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Details released on Police, Highway Department contracts

A fuller if somewhat still sketchy picture of the contracts signed with unions representing Police and Highway department employees has been released, expanding a bit on what Town Supervisor Gerry Siller released earlier about the one-year agreement.

Mr. Siller credited both unions with negotiating in good faith, but given the timetable for budget adoption for the current year, it didn’t allow enough time to work out a multi-year contract. Still, Mr. Siller said he didn’t want to see police and highway employees go without some added compensation during this inflationary period.

Consequently, the Town Board agreed to provide a cost of living raise for 2023 and take time to look further at longer range contracts and how they would affect future budgets.

In addition to the single-year salary agreement, the contract signed by Shelter Island Police Benevolent Association President Anthony Rando and Mr. Siller deals with installation and use of cameras with audio recording capability in all police vehicles, except for unmarked vehicles. The Town takes responsibility for the installation of the cameras.

The PBA agrees not to file any charges or grievances over their installation and implementation and the Town agrees any video or audio recordings are to be reviewed by the police chief, police supervisors and the Town Board — members of the Board are also police commissioners.

No recording will be provided to others unless required by law. In addition, the Town agrees data from the cameras can’t be used as the sole reason to initiate discipline, but may be used for other lawful purposes, including evidentiary purposes.

The two sides agreed that prior to any questioning of a Police Department member concerning an alleged violation of rules or procedures, PBA members could request the right to review audio or video recordings related to the conduct.

As for the Highway Department contract signed by Mr. Siller on behalf of the Town, and Mike Mitchell on behalf of the Shelter Island Highway Benevolent Association, there is a two-step salary agreement. As of Jan. 1, salaries were increased by the 4% given to many other Town employees as a cost-of-living hike. But as of July 1, the salary level will be raised by another 4%.

The only other provisions of the contract in the information provided indicated that the one-year contract would be subject to ratification of the union members and the Town Board and that should be a provision of future contracts.