San Bernardino Seal

Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/05/2013 09:45:34 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO — The City Council unanimously approved an agreement with the union representing middle managers Monday night, ending that union’s objection to the city’s eligibility for bankruptcy protection.

The San Bernardino Public Employees Association objected on different grounds than the California Public Employees’ Retirement System – the city’s largest creditor, which is now the only party arguing the city shouldn’t receive bankruptcy protection – clearing the way in the city’s bankruptcy case.

The terms of the contract are similar to one the city imposed on the SBPEA in January, which was based on a preliminary budget from November called the pendency plan. The SBPEA sought a bankruptcy judge’s permission to sue for a removal of that contract – as did the police and fire unions, which also had contracts imposed on them – and dropped that attempt once the agreement was approved, according to documents provided to the council for their vote.

“I thought people would like to know we have one more friend,” said Councilwoman Wendy McCamamck.

Union members will have to pay more into their retirement accounts, and employees hired in 2013 or later won’t be eligible for retiree medical benefits. Accrued sick time is also capped, and payments for accrued vacation, holiday and sick leave remain suspended.

The resolution also includes a “bankruptcy reservation of rights,” saying it is not “an assumption or rejection (as those terms are used in the Bankruptcy Code)” of any agreement between the city and the union.

The SBPEA membership voted to approve the terms on Thursday, according to the resolution.

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