Members of the Pleasanton City Council expressed their gratitude last week that the three-month impasse in labor negotiations between the Pleasanton Police Officers Association and city representatives has resulted in a deal amenable to both sides.
After city staff's presentation on the specifics of the new tentative contract agreement, which will cover the next three years and include general salary increases and other pay incentives for officers and sergeant, the council said they are happy both sides came to an agreement. The dais is now set to approve and ratify the contract at the council meeting next Tuesday (Oct. 3).
"Our members are ready to move on and get back to serving this great community," PPOA President Brian Jewell told the council on Sept. 19. "We cannot thank the community enough for their unwavering support of our officers and public safety."
The two sides had been locked in tense negotiations for most of this year, with the police union declaring impasse just before its previous contract expired on May 31 and rejecting the city's offer at that time of 15% in increases over three years. Since then, community members and police officers alike regularly demanded that the city come to an agreement during past council meetings.
"I've heard input of all sorts and heard a lot of it," Councilmember Valerie Arkin said during the Sept. 19 meeting. "Negotiations are a very complex issue."
After the impasse, both bargaining teams went through mediation, which failed in July, and were set to enter into a fact-finding process this month where a qualified, impartial third party makes written findings of fact and recommendations for resolution of an impasse.
But after several closed-session meetings and the city bringing on legal counsel from the San Jose-based firm Burke, Williams & Sorensen, both sides were able to come to a tentative agreement late last month. The PPOA voted in support of the deal on Aug 31, according to Jewell.
"I'm very pleased that we've reached an agreement with our Pleasanton Police Officer Association and really to see the end of a very contentious and politically-based negotiation season," Arkin added. "Hopefully we've emerged from this and we will be better together."
Some of the key elements of the new agreement include 16% general wage increases over the three-year contract. If ratified in October, officers and sergeants can expect a 6% pay increase in the first full pay period after the contract is approved. Police sergeants will also receive an additional "market equity adjustment" of 3%.
After that, officers and sergeants will see a 5% increase in June 2024, a 1% increase in December 2024 and a 4% increase in 2025.
According to the presentation, the total financial impact to the city's general fund, which will last through the 2025-26 fiscal year, will be $6.9 million.
Other details from the tentative agreement include establishing a "Master Officer and Sergeant Program" by December 2025, which will act as a career development incentive for employees who have been with the department for a long time and have met certain criteria.
The city will provide master officer and sergeant pay equal to 2% of base pay to those eligible employees.
Crime scene investigators, officers from the detective, traffic and motor divisions, and those on the SWAT and hostage negotiations teams will also receive a special assignment premium pay equal to 2.5% of the base salary pay.
That premium pay will go up to 5% of the base starting on June 1, 2025, according to the staff report.
Other negotiated items in the contract include an additional 20 hours of supplemental vacation leave for every employee, an increase in the city's contribution to the PPD's Retiree Health Savings Account from $50 a month, to $150 and other specifics on getting paid for attending certain meetings outside of regularly scheduled work hours.
However, that financial impact of over $6 million will have some repercussions, according to city officials. The staff report states that in order to level out the general fund budget, the city will have to make certain budget reductions by freezing certain vacant positions as well as reducing some non-personnel budget items across multiple city departments
The report also states that the funding gap is expected to be approximately $1.2 million annually starting in 2025 and that without any new, sustainable form of revenue, the city will have to make further budget cuts across other city departments.
Staff plan on presenting any necessary budget adjustments during the next biennial budget development process in spring 2025.
That point, however, was not discussed at last week's meeting as the council as a whole mainly said they are ready to move on and are ready to close what has been a long and complicated summer of negotiations.
"Our police force is one of the finest and everyone agrees," Mayor Karla Brown said. "We greatly appreciate and value the service to the community."