• POA Signs Contract With City

    By Marge Ann Jameson

    The Pacific Grove Peace Officers Association, while suffering morale issues and job security uncertainty, has agreed to a new contract with the City of Pacific Grove. There is no change in salary, but other provisions from the previous agreement saw big changes.

    It came almost a year late. Factors contributing to the delay in implementing a new contract included the passage by the State of California of PEPRA, the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act, which primarily affects new employees. CalPERS did not issue its guidance on the implementation of PEPRA for many months. “This agreement is ground-breaking,” said Chief Myers in her staff report. “PEPRA didn’t foresee this level of sharing until 2018 at the earliest.” She estimated the City will save approximately $155,000 annually, with additional long-term savings pertaining to PERS.

    Pacific Grove POA members are agreeing to contribute 50 percent of the total employee and employer CalPERS contributions for the term of the contract.

    Chief Myers continued, “In addition, the POA agreed to a number of changes to salary and benefits for the Association that resulted in a total savings of $86,500 for the 2014 calendar year. The Association foregoes an increase in salary and reduced existing salary and benefits by approximately -3.3 percent.

    The union has been working without a contract since Jan. 1, 2013. Chief Vickie Myers praised the association, particularly Sgt. Jeff Fenton and Sgt. Roxanne Viray, lead negotiators for the POA, for working with the City to see the agreement through.

    The City is facing rising contributions required by CalPERS, along with major unfunded liabilities such as workers’ compensation. The City says it has been unable to amend the City’s contract with CalPERS for miscellaneous employees, as non-sworn employees in the Police Department are currently represented by the POA. Those employees are now moved to the General Unit, though the term and conditions of the move must still be bargained on.

    Other key provisions of the agreement between the City and the POA, effective Jan. 1, 2013 – Dec. 31, 2014, are:

    • PERS Contribution: POA members agree to contribute 8.91 percent toward the normal cost of their PERS retirement (equivalent to 50 percent of the current normal cost). (This is on top of the already agreed-upon percentage contribution, not instead of it.)
    • Holidays will be calculated on an eight-hour work day.
    • POA members must be employed for five years (previously one year) to be eligible to sell back vacation time. The minimum 40 hours of use requirement has been suspended.
    • The Chief of Police can establish schedules to meet the needs of the City, with proper notice and process. The Chief cannot create a shift that reduces staffing below one supervisor and two officers.
    • Comp time: Maximum compensatory time accumulation is increased from 160 hours to 228 hours. POA members may cash out eleven hours of compensatory time each month to offset their portion of the PERS retirement costs.
    • If another city bargaining unit receives a COLA (cost of living) or general salary increase, the POA members will receive the same increase. If another City bargaining unit receives an equity or market adjustment, the POA is entitled to a market adjustment, to be negotiated.
    • Step increases will be based upon performance and goal achievements, as reflected in the employees’ most recent performance evaluation.
    • Contracting Out: With 60-days notice, the city may contract out for bargaining unit services after an opportunity to meet and confer with the POA on the impact and effects, and if no incumbent employee is laid off as a result of contracting out.

    The City is still looking at consolidation of services with other local jurisdictions or even contracting out of all or part of the police services to another department or service.

    City Manager Tom Frutchey announced that some 1,000 Pacific Grove people responded to the recent Police Services Survey conducted by the City. He further said that fears of some that there would be “ballot-box stuffing,” or multiple answers by the same individuals, did not seem to be borne out by the results as they appeared to all be unique. The compilation and report is forthcoming. Those who responded could have opted to receive an email report on the results.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on December 21, 2013

    Topics: Front PG News


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