Police contract talks continuing

Police contract talks continuing

CUMBERLAND - Town Council members meeting Wednesday were expected to again postpone action on several ordinances related to the police pension plan, as negotiators deal with an 11th-hour roadblock to a contract settlement with unionized officers.

Mayor Daniel McKee told The Breeze that the hang-up continues to be language about coordination of health care benefits with a spouse's plan.

Members of Lodge No. 14, Fraternal Order of Police, had seemed to ratify the contract late last year when the last-minute issue was raised.

Since then, McKee says there have been rounds of negotiations that may be resolved at midweek.

He noted for every week the contract remains unresolved, and along with it changes in costly benefits, the unfunded liability of the pension plan increases by $110,000.

At the same time, taxpayer spending for legal and actuarial services is going up. To date, he estimates, it's in the $150,000 range.

The town is depleting a $116,000 contingency fund after exhausting two legal line items that totaled $105,000, he said.

McKee says the spending on legal fees far exceeds the typical year, but he says it's worth it.

"There's a lot at stake here with this one," McKee said .