Board extends amended contract to police captain

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published April 21, 2014

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — At the Board of Trustees meeting April 15, township officials voted 6-1 to offer police Capt. Stephen Stanbury an amended contract to become police chief after Stanbury had declined their initial offer April 1.

The initial contract would have established a one-year nonunion management position at a pay cut from Stanbury’s compensation as captain. The amended contract would provide the same perks as the recently ratified patrol union’s contract — a $500 signing bonus and 2 percent wage increase.

Stanbury is currently the highest-ranking command officer and single qualifier for the position of police chief in the Shelby Township Police Department, as determined by the township’s Police and Fire Civil Service Commission.

Supervisor Rick Stathakis said that when Stanbury entered the Supervisor’s Office April 9, Stathakis was sure the captain would accept the offer and that Stanbury’s rejection took him completely by surprise. Stanbury said that the meeting was cordial, but he could not accept the contract for personal reasons and he also presented a counter offer to maintain his captain’s compensation.

“I am happy that the board and I are still talking and negotiating, because that’s excellent,” Stanbury said. “I’m happy they saw fit to increase the offer. I thought that was good of them to do that and to give such a favorable vote.”

He added that he would consider the contract and weigh his options.

“Mr. Stathakis said I can accept their counter offer, reject it or make another counter offer to them,” Stanbury said.

Township labor attorney Craig Lange said he could not comment on how the amendment to the contract was decided but that it was less than Stanbury’s counter offer.

“On April 1, the board was informed in closed session by our labor counsel on the terms of a tentative agreement between the township and the Shelby Township Patrol Officers Association,” Stathakis said April 15. He then made a motion to mirror the patrol officers’ perks in the captain’s contract.

The patrol officers’ contract included a 5 percent wage increase over a four-year period beginning in 2013 — when their previous contract expired — with an immediate 2 percent increase, as well as a 2 percent increase in 2015 and a 1 percent increase in 2016. The patrol officers also transitioned from a pension plan to a 401(k)-type retirement plan with the township’s promise to pay off pension legacy costs.

Since the captain’s contract is for one year, the board included the officer’s first-year perks in his contract. The rest of his contract remained unchanged.

Trustee Paula Filar made a motion and specified that Stanbury would have until the end of the business day April 21 to accept or decline the contract.
Trustee Doug Wozniak seconded the motion. Clerk Stanley Grot, Treasurer Michael Flynn and Trustee Nick Nightingale voted yes. Trustee Paul Viar cast the single dissenting vote. The Shelby-Utica News went to press before the deadline to accept or reject the contract.

In a later interview, Viar said he voted no because he believed the initial offer was adequate.

“It was the same contract that was offered to former police chief (Roland Woelkers), and he took it. They don’t want to go on a job that doesn’t pay them overtime, because it’s easy money for them,” Viar said, and added that the chief receives a salary.

The first contract would have paid Stanbury an annual salary of $92,500 for the first six months — a probationary period. The annual salary would rise to $95,000 through the end of the calendar year, and then $104,500 to the end of the contract. If the board extended the contract, it would be at the annual salary of $104,500.

“Why are the police paid so much money that when they are offered a promotion to the head of the department, they refuse it because they’re taking less money?” Shelby Township resident Thomas Turner said at the meeting. “To me, that looks like we’ve got an overpaid Police Department.”

Stathakis told Turner that the reason Stanbury received more as captain was because of overtime.

“(Overtime is) something we do need to fix and something we are going to look at,” he said. “We’re not only going to look at it, but we’re going to fix it, and it’s one of the things we’ll get done in 2014.”