Wes Woods II
Created: 04/11/2012 06:08:51 PM PDT

CLAREMONT – The police union has rejected a three-year contract offer that had been agreed upon by its leadership and the city.

Detective Rick Varney, the Claremont Police Officers Association president, said he was sorry about the failed agreement.

“I know the community will be upset on whole thing,” Varney said. “I offer my apologies but we are trying to work toward an end to this issue. It’s not that our association members don’t want to pay into their PERS (California Public Employees Retirement System). They do. At this point, we’re trying to find out what they want in addition to what we negotiated to. We know we’re going to pay into our PERS, and we don’t have any issues on that.”

Varney said after its 37 members turned in their votes a single ballot made the difference.

“You always hear in elections my vote doesn’t count … every vote was valuable,” Varney said. “With 19-18, we’re not that far to coming to an agreement. We just need a simple majority.”

Interim Assistant City Manager Colin Tudor said city officials were told about the vote early Wednesday.

Police union and city officials will meet for mediation at 10 a.m. Monday at the state Public Employee Relations Board in Glendale, Varney said.

“The negotiating team will meet at the PERS hearing with our board members,” Varney said. “We’ll see if any headway can be made in that.”

In the tentative agreement turned down by the union rank and file, members would have had to agree to pay the remaining percentage of its pension contribution starting July 8, 2013.

The union would also have withdrawn two legal actions it filed against the city. The actions involve an unfair labor practice allegation and a writ of mandate requesting salary information for several top city officials, including former employees.

Union members will move ahead with legal actions it had planned against the city, union attorney Dieter Dammeier said.

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