City grants officers 3 percent COLA
The Newberg City Council has approved a 3 percent cost of living adjustment for the Newberg-Dundee Police Department under a collective bargaining agreement between the union representing the rank and file officers, the Newberg-Dundee Public Safety Association (NDPSA), and the city. The agreement extends through June 2022 and takes effect Monday.
The financial impact to the city is approximately $36,000 more than what was allowed for under the 2018-2019 budget.
The formula used for determining the amount of the COLA increase is mandated by the state, which requires that cities compare increases with other similar-size cities. Nine cities were studied and the average increase was found to be 3.29 percent.
"In the collective bargaining agreement, we have to bargain in a certain way and we have to use comparables in regards to the size and location of the facility," Anna Lee, city human resources director, said. "As the city and the police union we have to come to an agreement as to what our comparables are going to be for salary and for benefits."
According to Bureau of Labor and Industry statistics, the average annual pay for a patrol police officer in Oregon is $68,530 per year; the national average is $61,270. However, in collective bargaining agreements the increase is not compared salary-to-salary, but must follow the Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act or PECBA. Typically, that is because departments are structured differently.
"The other piece is that we have dispatch and not all cities have dispatch and records people in their unions," Lee said. "We are one of the cities that has both dispatch and records. These are added comparables."
In Oregon, the Legislature passed what became known as the Oregon Equal Pay Act, which requires that all public employers in the state review like positions to ensure equal pay for that same position. The bill will go into effect January.
However, the city of Newberg is ahead of the curve as it undertook in 2016 a comparative study of pay and job descriptions.
"Back in 2015, we already adjusted pay and as far as that is concerned, we are in a good spot," Lee explained. "It's all about preparing and keeping current."