NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — City police officers will soon earn more money for working extra-duty assignments.
The New Brunswick City Council adopted an ordinance tonight that will increase the pay structure over the next several years. According to the document, police officers will take home an extra $15 per hour for working extra-duty assignments, like handling traffic near a construction site or managing buses outside city theaters, by 2020.
The union that represents New Brunswick cops approached the city with the proposed pay hike, City Administrator Thomas Loughlin III said during the March 15 council meeting.
“We also, on the city side, thought it was a good opportunity to adjust the rates that we collect on the police vehicle, as well as our administrative fee,” Loughlin said, referencing a jump in the amount of money collected by New Brunswick from organizations that contract extra-duty officers.
In its current form, the municipal code defines extra-duty pay rates for police officers going back to 2011, when they earned $54 per hour for the work. In 2015, the most recent year covered by the pay guide, cops received $66 per hour.
Once the ordinance goes into effect this year, New Brunswick cops will earn $71 per hour for extra-duty shifts. That figure will ultimately climb to $81 per hour in 2020.
Jobs calling for five or more police officers must also bring on a supervisor, according to the ordinance. As of now, they earn 15 percent above the normal rate, which totals $76 an hour. That number will soon rise to $82, leading to $93 per hour in 2020.
Nonprofit and civic groups—including the State Theatre, which is mentioned by name in the ordinance—receive a lower rate. The hourly figure will remain at $59 this year, rising to $62 in 2020.
The ordinance also eliminated a rank-based scale for what’s called “premium pay,” or the money earned by officers who work extra duty overnight or on holidays. That figure will soon stand at $99 per hour for all cops.
The move also represents a pay hike for City Hall. New Brunswick will charge higher administrative and vehicle fees, which are slated to climb by a few bucks per hour, to contractors.
City administrators count money earned through that program as regular budget revenues, Loughlin said.
In determining exactly how much extra-duty pay should increase, union and city officials looked at what several nearby municipalities charge, Loughlin said.
Since each municipal ordinance governing extra-duty pay for police is written differently, they are difficult to compare. Despite that, TAPinto New Brunswick compiled a number of those rates from neighboring communities and places that are similar in size to the Hub City.
Neighboring Piscataway, which is nearly identical in population size, has had an ordinance on the books that established pay rates through 2008. Effective 2009, the pay rates have been determined by an annual percentage increase.
According to TAPinto New Brunswick’s calculations, an officer working a traffic post this year earns roughly $79 per hour. That’s $8 above the new rate of $71 in New Brunswick.
A supervisor working security in Piscataway, according to those calculations, earns $62 per hour. That’s $20 below the new rate of $82 per hour in New Brunswick.
In Plainfield, cops working extra-duty events earn $35, $55 or $75 per hour, depending on the type of event. New Brunswick, meanwhile, has a flat fee for police officers that climbed to $71 per hour.
This year, Woodbridge police earn $42, $60 or $70 per hour, which depends on the type of project. Again, New Brunswick cops will now earn $71 per hour.
In neighboring Franklin, police earn $62.42 per hour this year. That number jumps to $82.82 for traffic services. New Brunswick’s new pay rate of $71 falls in the middle of those two figures.
Union Township, whose population is comparable to that of New Brunswick, has hourly pay rates that vary. Cops working construction earn $55 per hour, while inside security gets them $25 and traffic $40 per hour. All of these rates fall below the $71 hourly figure in New Brunswick.