Deal may be good

Last week we learned city of Gloversville officials may be nearing a new labor agreement with the city’s police union, which has been without a new contract since 2010.

The details of the potential agreement have not yet been revealed, but city officials have said the new deal will actually be retroactive, covering 2010 to 2013, which of course would leave the city and the union with a new contract that has already expired.

To the general public this process may appear absurd, but there is a method to the madness. New York state’s Taylor Law and its Triborough Amendment mandate that all of the provisions of a public employee contract remain in place after the agreement expires and until a new deal is agreed to by both sides. Public employee contracts then never really expire; since 2010 police officers in Gloversville have retained their benefits and their longevity raises, they just haven’t gotten a general annual increase to their base pay. While the new retroactive agreement with the police union may include raises, that is preferable to the city entering into long-term agreements that lock the city into future raises that may not be sustainable. By keeping the deal retroactive, city officials can make agreements they know the city has the money to pay.

Any effort to contain the cost of the salaries and benefits of public employees locally, which account for most of the property tax burden, should be applauded. We hope Gloversville’s method works.