Hamburg Town Board members approved new contracts for the police chief and the assistant police chief Monday night.
One board member said the town should not have changed premium pay for the two men, because now their pensions will be based on larger pay, and he voted against them.
But Supervisor Steven J. Walters said the new contracts simply give Police Chief Michael Williams and Assistant Chief John Conlin the same benefits they agreed to several years ago. Walters said the old contracts gave them benefits similar to those included in the command officers union, which covers captains and lieutenants. But the contracts lumped the pay together, and called it “premium pay,” which was on top of their base salaries.
A ruling by the state Comptroller’s Office said that premium pay would not be used in calculating pensions for Williams and Conlin, although it was used to calculate the pension payment of former Chief Carmen Kesner when he retired, Walters said.
So the new four-year contracts, retroactive to 2012, provide longevity payments and double-time for 16 holidays, instead of premium pay.
The base salary for Williams this year is $122,448, but with the 12 percent longevity and double time, his pay will be about $152,000. Conlin’s base salary is $108,215, and with the longevity and holiday double-time, he will be paid about $134,500 this year. The contracts also include 3 percent raises each of the four years.
“From my perspective, and from everything I’ve been told in this process, this is simply a clarification of what was agreed to back in 2008, 2009, 2010,” said Brian Doyle, the town’s human relations consultant.
Councilman Joseph Collins said the town could have saved some money on pensions by not changing the contracts, and he voted against approving the contracts.
“We could have just left that as premium pay and that wouldn’t have figured into their retirement,” Collins said. “I’m concerned for the taxpayers and what we’re paying.”