Council approves Glendale police contracts

The City Council approved one-year contracts on Tuesday with police officers and managers, providing additional pay for on-call assignments, an overtime increase for time spent in court on days off, and changes to disciplinary hearings.

While the new contracts include some additional pay for certain assignments, members of the Glendale Police Officers' Assn. as well as lieutenants and captains with the Glendale Management Assn. will not see salary adjustments or increases in their pension benefits, said City Manager Scott Ochoa at a council meeting.

"As it appears that we are successfully navigating the great recession, the greatest threat to our own ability to sustain ourselves as an organization is losing control of our single largest cost driver, which is our personnel cost," Ochoa said.

The latest round of 2013-14 contract approvals come after the City Council approved a $170.7-million General Fund budget in June.

Det. Jason Ross, president of the police officers' association, said officers already contribute quite a bit to their pensions.

"We currently contribute the most to our retirement of any Glendale bargaining unit, and more than most comparison cities," Ross said "This is evidence of our willingness to work with the city to provide the best services possible while maintaining benefits and wages that allow us to recruit the best candidates possible."

Ochoa said the unions embraced a "message of restraint and responsibility" in the latest contract talks, he said. He added that the unions were "reasonable."

"We are once again grateful that we were able to collaboratively work with the city to address the needs of our members in light of the city's finances and the economic climate," Ross said. "We have a long-standing history of working hand-in-hand with the city to ensure our members have the best possible working conditions and are grateful for the support of city management, City Council and the citizens of Glendale."

In 2011, members of the police officers' association agreed to $2.2 million in concessions, including reduction of overtime pay for the time officers spend in court when they are called in on their days off.

This year, the city agreed to increase the minimum overtime pay for court time from two to four hours.

The police union also agreed to change the appeal hearing process for disciplined officers due to the significant amount of time the hearings take. The city's Civil Service Commission was responsible for the hearings, which require significant scheduling of available witnesses and officers.

The new process would require the city and union to agree on a hearing officer, who would run the hearings and make determinations. Commissioners will have the final say on whether they decide to reject, modify or approve the hearing officer's decision.

City officials also agreed to establish a $250 on-call assignment pay per month for lieutenants, who officials said spend a "considerable amount of time" off duty answering work-related calls and emails.

Mandatory weekend and holiday on-call duty pay for police captains will jump from $250 to $350 per month.

If all of the adjustments are used as planned, they will cost the city an additional $119,758 for police officers and $39,450 for sworn police managers.

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Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.

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