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City reaches deal with police union, PASEA

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From page A1 | December 19, 2012 |

If the police management group was just the tip of the iceberg last month, then a much larger chunk of the city of Davis’ labor agreements surfaced this week with two of the city’s four largest bargaining groups signing new deals.

The City Council announced at its meeting Tuesday that it has inked three-year contracts with the Davis Police Officers’ Association, the Program, Administrative and Support Employee Association and the individual management employees association.

Together, the three memorandums of understanding will save the city of Davis $1.2 million in fiscal year 2013-14, the city projects.

“I want to thank all the city employees that participated in the process with our staff working toward these agreements,” Mayor Joe Krovoza said at Tuesday’s meeting.

“They absolutely reflect the fiscal reality that the city is in and they also reflect that our employees and senior staff worked well together and found a way to get it done and produce three-year contracts that are going to be quite durable and (realize) considerable savings.”

With the new deals in place, it appears that the goals City Manager Steve Pinkerton laid out earlier this summer are coming closer to fruition.

Facing substantial unfunded liabilities such as retiree medical costs and deferred maintenance on the city’s roads, bike paths and greenbelts, Pinkerton said that, through negotiations, the city could catch up on some of these looming costs.

Pinkerton believes that if the city’s negotiating team can reach similar contract agreements with the two large employee groups still remaining — the Davis Professional Firefighters Association Local 3494 and the Davis City Employees Association — Davis can save upwards of $6 million over the three-year life of the contracts.

“Over the term of the (new) agreements, the city will save approximately $4.9 million as a result of structural benefit changes, ensuring the city’s ability to preserve positions, programs and services,” said a city news release announcing the deals.

For PASEA, or miscellaneous non-safety employees, under the new deal they are to pay more into CalPERS for their retirement plans. Over the course of the three-year contract, that rate will rise from 5 to 8 percent.

Police officers already have been paying 12 percent and will continue to do so.

To reduce the burden of medical costs for retirees, but maintain adequate coverage for long-term employees, personnel with more than 25 years of service (20 years for sworn police officers) will receive 100 percent of the benefit if they retire prior to Dec. 31, 2025.

Employees with less service will receive 75 percent of the benefit and new employees will receive the Medicare supplemental/managed Medicare rate for an employee plus one dependent. Essentially, new employees will receive about one-third of the previous retiree medical benefit.

Similar to the individual sworn police managers, the new contracts also cap the cafeteria cash-out at $500 per month over a three-year phase-in process. That is a reduction from $1,500 monthly.

The cash-out plan offers employees cash in lieu of taking the city’s health insurance. Employees who are insured under a spouse’s plan, for example, are eligible to cash out what they would have received from the city, up to a certain amount.

In exchange for the concessions, the city will grant salary increases of 3 percent in 2012-13, 2 percent in 2013-14 and 1 percent in 2014-15 for non-safety employees and 2 percent in 2012-13, 2 percent in 2013-14 and 1 percent in 2014-15 for police officers.

The hit to employee compensation doesn’t seem to come until the second year, as in year one the average salary for a PASEA employee will rise from $55,350 to $56,180 while total compensation (including benefits) drops from $102,567 to $101,075, according to the city’s numbers.

For the average police officer, the average salary will rise from $79,439 to $80,234, while the total compensation stays relatively the same.

Both Sgt. Mike Munoz and Matt Muller, the spokespeople for the two employee groups, could not be reached for comment on the new contracts.

Meanwhile, the city continues to negotiate with the firefighters union and the DCEA. For the latter union, it appears that the city is a bit further away from reaching a deal.

According to Dave Owen, DCEA president, the city and his employee association have reached impasse and have begun the fact-finding process.

Even with several new contracts on the books from other labor groups, Owen feels no pressure to give in.

“It will not change our position,” he said Tuesday. “Those two organizations will vote what they need to for themselves.

“We’ve been open all along to getting an agreement where the city got relief. It’s just the amount of relief they’re demanding is more than we can give.”

Firefighters union chief Bobby Weist could not be reached for comment.

— Reach Tom Sakash at tsakash@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @TomSakash

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Tom Sakash

Tom Sakash covers the city beat for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at tsakash@davisenterprise.net, (530) 747-8057 or @TomSakash.
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