Thought to be signed, sealed and delivered months ago, it looks like there’s still no legally binding, signed contract for the Brigantine Police union. This was confirmed by Brigantine City Clerk Lynn Sweeney on Thursday Jan 28, 2016. ( see below )
Voted on & approved by Brigantine City Council on Sept. 2, 2015, could some of the sweetened financial terms already been put into the system? Yes. Even without a signed contract? Likely.
Translation: Brigantine City Manager Stinson & most of City Council are aware that the Brigantine PD Union received financial upgrades to their salary, vacation & sick time, pensions and over-time… without having to sign paperwork that legally memorializes the specific terms & conditions.
We call that a blank check, much like when Brigantine Fire Captains sign-off on each other’s overtime pay-outs.
See premature contract announcement in Shore News Today .
Read BrigantineNOW story of ‘Signed Contract’ from Oct 2, 2015.
So, why no signature? Reports point to the disparity between the super fat & happy Fire-fighters deal, and the still great but more modest Police deal. (see agreements below) In other words, Brigantine Police officers might be angry they didn’t get the same, insanely sweet deal as the Fire-fighters.
According to available documents, the FD had their ‘terminal leave’ payouts boosted from 75% to 100%. No such terms for the Brigantine cops.
It’s interesting to note that some key influencers of these deals are former City Mgr. Jim Barber, Mayor Phil Guenther and Councilman Andy Simpson. All three have relatives in the Brigantine Fire Department.
UN-SIGNED PBA Draft agreement 2013-2016
SIGNED CONTRACT 2014-2017
Less than accurate representations were made to local media outlets like The Press of Atlantic City, The Beachcomber, and The Brigantine Times. These premature proclamations were not based in fact.
PBA Local 204 President William Stroby said the union is “very satisfied with the contract.” Sept. 3, 2015 Press of AC
Mayor Phil Guenther said the new contract “reflects the economic realities of the day.” Sept. 3, 2015 Press of AC
See actual proposed terms here:
Brigantine Police Department base salary now includes holiday pay, education stipends and longevity. These amounts unlawfully increase amount eligible for a pension, thus increasing tax burden on Brigantine residents for many decades in the future.
This activity is not legal according to the NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits. SEE HERE.
Longevity is not frozen as is falsely proclaimed. Taxpayers still pay it for existing employees. New hires don’t get it but it continues to accumulate by a fixed amount based on years of employment instead of a percentage. Job performance has no bearing on longevity payment – only time in the job. According to the 2014 Brigantine salary list, taxpayers paid almost $400,000 in annual longevity payments.
How False Statements by Brigantine City Manager and Mayor Were Un-Covered.
From: “Sweeney, Lynn” <Lynn@brigantinebeachnj.com>
Date: Jan 28, 2016 10:30 AM
Subject: RE: OPRA Brigantine PD contract request UPDATE
To: “Brigantine Now”
Regarding the P.B.A. contract, a new contract has been negotiated but has not yet been signed. I can provide a copy of the most recently signed contract that was signed a few years ago and has now expired. Please let me know if you would like me a copy of the expired contract. As soon as I have possession of a signed, new contract, I will forward it to you.
From: Brigantine Now
Sent: Wednesday, January 27, 2016 10:37 AM
To: Sweeney, Lynn
Subject: OPRA Brigantine PD contract request UPDATE
On JAN 18, 2016 (9 days ago), I requested via OPRA, a copy of the latest Brigantine PD & FD contracts. Of course, valid signatures would be expected to be a part of those documents.
On JAN 19, 2016, you responded:
Here are the Brigantine Firefighter’s contracts. As of right now, I don’t have a signed copy of the Brigantine Police contract but expect to have it within the week. I will forward that to you as soon as I do.
On JAN 25, 2016, you sent me an email stating:
I am still waiting for the signed copy of the police officer’s contract and will send it to you as soon as I have it in my possession.
Lynn Sweeney, RMC City Clerk
In regard to your January 25th e-mail ….
Does this mean that the contract is signed and that you’re just waiting to receive a copy of it?
Or does it mean that no signed contract presently exists and that you’re waiting for one of the parties to sign it? Please advise.
If the former, your e-mail seems to be a request for an extension of time within which to fulfill my OPRA request. As you know, a request for an extension must be for a specific time, not for an indefinite period as your e-mail implies.
Would Thursday, January 28th by close of business be an acceptable date and hour for you to have the request fulfilled? Also, please remember that under N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5, “contract” are among the documents that are supposed to be made “immediately available.”