Pasadena OKs 10% Police Raise

Times Staff Writer

After three months of tense negotiations between the city and union officials, the Board of City Directors has approved a contract for the Pasadena Police Officers Assn.

The two-year contract, approved Tuesday evening in a closed session, will increase salaries and benefits for the 153-member union by 10%

Under the agreement, police officers will receive a 4% pay boost immediately, a 3% increase in January and a 2% increase in July, 1987. The contract also calls for a 1% increase in the city's contribution to retirement benefits.

Union members had voted last weekend to accept the city's offer, association President Dennis Diaz said. City directors, who have final approval on such matters, then voted on the contract Tuesday.

'Tough Time' for Police

"It's been a tough time," Diaz said this week.

Police officers had been working without a contract since March 3. Negotiations between union officials and the city reached an impasse later that month, and a state mediator was brought in to settle the dispute.

In May, the city offered an 8% increase in salaries and benefits, a move that was rejected by about 75% of the voting union members.

"We weren't going to back down on what we wanted," Diaz said.

The city's second offer of 10% "was a pretty good package," Diaz said. "Most of the people thought it was a pretty good deal."

In May, officers had taken to the streets in a door-to-door campaign to gain support for their contract demands. Diaz said he also mailed 50 to 60 letters to various local groups, including block captains of the city's Neighborhood Watch program.

Those letters prompted one of the more controversial actions in the dispute. In late May, an internal affairs investigation was launched against Diaz by the Police Department.

The investigation centered on a complaint from a fellow officer that Diaz had obtained a mailing list of the block captains in direct violation of a departmental order that prohibits unauthorized acquisition of the list.

Diaz said this week that he had the list when the departmental order, in the form of a memo, was issued. "I already had what I had," Diaz said. "I didn't go after it."

Restraining Order Granted

Last week, union attorney Richard Shinee obtained a temporary restraining order against the department, which halted the investigation during contract negotiations. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jack M. Newman ruled that the investigation could have a "chilling effect" on the talks.

Deputy City Atty. Gary Gillig said Wednesday that he has "compelling evidence to show that the department's decision to investigate Agent Diaz is independent of the labor dispute."

Police Chief James Robenson will decide whether to continue the investigation now that a contract agreement has been ratified, Gillig said. Robenson was out of town Wednesday and could not be reached for comment.

A second court hearing on the matter has been scheduled for July 10.

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