News


Oakland officials, police end talks, dismiss 80 officers

Police union 'essentially didn't respond' to the city's last offer, city adminisrator says

Oakland City Administrator Dan Lindheim said talks aimed at averting looming layoffs for 80 of the city's 776 police officers were broken off late Tuesday and that 80 officers were dismissed from the force yesterday.

The City Council voted June 25 to eliminate 80 police officer positions to help close the city's $32.5 million funding gap.

But city officials had been meeting with the police union's leaders for more than a month to try to get the union to avoid layoffs by having officers contribute 9 percent of the cost of their retirement benefits. Other city employees contribute that amount of their pension costs.

The union agreed to have officers contribute 9 percent of their pension costs but in return asked for a guarantee that no officers hired before March 21, 2009, when four officers were killed by a wanted parolee, be laid off for the next three years. The city said it couldn't make such a guarantee because of its precarious budget situation.

Lindheim said the two sides exchanged "a flurry of offers" during lengthy meetings during meetings Monday and Tuesday.

But he said city leaders believe that the union "essentially didn't respond" to the city's last offer.

Oakland Police Officers Association President Dom Arotzarena wasn't immediately available for comment.

Police Chief Anthony Batts said earlier that if the layoffs weren't averted, police would focus on responding to 911 calls and won't respond to many non-emergency calls.

Instead, people calling about certain incidents not considered life-threatening will be directed to an online system called "cop logic" to file a police report. Among a list of 44 crimes in that category are burglary, theft, embezzlement, extortion, vandalism, identity theft and illegal dumping.

Lindheim said he hopes the police union will work with the city to place measures on the November ballot that would raise money to help the city hire more police officers.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

Comments

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Posted by Julia
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2010 at 10:28 am

All the City of Oakland official's compensation should be reduced also. Total mismanagement by the clowns that think they are running the city...the only thing they are running is the City of Oakland into a deep financial hole a hole they should jump into also. Oakland just put out the welcome mat to the criminal element...

If the fine folks of Oakland think the number will stop at 80...well think again...this is how the clowns start off...before you know it the number be 120 +...just watch

Julia from Alamo


 +   Like this comment
Posted by p-town could be next
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jul 14, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Our public safety employees here need to take a good look and decide what they are willing to give back or their jobs could be cut as well. The idea that a firefighter can retire at age 50 with FULL pension and lifetime FREE medical benefits is not reasonable. Most department employees pay nothing into their pensions (the case in Oakland) and many pensions have a COLA so that within a few years of retirement, at age 50, the retiree is making more money than when employed.
There should be an offset as with social security. A retiree who takes a post retirement job would offset, dollar for dollar, the retirement benefits (paid for out of taxpayer funds) with every dollar earned at the second job.
Some people say that we need to pay these people outrageous salaries and benefits in order to fill the jobs. Not a chance. Check out the numbers of applicants any time a major CA city posts hiring for the fire department. Hundreds of applicants for every job opening.
The current structure is not sustainable and is a burden that the taxpayer should not be expected to fund.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pro-Law
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2010 at 4:47 am

What the city doesn't mention is the about 23 OPD recruits in the academy won't be becoming officers now too, and there are numerous people retiring whose spots aren't being filled. Also OPD is not putting on anymore academies. This number is much higher then 80 when it comes to how many spots have actually been cut / aren't being filled.

How can any department be exempt from layoffs too? How stupid was the city to extend that to the fire department. What a lack of leadership.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Proud to support Oakland Officers
a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2010 at 7:54 pm

God bless those 80 officers who worked during the riots knowing that in 4 days they would no longer have a job. They proved what dedication is when they stood there while people threw rocks, bottles and insults at them while they tried to protect a community from being vandalized and destroyed. Oakland is losing more than a few officers, they are going to lose the war on crime.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by It's a crime
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Having a decent memory, I recalled that not too long ago, the citizens of the City of Oakland had voted to *increase* its police force, and was having trouble bringing enough new recruits/trainees on board because of a lack of qualified personnel to train these new police academy graduates. If I remember correctly, the process of actually incorporating these graduates took many months because they needed to partner with more seasoned officers, which were lacking in number. When that day was finally achieved, the city administrators, the citizens of the city, and the newspapers hailed this as a big step forward in crime prevention:
Web Link

So sad that now these new recruits (most likely, having the least seniority) and those now in the police academy are unemployed and the city is facing a period of reduced enforcement and safety. All because of what...?


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