City execs agree to concede

CITY HALL — Glendale's management-level employees and department executives have agreed to pay a larger share of the city's rising health-care and retirement costs, which is expected to save City Hall about $750,000.

The Glendale Management Assn., which represents about 250 city employees, last week voted to approve a one-year contract including a higher employee contribution for health-care and pension plans, in addition to a two-tiered retirement system with reduced benefits for all new hires.

The City Council is expected to ratify the contract in coming weeks after months of closed-session negotiations.

"It was very hard fought, but it's fair and it's equitable, and it's going to help the city for a long time," said Dave Cole, vice president of the managers union.

The city's top executives, who serve at will and are not part of a collective bargaining group, have asked to give the same concessions, officials said. Together, the two deals would reduce city expenses by about $750,000.

In addition to a two-tiered retirement system, the contract with the Glendale Management Assn. also reduces starting wages for new hires by 15%, Cole said.

The concessions come about a month after the City Council ratified a new contract with the Glendale Firefighters' Assn. that further postponed scheduled pay raises through 2013, increased employee contributions to pension plans and raised the retirement age for all new hires.

City Manager Jim Starbird said the contracts show the "dedication to the community" by contributing to $3 million in planned concessions to fill a projected budget deficit while also addressing long-term pension costs.

"An underlying philosophy to this year's budget is to no longer rely on strategies that reduce services to the public, but to find ways to reduce the cost of services to the public," he said.

Negotiations remain ongoing with the Glendale City Employee's Assn., the largest employee union, whose contract expired July 1, and the Glendale Police Officers Assn., which is in the last year of a four-year contract.

"I really don't know that we have made considerable progress, but we are still meeting and talking with both," Starbird said.

The police union has taken the City Council to task for refusing to accept a proposal that included giving back scheduled raises and increasing employee pension contributions, a deal union representatives said would save the city about $4 million over several years.

Instead, a scheduled 5% pay raise went into effect for all police officers last month, costing the city about $2.3 million this year.

Starbird at the time said the police union's proposal did not go far enough.

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