Trustees approve contract with village police department

LAKE PLACID - The Lake Placid Village Board of Trustees this week unanimously approved a new contract with village police officers.

At Monday's regular board meeting, Mayor Craig Randall presented a two-year contract with Teamsters Local 687. The deal features three percent raises for the village's 14 officers, two of whom are part-time employees.

Randall told the board that the village is better off with a two-year deal because of the shaky economy.

"Short-term is better at this point," he said. "It's better to reach an agreement now and come back to the table when the contract is up and see where we stand."

The mayor thanked trustees Art Devlin and Zay Curtis, as well as Dan McKillip of North Country Labor Relations, for negotiating what he called a "fair deal for both parties."

"For the moment, for the two-year period this represents, this is a reasonable conclusion to this negotiation," Randall said. "I have to thank Art and Zay in particular who put in a lot of time on the board's behalf. I would also say that we spent considerable hours working over this negotiation and trying to come up with something that would fit within our current budget. This fits."

Union officials met with the village on at least 12 occasions, and at one point an impasse was declared. Randall said that after about five meetings, it became apparent that negotiations wouldn't be easy.

"We went into mediation," he said. "We had three meetings with a state-appointed mediator, and just before Thanksgiving we realized further mediation wouldn't work."

Randall then directed his negotiation team to go back to the table and present the village's offer as final - which did pose considerable risk for the village.

"If they did not accept the offer, it would then go to binding arbitration, which we were advised - in view of other surrounding community settlements - would be difficult for the village," Randall said. "But we didn't get to that point, however, because the police department, after getting clarification on what our offer really represented, in fact voted in favor of accepting the offer.

The contract does include some concessions on the teamsters behalf, and Randall also notes officers will continue to contribute 20 percent to their health insurance premiums.

Because the last contract expired in August, the new contract is retroactive to August 1, 2009. It expires on July 31, 2011.

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