LEWISTON — The City Council approved a new collective bargaining agreement with the city’s police union Tuesday, following a short but contentious negotiating period over the summer. 

The framework of a new contract was agreed upon Aug. 16, but the council voted 5-2 Tuesday to officially accept the terms. Councilors Zack Pettengill and Michael Marcotte voted against the agreement, but did not explain their positions further. 

There was almost no comment by councilors. 

The agreement between the city and the Lewiston unit of the Maine Association of Police is for the period of July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2021. 

According to a memo from Deputy City Administrator Denis D’Auteuil, the city’s chief contract negotiator, the new agreement will give police an immediate cost-of-living adjustment of 2.5 percent, followed by three more adjustments by the end of the contract. Starting next year, the adjustments will come every six months.

According to D’Auteuil, notable features of the new contract also include an increase to retirement health savings contributions, updated health insurance premium caps, changes to health insurance premium rates and an increase to shift rotation compensation time. 

The union represents the patrol officers, detectives and corporals of the Lewiston Police Department.

On Aug. 1, the union announced that officers would begin wearing green police T-shirts to protest the lack of a contract. The previous contract expired June 30, and police were already in the spotlight following a string of violent incidents in the downtown, including two murders. 

A number of officers spoke to the Sun Journal in August about the difficulties of the job and the volume and nature of police work in Lewiston. The union had previously expressed frustrations about low pay, which they said makes it difficult to lure qualified candidates to the department.

The city and Maine Association of Police, Maine’s largest police union, had been involved in contract mediation via the Maine Labor Relations Board.

D’Auteuil told the council Tuesday that the contract agreement would be posted to the city’s website as soon as all necessary signatures were on the document. 

Council President Kristen Cloutier thanked D’Auteuil for his work on the negotiations. 

Lewiston Police Detective Corey Jacques, the local police union president, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the contract agreement Tuesday. 

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The city officially approved a new collective bargaining agreement with Lewiston police on Tuesday, following a short but contentious negotiating process this summer when police wore green T-shirts to protest the lack of a contract. (Sun Journal file photo)

Notable features of the new Lewiston police union contract: 

Cost-of-living adjustments: 7/1/18- 2.5%

7/1/19 – 2.5%

1/1/20 – 0.5%

7/1/20- 2.5%

• Add 20-year step to wage scale

• Increase to Retirement Health Savings contributions

• Updated language for the Health Insurance Bridge

• Updated Health Insurance premium caps

• Changes to Health Insurance premium rates

• Increase to shift rotation compensation time

• Updated language on cell phone stipend

• Updated schedule language

• Updated vacation accrual chart added

• Changes to In-Service Drop Program