Police unions strike money-saving deal

Newport Beach's two police department unions have reached contractual deals with the city that could save it $225,000 over the next two years, pending City Council approval, officials announced Friday.

The agreements freeze police department salaries through 2011, and have both sworn and non-sworn employees contributing more to their retirement accounts.

"If you look around at what's going on in the county and the state, you can see that just about every law enforcement agency is making concessions," said Officer Dave Syvock, president of the Newport Beach Police Assn. "The city has reported they have a deficit. They're trying to decrease the deficit and this was the way we could do our part."

Both Police Assn. members, who are rank-and-file officers and non-sworn employees, and Police Management Assn. members, who are sergeants and above, will contribute 3.5% toward their retirement through payroll deductions as of this Saturday's pay period.

"We know that many of the residents we proudly serve and particularly businesses in the city have suffered over the past few years, so we accept that contributing to the recovery is the precise thing to do right now," said PMA president Sgt. Mark Hamilton. "We have agreed, along with our public safety partners, to assist the city in meeting its goals and to lessen the burden on the citizens we serve by reimbursing for certain costs the city has previously agreed to bear."

Newly sworn employees hired after Tuesday will pay 9% for their first five years with the department. After that it will drop to 3.5% like the rest of the officers, depending on future contract negotiations, said Human Resources Director Terri Cassidy.

The city previously was covering all of their retirement contributions, she said.

There are 203 Police Assn. members, 115 of whom are sworn officers. There are 33 members of the PMA, counting three current vacancies.

Newport Beach will contribute $75 more per month to department employees' medical benefits, and then another $75 more after July 2, 2011, officials said.

Department employees will also freeze their salaries until at least 2012. The agreements, which need to be approved by the City Council, will help the city close a $2.7-million shortfall.

"This was by no means an easy decision, as we all have financial responsibilities at home too and, in essence, have agreed to a reduction in overall pay," Hamilton said. "In the end we have confidence that the economy will recover and our employees will soon appreciate positive financial adjustments to compensate for our current concessions."

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World