asked for one 3 years ago and were told no.

The second issue is the overtime totals that made their way into the paper. It is not proper or accurate to just subtract an officer’s base wage from the final gross wage and call the difference overtime. There are several factors that need to be taken into account when determining an officer’s overtime. Our contract spells out three factors that were incorrectly added to The Era’s totals. One is the added pay an officer receives for any promotion. An officer will receive a percentage of their base pay for each promotion received. This percentage will then be added to that officer’s base pay. All officers receive shift differential for hours worked between 3 p.m. and 7 a.m. This again is added to the base pay an officer receives. The third factor is the overtime pay an officer receives for testifying in court on their off duty time. The Era also added wages earned while working for the McKean County Drug Task Force. The officers are initially paid overtime by the city, but the city is then reimbursed by the district attorney’s office.

Clearly, there is going to be overtime in any work environment, but how that overtime is earned or paid out is different in all workplaces. We believe that if proper research had been done and the time taken to interview all parties involved, a different article would have been written.

It is time for the leaders of this city to stop using the press to enrage the public against the city employees and the benefits they earn. Contracts are negotiated, and benefits earned within that contract should not be used to generate distrust with the public.

Respectfully,
City of Bradford Police Officers


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