Forest Park police officers are getting a bump in pay, a new bonus for working on major holidays and more limited health insurance options.
The new contract, which was unanimously approved by the Forest Park Village Council on Oct. 24, is retroactive to May 1, 2021, and will expire on April 30, 2024. It encompasses patrol officers and sergeants represented by the Fraternal Order of Police Michael T. Caulfield Memorial Lodge 24. The village council approved the pay rates for Chief Ken Gross, Deputy Chief Christopher Chin and the three lieutenants earlier during the same meeting as part of a larger ordinance establishing pay for non-union staff.
Village officials declined to comment on why it took over a year for the contract to be signed. Lodge 24 didn’t respond to the Review’s request for comment.
The contract calls for retroactive 2.75% salary increases effective May 1, 2021, then 3.5% salary increases on May 1, 2022, and 3.25% salary increases effective May 1, 2023. As in the past contracts, the longer the officers have been on the force, the higher the increase is. The language specified that officers who are no longer part of the union because they’ve been promoted, retired or went on a disability since the last contract officially expired are eligible for the retroactive salary bumps as well.
Starting this Thanksgiving, officers who work on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day or New Years Day will get paid 1.5 times their regular hourly rate for every hour they work on those holidays. The contract specifies that employee who work night shifts won’t get premium pay if their shift starts the day before the holiday, but they would get premium pay if it starts on the holiday. For example, an officer whose shift starts on the evening of Dec. 24 and ends on the morning of Dec. 25 will be paid the regular rate, but an officer whose shift starts on the evening of Dec. 25 and ends on the morning of Dec. 26 will be paid the holiday rate for the entire shift.
Another major change touches on health insurance for new officers. Under the previous contract, officers hired on or after May 1, 2017, could enroll in a village HMO plan, a village PPO plan or the High Deductible HSA PPO plan. The new contract limits any officers hired after July 1, 2022, to the HMO plan. The officers can still opt out of the village health insurance if they can show they already have another health insurance plan. As before, the village will pay the equivalent of 40% of the village share of the premium for the lowest-cost village health insurance plan.
Other benefits, including sick leave, vacation days and seniority, will remain the same as before.
Mayor Rory Hoskins told the Review that he was satisfied with the contract.
“I think it was a fair contract that was agreed to by the parties,” he said. “I am glad that it was passed.”