He’ll be asking the labor unions to let employees pay more for health and retirement benefits



Published: 22 April 2012 06:19 PM

Redlands’ labor negotiator has begun meeting with representatives of employee groups to discuss salary and benefit issues that city officials say could help improve Redlands’ long-term financial health.

The City Council has directed its negotiator, Richard Kreisler, a partner in the Los Angeles law firm Liebert Cassidy Whitmore, to propose changes in employee retirement and lifetime health care benefits and overtime, city spokesman Carl Baker said in a news release.

The councilmen have been discussing employee compensation issues in closed-session meetings and in February authorized the negotiator to begin talking to representatives of the city’s employee associations.

The city is hoping to ease the costs of funding retirement and other employee benefits, Baker said.

Employees will be asked to contribute to their retirement benefits, which are provided through the California Public Employees Retirement System, he said. The city currently pays both the required employer contributions and the employee contributions, Baker said.

Modifications to health care benefits are being sought, including a request that retirees contribute to their own medical benefits, he said.

The city also is seeking to manage and reduce overtime costs, Baker said.

Like most other cities, Redlands saw dramatic revenue declines during the recession.

The city budget has been cut repeatedly in recent years and there were layoffs in 2010. City workers have been taking furlough days since 2009, leaving most city offices closed every Friday.

The employee groups represent workers ranging from police and firefighters to street and maintenance workers and managers, Baker said.

Many of the groups have contracts that are about to expire, but a few extended their contracts by one year, Baker said.