Hmmm...I just found an article about this longevity pay . Is it needless or necessary? I can certainly understand how it could effect some of the long time officer's and employee's. That longevity can really add up. http://www1.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news ... 70610.html
Staying power translates into extra dollars for public employees across the state, including Lower Bucks, and that isn't sitting too well with some officials.
Longevity pay, which is based on an employee's years of service and is given in addition to annual raises, is an excessive perk, said Middletown Supervisor Robert McMonagle.
"There is no link to performance or merit; I want to abolish it," he said. "Local government has to reflect the community it serves, and I don't know anybody who gets longevity pay in a regular, private job."
Lower Southampton Supervisor Mark Hopkins had similar thoughts.
"I'm in favor of merit pay as opposed to longevity pay," he said. "If someone is in a job a long time and is not improving and not getting any more efficient, I don't think that person should be getting paid more simply on the basis of being on the job a long time."
With a few exceptions, Middletown gives longevity pay to all its employees, including non-union workers, after five years of service. The exceptions are administrators hired after 1995 and non-union employees hired after 2006.
In an effort to cut down on longevity pay costs, the township also has frozen the benefit for all other non-union employees at 2006 levels.
It's rare in other area municipalities for non-union employees to get longevity pay, but it's a longstanding part of many contracts for union workers, particularly police.
Longevity pay compensates for other drawbacks to public employment, including a relative lack of promotion opportunities when compared to the private sector, especially large corporations, said Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police attorney Sean Welby. He's helped negotiate contracts for police in municipalities across Pennsylvania.
"Take the police department in Harrisburg, where you have about 160 officers," he said. "There are about 15 sergeants, and those people tend to remain in those positions for decades, which doesn't leave a lot of potential for promotion. In a lot of cases, there's maybe one promotional opportunity for every 50 employees."
Also, most police contracts are structured so that cops of the same rank are paid the same base salary regardless of their years of experience, Welby said. Longevity pay is a way to reward experience and compensate for this, he said.
For example, Falls will pay every police sergeant a base salary of $78,339 next year, every corporal $76,135 and every detective $73,932. However, the police contract also has longevity pay of 1 percent of base salary for all cops after five years of service, 2 percent after 10 years, 3 percent after 15 years, 4 percent after 20 years and 5 percent after 25 years.
So, a sergeant with five years of experience will get a $783 longevity payment on top of a $78,339 base salary next year, for a total pay of $79,122. On the upper end, a Falls sergeant with 25 years of experience will get a $3,916 longevity payment next year, on top of the $78,339 base salary for a total pay of $82,255.
Longevity pay for Falls employees in the office workers union is given in lump sum payments rather than as a percentage of base pay. For example, a Falls clerk with between five and nine years of experience will get a longevity payment of $500 next year. It's $800 for a clerk with between 10 and 14 years of experience, $1,200 for 15 to 19 years, $1,500 for 20 to 24 years and $2,000 for any clerk with 25 or more years of experience.
To give an idea of total pay for those Falls employees, a clerk with between five and nine years of experience will earn $17.95 an hour next year. Based on a 35-hour work week, that's $628.25 a week and $32,669 a year. The $500 longevity payment would increase that employee's annual pay to $33,169.
A Falls clerk with 20 or more years of experience will earn $19.45 an hour next year, or $680.75 a week and $35,399 a year. The longevity payment of at least $1,500 brings the total to $36,899.
Unlike McMonagle, Falls Supervisor Bob Harvie said he has no problem with longevity pay.
"I don't think it's ever been an issue with us," he said. "I see it as kind of a respect thing, a thank you for putting in so much time with the township. Also, you're paying them not only for the time they put in but their experience. That experience filters down to the younger employees and is a benefit to them as well."
Middletown Police Chief Frank McKenna represents pretty much the top of the line in longevity pay. He's been a township cop for 50 years and has received longevity pay in steadily increasing increments for most of that time.
This year, McKenna got a 3.5 percent raise to bring his base annual salary to $99,031. On top of that, he got a 7.5 percent longevity payment, or $7,427, for a total pay of $106,458.
Next year, McKenna's base salary will go to $103,487 after a 4.5 percent raise. He'll also get a $7,627 longevity payment for a total pay in 2008 of $111,114. The Courier Times was unsuccessful in attempts to reach McKenna for comment.
Pete Sepp, spokesman for the National Taxpayers Union in Alexandria, Va., takes a view on longevity pay that opposes the police union attorney Welby. While Welby sees longevity pay as compensation for things public employees don't get, Sepp sees it as one more thing they do get that private sector employees don't.
"There might be similar private sector incentives to longevity pay, but they're much rarer and much less generous," Sepp said. "Longevity pay is a lot more expensive than a gold watch or reserved parking space. Longevity pay might be the kind of thing that incentivizes an employee to hang around whether or not he or she likes the job, and that's not something an employer would probably want. There ought to be more merit considerations in government jobs and pay, and simply being some place for a long time doesn't have much of a connection to that."
Longevity pay added to things like regular annual raises and no contributions to health insurance for most public employees is too much, said Lower Southampton resident William Vogt, who spoke against longevity pay at a recent supervisors meeting.
"People should have to earn their money, and this [longevity pay] should be abolished," he said.I WOULD HAVE TO SAY THAT POLICE OFFICER'S EARN THEIR MONEY. BUT HEY, THAT'S JUST ME.