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City workers agree to 3.8% pay cut

Allows Manteca to cover a tenth of anticipated $11.3M deficit

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City workers agree to 3.8% pay cut

Manteca will start closing city offices every other Friday as a cost serving move after March 1.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/

POSTED February 16, 2009 4:37 a.m.
Manteca’s 385 municipal workers are agreeable to taking a 3.8 percent pay cut starting in July to help the city weather its approaching budget crisis.
The city – which has been running against the tide of dropping property and sales tax on borrowed time thanks to a $6.2 million infusion this year of bonus bucks paid by developers for residential sewer allocation certainty – has a projected $11.3 million budget deficit brewing in the fiscal year starting July 1.
The pay cut amounts to $1.2 million. It is part of a number of steps that City Manager Steve Pinkerton believes will bridge at least half of the impending budget deficit.
City workers, though, will actually see a bit more in their pay checks this July when compared to July of last year. That is because all employees got a 4 percent pay increase on Jan. 1 based on previously negotiated cost of living steps except sworn police officers who got a 6 percent jump in pay. The net impact on pay checks for everyone but police officers is a two-tenths increase when comparing this July to July 2008. Police officer checks for base pay will be up 2.2 percent over the same period. The cost of the pay increases was factored into the projected deficit for the 2009-10 fiscal year. Such a strategy makes sense for both employees and the city. It means the city won’t have to play catch-up when the economy improves to deliver previously agree upon pay hikes plus do so retroactively. The pay raises were agreed upon to bring Manteca municipal workers close to the medium of what comparable cities in the region pay for similar jobs.
The side letters to existing bargaining unit agreements allows the city to furlough sworn fire personnel 112 hours between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010 while all other employees will have 80 hours of non-paid furlough. The City Council is expected to approve the side agreements when they meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.
All non-frontline public safety personnel have similar agreements in terms of furloughs and how it will work.
Furloughs avoid lay-doffs of employees, something the city hasn’t done in at least 30 years if ever. The city is, though, in a hiring freeze with only essential jobs being filled when they are vacated.
The furlough strategies include:
• the executive management, mid-management, general services (Operating Engineers Local No. 3), and technical services and support (Carpenter’s Local No. 25) would have 80 hours of furlough starting July 1, 2009 and ending June 30, 2010.
• Manteca Police Officers Association and Manteca Police Employees Association would have 80 hours of furlough starting Jan. 1, 2009 and ending June 30, 2010.
• Firefighters (International Association of Firefighters No. 1874) will switch from a 24 hours and 48 hours off schedule to 48 hours on and 96 hours off schedule on a trial basis through Dec. 31, 2011 in a bid to reduce sick leave costs. They also will take 112 hours of furlough starting July 1, 2009 and ending June 30, 2010.
Other labor cost saving strategies include:
• closing city hall during the furlough period for the week of Thanksgiving and the week after Christmas.
• a two-year service credit to encourage those near retirement to do so to save the city higher cost salaries.
• transfer people in general fund positions to enterprise-funded positions (sewer, water, and refuse collection) when openings exist.
• switching to a work schedule with every other Friday off starting March 1, 2009.
The nine-day, 80-hour work period is designed to shift hours in a bid to have offices open later on days when more of the public accesses service as well as to encourage efficiencies in operations.
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