Michael J. Sorba, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/03/2010 09:11:14 PM PST

COLTON – Facing forced job cuts, the city’s police officers have agreed to offer concessions totaling $1 million, the police union announced Friday.

With 16 officers set to be laid off, the Colton Police Officers Association hopes the offer will help prevent “potentially devastating cuts to the Police Department’s number of sworn officers,” a statement issued by the association said.

“As a part of the Colton community, the (association) decided to offer these concessions for the well-being of the city, its residents and business owners,” said Officer Greg Castillo, the association’s president. “I am proud of the members of the (association) for stepping up, taking this action and offering to make this significant financial sacrifice.”

Officers have agreed to a two-tiered retirement system for new hires, to forgo furlough hours owed, to give back accrued sick and vacation time for each officer, enact early retirements and waive the right for officers to receive monetary compensation for extra time accrued, the statement says.

Councilman Vincent Yzaguirre said he had not seen the specifics of the association’s offer Friday, but he’s glad officers are willing to help.

“We appreciate the sacrifices that our employees are willing to make to get us through this economic condition,” Yzaguirre said.

City Manager Rod Foster also hadn’t had a chance to review the proposal Friday so he couldn’t comment on it specifically.

“The city looks forward to receiving the proposal from the police officers association,” Foster said. “The city’s labor team will analyze it and present it to the City Council.”

The city’s firefighters union is engaged in negotiations with the city and has tentatively agreed to change retirement benefits for new hires, said Doug Blinkinsop, a city fire engineer and the union’s representative.

Firefighters and police receive the 3-at-50 retirement benefit. The system allows police and firefighters with 30 years of service to retire as early as the age of 50 and to earn pensions as high as 90 percent of their highest salary levels.

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