BY DAVE GYMBURCH Staff writer

A new 2-year contract between the city and the police officers’ union was described as "fair and equitable" by Mayor James F. Brown Thursday before it was approved by the Board of Estimate and Contract.

The board, which includes Brown, voted 4-0 to authorize the mayor to execute the agreement with the Philip S. McDonald Police Benevolent Association, which recently ratified it. The vote did not include Corporation Counsel Diane Martin-Grande, a board member who was absent.

Also at the meeting, the board tabled action on a contract agreement with Fire Chief Ronald M. Brement, who was named to the position in March at a salary of $86,619.

• Brown said he was "happy with the result" of the police contract. He called it a "win-win for the city and probably the most important people we have in the city," referring to police officers as well as firefighters who "go out day-to-day" to protect the public.

The contract, covering the 2008 and 2009 calendar years, includes retroactive raises of 3.5 percent and 3.25 percent for those respective years. It expires at the end of 2009.

Brown cited the "due diligence" of the city’s negotiating team which included Martin-Grande, Public Safety Commissioner James Masucci and Treasurer John Nash. Negotiators for the police union included PBA President Stewart Rood.

• A resolution to authorize the agreement between the city and Brement has been tabled for "well over a month" as terms continue to be discussed, Nash said after the meeting.

The discussion is for a contract with terms and conditions of employment to cover Brement separately from the firefighters’ union contract, said Common Council President John Mazzaferro; Mazzaferro is a member of the Board of Estimate and Contract as are Nash and Public Works Commissioner Frank Tallarino. He said a separate contract also was in place for the previous fire chief, Roger R. Sabia, who retired.

Such contracts are the result of a prior state Public Employment Relations Board ruling that the fire chief and first assistant chief will not be part of the overall union collective bargaining agreement, Nash explained. The assistant chief position currently is vacant, he added.