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San Jose City Council OKs Police Contract

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The city of San Jose has approved a new labor pact with its police union through 2015 that would restore a 10 percent pay cut the city imposed on all of its employees in 2010. The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday afternoon to adopt the collective bargaining agreement with the San Jose Police Officers’ Association, which strongly approved it in a vote by members on Nov. 19. City spokesman David Vossbrink said the contract gives police a 4 percent wage increase through the first half of 2014 and 3.3 percent increases for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 fiscal years.

The council, in a closed session Tuesday morning, also confirmed Larry Esquivel as the city’s police chief at a salary of $203,000 a year. Esquivel was appointed acting chief in January after the retirement of former Chief Chris Moore. Vossbrink acknowledged that down the line, the city will have to negotiate further with other unions representing non-police employees who agreed to only a 2 percent pay increase this year. The city cut the salaries of police and other city workers by 10 percent in 2010 amid a steep decline in tax revenues during the national recession in order to avoid worker layoffs, Vossbrink said. San Jose is now attempting to restore employee wages to 2009 levels, he said.

Deputy City Manager Alex Gurza and Budget Director Jennifer Maguire reported in a staff memo Tuesday that from 2012 to 2103, 111 police officers left the force — 74 resigned and 37 retired. Vossbrink said it has been challenging for the city to keep police and other employees from leaving for higher-paying jobs. “We have to maintain fiscal stability and at the same time we have to remain competitive with other cities,” he said. SJPOA spokesman Tom Saggau could not be reached for comment. The city’s proposed collective bargaining agreement with the SJPOA is retroactive to July 1 and lasts through Dec. 31, 2015, with a total 10.6 percent general wage increase for police officers. Officers would also receive a one-time cash bonus of 2 percent of employee pay within two pay periods after Tuesday’s council vote.

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