Sandra Emerson, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/06/2012 09:12:01 PM PDT
UPLAND – The City Council on Monday will consider adopting a budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year after a failed attempt to reach agreements on concessions with employee groups.
The council in May reached out to the city’s seven employee groups for concessions in order to avoid cuts to city services and layoffs in the Police Department.
No agreements were reached, but the Police Officers Association made the city an offer rejected by the council.
“I think the biggest point is this was going to save the city $442,000 (per year) and that we agreed to forgo any raises and take a pay cut,” said Marc Simpson, president of the Upland Police Officers Association. “That’s exactly what the city asked for and they basically changed the rules midway through the whole process.”
Employees were asked to agree to a salary freeze and either a 10 percent salary cut or to contribute the entire employee portion of their pensions.
The Upland Police Officers Association offered to pay 9percent toward their retirement, forego 1.9 percent and 2percent raises as well as a 1.6percent salary cut.
In return, the association requested a two-year contract extension, one year of layoff protections and a $75 increase in medical benefits.
The City Council in 2010 approved contracts with Upland police that included scheduled annual pay raises through 2013 and will require the city to pay the entire sworn employee’s pension contribution by 2013.
The council rejected the offer because the extension of their contract would inhibit the city’s ability to review other methods of delivering services, such as contracting with San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
Five nonsworn police employees were given layoff notices and seven positions were eliminated including six unfilled sworn positions.
“These people, that the jobs that were going to be lost, aren’t members of our bargaining group,” Simpson said. “They’re in a different bargaining group, but since we work with them on a daily basis we agreed to do it in order to save their jobs.”
The Upland Fire Fighters Association made a similar offer and in return also asked for longer contract terms, City Manager Stephen Dunn said.
“We were advised that based on some recent court cases that it’s more difficult to consider alternative methods of service delivery if you’re already locked into a contract with a bargaining unit, so the council’s position is basically they don’t want to have their hands tied at this particular time because we have to look at everything,” Dunn said.
Dunn said the police officers did not have to come to the bargaining table because their contract does not expire for another year.
“I have to give them a lot of credit for that, however, they offered what they did and I was pretty satisfied with it and willing to recommend a contract extension, but didn’t realize an extension would hamper our ability to consider other service delivery methods, so that’s when the council said no,” he said.
To read entire story, click here.