News

San Jose OKs 10% pay raises for its police force

City doing it in chunks to be back where they were

San Jose city and police union negotiators Tuesday signed a tentative agreement on a proposed labor contract granting officers a pay raise of 10.66 percent over a 2.5-year period, according to city officials.

The proposed contract, which would begin retroactively as of last July 1 and run to Dec. 31, 2015, also would provide cops with a 2 percent

cash bonus awarded within two pay periods, Mayor Chuck Reed's spokeswoman Michelle McGurk said.

To be ratified, the tentative deal would have to be approved by a vote of members of the San Jose Police Officers' Association and by the City Council during an open meeting that might take place in December, McGurk said.

David Vossbrink, the city's communications director, said the provisional pact was the result of talks by negotiators for the city and the SJPOA through a mediator.

"It was not a city offer, it was not a police offer, it was a mediator assisted proposal," Vossbrink said. "Does that mean one side won and

one side lost? No."

John Robb, vice president of the SJPOA and the union's negotiator with the city, could not be reached to comment on the tentative agreement.

The proposed two-and-a-half-year contract would grant police a 4 percent raise for the first six months and then 3.33 percent for 2014 and 2015, according to a copy of the agreement furnished by the city.

The proposed 2 percent bonus would mean a lump sum payment of $2,000 for an officer making $100,000 per year, but would not count toward an officer's future pension rate, McGurk said.

Reed said in a statement that the 10.66 percent increase over the 2.5 years would gradually restore the 10 percent pay cut police had to endure during the city's fiscal crisis in 2010, but without having to cut city services.

All city employees, including police, fire and other union workers, also had to undergo 10 percent pay cuts three years ago and some city employees recently agreed to 2 percent pay raises, according to Vossbrink.

The SJPOA argued for an immediate 10 percent raise for police, which city officials said would have cost $20 million up front, requiring the city to make significant budget cuts in one year instead of stretching the raise over a longer period, Vossbrink said.

"You're doing it in chunks," Vossbrink said. "This will bring them (police) back to where they were (in 2010)."

Reed praised negotiators for the city and the officers' association "for their dedicated efforts to reach a tentative agreement that provides additional financial security for our hard working officers, while recognizing the City's fiscal realities."

The agreement on the proposal came more than five weeks after SJPOA members voted 954 to 2 to reject the city's offer of a 3 percent raise per year when the union wanted 6 percent, according to an Oct. 9 letter sent by Robb to the city's negotiator Jennifer Schembri.

In July, an arbitrator hired to analyze the pay dispute and make a ruling based on San Jose's City Charter, recommended that police officers receive no pay increase because the city lacked the revenue growth to cover one, according to Vossbrink.

— Bay City News Service

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