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Orangeville Police Services Board, officers agree on new four-year deal

September 14, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

Following 18 months of strenuous negotiations, the Orangeville Police Services Board (OPSB) has announced an agreement on terms of a new four-year contract with the community’s uniformed police officers.

In a release to media last Thursday (Sept. 7), OPSB Chair Ken Krakar said he was pleased to finalize talks with the Orangeville Police Association (OPA) – the group responsible for negotiating a new contract on behalf of local officers. The new deal will run until December 31, 2019 and covers the nearly two-year period in which officers have worked without a formalized contract.

“From the Board’s perspective, I’m really happy this deal has been ratified and, more importantly, that this is a fiscally responsible contract for the taxpayers,” Mr. Krakar said. “Negotiations have been ongoing now for about a year and a half. It’s been a lengthy process, but a happy resolution for everyone.”

The agreement will see Orangeville’s police force receive a pay increase of 5.25 per cent over four years. Officers have been retroactively given an increase of 1.5 per cent for both 2016 and 2017, with a 1.25 per cent increase coming in 2018 and one per cent in 2019.

The salary increase is expected to cost the municipality about $300,000 over four years. That number is based on figures in this year’s police budget, whereby the Town has committed approximately $6 million towards uniformed officers’ salaries.

Sgt. Doug Fry, President of the OPA, confirmed that roughly 57 per cent of the association’s membership voted in favour of this new deal.

Mayor Jeremy Williams, who also sits on the OPSB, noted he too was “very happy” that a new contract had been signed. He believes the agreement paves the way for many years of consistent, controlled funding under an OPS policing model.

“The big win for our residents is knowing what our costs will be over the next few years. Unlike what would have happened under an OPP contract, we have the ability to control our costs and negotiate a deal that works for all sides,” Mayor Williams said. “The new contract is fiscally responsible and will lead the way for other police boards to model their contract after ours.”

While specific details regarding the new contract have yet to be made public, Orangeville’s mayor did shed some light on the new benefits package available to local police. He said that officers would be afforded more freedom when it comes to choosing how they want to use their health benefits.

“It also provides our officers with increased flexibility in the form of a benefit account where one can make their own decisions on how they wish to allocate their health benefits,” Mayor Williams said. “Instead of specific allotments for different kinds of health care expenses, our officers can apply as much or as little as needed of their total amount to the services they need most.”

Police Chief Wayne Kalinski told the Citizen he was “thrilled” the new contract had been ratified between the OPA and OPSB.

“Not only were we successful in retaining OPS as the police service for the citizens of Orangeville, but we also have a new contract in place now, so it’s very much business as usual,” Chief Kalinski said. “This brings stability to what we do each and every day here at OPS.”

With the contract for uniformed officers done and dusted, Chief Kalinski said the next priority would be to secure a new contract for the service’s civilian staff members. He mentioned that contract was currently under review and that he’s looking forward to reaching what he hopes will be a positive resolution in the near future.

As for the OPSB, Chair Krakar noted that with this contract now secure for the next two years the board could switch its focus towards finding a new deputy chief, a position that has been vacant since Chief Kalinski’s promotion in January 2015.

“That’s where our focus lies now,” he told the Citizen. “We’re still collecting information, but we can ramp that up now we’ve finalized negotiations on our new contract.”

         

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