La Habra : City Increases Its Salary Offer to Professional Staff

City officials upped their salary offer for the 15 members of the city's professional staff, but a union representative said Monday that the offer came with unacceptable conditions.

After increasing its pay offer from 3.5% to 4.5%, the city asked the employees to accept the new offer by July 16, or the proposal could possibly revert back to 3.5%, Assistant City Manager Bob Burns said.

"That's just nothing but a pressure tactic," complained John O'Malley of the Orange County Employees Assn., which represents the workers. "We don't think that's a proper way to negotiate."

The union is requesting increases for both the city's professional and clerical staff, whose salaries, they said, are "way below" county average.

The new proposal came following a meeting with a mediator Friday. O'Malley said the city's professional staff, including employees in such positions as associate city planner and city engineer, will vote on the new offer this Thursday.

When City Council members meet July 16, they can either do nothing or go back to the city's original 3.5% salary increase offer, Burns said. The employees' contracts were extended from July 5 to July 16.

Meanwhile, the city remained at an impasse with its 30 clerical workers, who include clerk-typists, computer operators and six building inspectors.

The clerical workers are demanding a 5% cost of living increase in addition to adjustments they said would bring their salaries up to the county average.

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