By SCOTT BAUER
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Starting salaries for Wisconsin state troopers would increase by nearly $6,000 a year under their first new contract in five years, a deal that won approval Wednesday after a previous agreement calling for higher raises was rejected.
A Republican-controlled committee of legislative leaders voted unanimously to accept the new contract. It now heads to the Legislature for final votes.
The troopers’ last approved contract ended in 2015. The new deal, for 370 state troopers, is retroactive to the two year-period that ended in July 2019. Troopers will receive a lump-sum payment.
Under the agreement, starting salaries will increase from $43,680 a year to $49,358. The pay scale will be adjusted for all troopers according to their years of service. Troopers will also receive a 2% pay raise for each of the past two years. They will now reach the top pay scale, at $71,593 a year, after seven years rather than the previous 10.
Total increases amount to a 9.9% bump for the entire bargaining unit. Republican legislative leaders balked at the previous contract, which had starting-salary increases of more than 20%. The total cost of the new deal is about $2.6 million, or roughly half as much as the rejected plan.
Chad Thompson, a master trooper in Wood County and president of the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association, said he hoped the agreement would help the Wisconsin State Patrol with recruitment and retention. He was also optimistic that a new contract, for the current year and beyond, could be negotiated soon.
“We’d like to never get to this position again where we have that four or five year gap between contracts,” he said.