General Crime

Vallejo City Approves Contract with Police Union

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The Vallejo City Council on Monday evening unanimously approved a contract with police employees that includes a 5 percent pay cut and requires active and retired police employees to pay more for their health care. The contract will expire on July 1, 2014 and negotiations between the city and police union on a contract for 2014-2015 will resume early in the coming year, Assistant City Manager Craig Whittom said.

The city has been paying 100 percent of the Kaiser Bay Area premium for retirees and active employees. The City will pay them $300 a month and up to 75 percent of the premium under the new contract, Whittom said. The city also will pay up to 75 percent of the Kaiser premium for employees who retired before July 1, 2000, Whittom said. The proposed pact also calls for a 5 percent pay reduction effective Jan. 1, 2014. The city’s projected savings under the proposed contract in the current 2013-2014 fiscal year are $2.7 million. The 2013-2014 budget includes 106 Vallejo Police Officers Association positions, and as of Monday, there were 83 filled positions, Whittom said.

The city is aggressively recruiting officers to fill vacant positions, he said. The police union and the city have been negotiating since May 2012 and the city declared an impasse and presented its last best offer on Sept. 19 of this year. The police union challenged the city’s declaration of impasse in court on Oct. 15. A fact-finding panel was convened on Nov. 1 at the police union’s request. The panel published its findings on Nov. 30. Both sides met on Dec. 6 to discuss the fact-finding panel’s report and explore a possible settlement, but the parties remain deadlocked.

That gave the city the right to unilaterally implement the current terms of employment and set up Monday’s public hearing and vote on the contract. “We’re pleased the City Council took action. This is an important step to put the city on a sustainable financial path for the future,” Whittom said. “We value our police officers very much and look forward to negotiations in the coming year,” he said. A spokesperson for the Vallejo Police Officers Association did not return a call for comment this morning. However, the police union posted a notice on its website that states there were seven murders in Vallejo in 2006 when there were 158 officers, and 26 murders so far this year with far fewer officers in the department. “Don’t let the City Council destroy your Police Department,” the notice states.

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