Nashua Mayor Donalee Lozeau is upset with the new contracts proposed by the city Police Supervisors Association. She is right to be. Aldermen should be too.
The association has proposed pay increases of 6.7 percent for sergeants and combined 7.7 percent for lieutenants over four years. That would increase the city’s cost for those employees from $2.5 million to about $2.7 million a year. Can the city afford that much of an increase? That is not quite the right question. The question is whether the city can be sure it can afford it down the road.
The raises are small at first — 1 percent in the first two years for sergeants, and 2 percent, falling to 1 percent, for lieutenants. Then they rise to 2.2 percent in 2014 and 2.5 percent in 2015 for both sergeants and lieutenants. (The raises are retroactive to 2012.)
The economy, as most people understand, is not doing so well. In August, the labor force participation rate fell to 63.2, its lowest level since Jimmy Carter was in the White House. Last month alone, 312,000 people stopped looking for work. “August was the 40th consecutive month in which more unemployed workers left the labor market than found jobs,” The Wall Street Journal reported this month.
In this economic climate the city is going to guarantee sizeable pay raises through 2015? That is a bad idea. Aldermen should say no.