Friday, July 20, 2012 – 10:30 a.m.

San Bernardino County has apparently struck a deal with its public safety union.

The agreement with the San Bernardino County Safety Employees Benefit Association (SEBA) appears to be a major win for the union.

The county, which had originally been seeking as much as 14% in wage and benefit concessions has now re-approached SEBA and offered a pretty attractive deal for the union and its members. A deal that is a far cry from what the county originally wanted.

It’s not known what drove the change of heart.

The core economic elements of the three-year deal is as follows;

  • All new employees will retire at a formula of 2% for each year of service at age 50. (The formula continues to climb to a high of 3.14% at for each year of service at age 64.)
  • All new and current employees will pay 100% of their employee contribution. Unlike the general employees, who receive a 7.0% subsidy, the county currently subsidizes safety employee contributions with a lower fixed dollar amount of $306 per month for its Safety Unit and $387 per month for its Safety Management and Supervisory Unit. The change is essentially equal to a roughly 4.25% pay reduction for those employees at a top-step hourly rate.
  • Interestingly, employees will discontinue paying 2.5% of their pensionable compensation that was agreed to in 2003, when the union attained the more lucrative 3% for each year of service at age 50 retirement formula.)
  • Step advancements will reduce from 5.0% per year to 2.5% per year, doubling the time it takes a peace officer to reach the top-step salary rate.
  • Employees will receive a fixed dollar incentive pay for their basic certificate issued by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.
  • The compensatory time-off accrual ceiling will reduce form 100 to 50 hours.
  • There will be no reductions to employee hourly rates.

The two sides reportedly still have non-economic discussions pending.

The union leadership has agreed to take the package to a ratification vote.