Wes Woods II, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Created: 10/26/2011 11:26:25 AM PDT

CLAREMONT – Police officers union members will immediately begin paying a 6 percent contribution to the California Public Employees Retirement System, joining other city unions.

The City Council voted 3-2 to have police union members increase their retirement contribution after 26 people spoke on the issue Tuesday night.

Councilmen Opanyi Nasiali and Corey Calaycay voted against the item because they opposed the 1.5 percent cost-of-living salary increase in the contract and said all employees should pay all of their own retirement contributions.

“I can’t win this walking away tonight,” Calaycay said in his closing remarks. “If I vote for it, it’s a vendetta. If I vote against it, I’m succumbing to pressure.”

Calaycay received a letter from the Committee Of Police and Fire Associations Inspiring Responsible Elections political action committee on Oct. 19 saying it will “actively oppose” him in future elections apparently as a result of his stance in the stymied city negotiations with the police union.

The police officers unions have claimed the 6 percent contribution is more than the 3 percent other city employees have been asked to pay. The city, however, said other employees will also make the 6 percent contribution.

“This is not the position you go on the cheap,” said Dieter Dammeier, attorney for the Claremont Police Officers Association.

“You got to get the best. And you’re not going to get the best if you’re not competitive in the market. Everybody in the market knows that. Claremont, unique place, I grew up here actually. I guess you guys want to do it in a unique way. The problem is your approach of treating everybody equally didn’t really pan out. In the middle of these negotiations you have certain executives in the city getting pay raises.”

Dammeier said the vote just didn’t make sense.

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