On October 30, 2008, The Press of Atlantic City reported that new Ocean City, New Jersey Police Officers will make approximately $5,000 less under the contract that was recently approved by the PBA and city council. The contract with the Policemen’s Benevolent Association Local 61 also reflected a move to the state health-insurance system from the city’s own health system. The city has cited double digit increases in premium costs as the reason for moving from its own plan to the State Health Benefits Program. The city further stated that it plans to move all municipal employees to the state benefits program as soon as practicable. 

The contract also reflected a 3.5 percent increase in salary for 2008, a 3.85 percent increase in salary for 2009, a 3.9 percent increase in salary for 2010 and a 3.8 percent increase in salary for 2011.


However where the contract strayed from the traditional path was the establishment of a two-tier pay system reflecting a cut in salary for new hires from $42,200 to $37,500. The contract also changed a longevity payment from a range of 0 to 12 percent to a flat dollar bonus based on years of service.


Presently contract negotiations with the city fire union have reached an impasse and are in binding interest arbitration.


We should take a few teaching points away from the settlement of this particular contract. 


  • First, I believe we will see a greater trend developing where municipalities will continue to move away from their own health plan system and opt into the State Health Benefit Program as a cost saving measure. 
  • Second, in today’s economy and with the poor self inflicted financial condition of the state of New Jersey, municipal aide is being cut which means less money for pay raises and benefits. The days of seeing 4% increases will be harder to come by in the immediate future. Furthermore, raises for 2008 will probably be less than the years that follow. 
  • Finally, it is interesting that the PBA agreed to lower the starting salary of new officers. While there may be a multitude of economic reasons for this decision, we should not speculate why this concession was made without understanding the dynamics of the department’s man power, Table of Organization, and the benefits conferred upon the members for making the concession.
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Photo of Frank M. Crivelli Frank M. Crivelli

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state…

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state, county and local law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMS workers.

Mr. Crivelli specializes his individual practice in collective negotiations.  Over the past twenty (20) years, Mr. Crivelli has negotiated well over one hundred (100) collective bargaining agreements for various state, county, municipal and private organizations and has resolved over thirty-five (35) labor agreements that have reached impasse through compulsory interest arbitration.  Mr. Crivelli routinely litigates matters in front of the New Jersey State Public Employment Relations Commission, the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law, third party neutrals for mediation, grievance and interest arbitration, the Superior Court of New Jersey and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Mr. Crivelli founded and created the New Jersey Public Safety Officers Law Blog (www.njpublicsafetyofficers.com) approximately fifteen (15) years ago where he and members of his firm routinely publish blog posts regarding legal issues related to the employment of New Jersey Public Safety Officers.  The blog now contains over six hundred (600) articles and is reviewed and relied upon by thousands of public employees.  Mr. Crivelli has also published books and manuals pertaining to New Jersey Public Employee Disability Pension Appeals and the New Jersey Worker’s Compensation System. Currently, he is drafting a publication on how to Prepare and Negotiate a Collective Bargaining Agreement.  He lectures annually at the New Jersey State PBA Collective Bargaining Seminar, the National Association of Police Organization’s Legal Seminar, the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission Seminar on Public Employment Labor Law, the United States Marine Corps’ Commander’s Media Training Symposium and to Union Executive Boards and General Membership bodies on various labor related topics.

Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Crivelli joined the United States Marine Corps where he served as a Judge Advocate with the Legal Services Support Section of the First Force Services Support Group in Camp Pendleton, California.  While serving in the Marine Corps, Mr. Crivelli defended and prosecuted hundreds of Special and General Court Martial cases and administrative separation matters.  In addition to his trial duties, Mr. Crivelli was also charged with the responsibility of training various Marine and Naval combat command elements on the interpretation and implementation of the rules of engagement for various military conflicts that were ongoing throughout the world at that time. After leaving active duty, Mr. Crivelli remained in the Marine Corps Reserves where he was promoted to the rank of Major before leaving the service.

For the past fifteen (15) years, Mr. Crivelli has been certified as a Civil Trial Attorney by the Supreme Court for the State of New Jersey, a certification which less than two percent (2%) of the attorneys in New Jersey have achieved.  He is a graduate of Washington College (B.A.), the City University of New York School of Law (J.D.), the United States Naval Justice School, and the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation.