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City asks police: Give up raises for 2 years, forgo uniform allowance & pay more PERS
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Manteca Police officers are being asked to forgo raises for the next two years, forfeit $1,000 in annual clothing allowances, plus pay an additional 5 percent toward their retirement.

That is on top of the 3.8 percent officers agreed to take already - along with other municipal employees – through unpaid furlough days.

It is part of an overall city strategy to bridge what in all likelihood may end up being a $3.5 million deficit as Manteca has yet to get in place critical cost recovery components that are essential for reducing the budget shortfall.  Various employee groups are also being asked to make concessions in order to avoid layoffs and balance the general fund.

The Manteca Police Officers Association is being asked to:

•forgo back-to-back 4 percent cost of living adjustments for the 2010 and 2011 calendar years.

•give up $1,000 a year in uniform allowances in 2010 and 2011.

•pay 5 percent more to their public employment retirement system that would kick their contribution from $260 to $445.

On the flip side, the city will be picking up more of the medical insurance costs for employees.

The 3.8 percent cutback coupled with the proposed concessions when compounded means officers would lose 14.6 percent of their contractual income. Out-of-pocket, though, is the 3.8 percent cut plus $1,000 a year for uniform allowances and the PERS retirement contribution increase.

Without the concessions, Manteca would need to lay off 14 officers of which the city could hire four back with a federal stimulus grant which would reduce the police force by 10 officers. It could be worse, though, should the police officers decide they want to declare the city in violation of a side agreement regarding the 3.8 per cent cutback given up through furlough days. In doing so, that would mean the 3.8 percent would be returned to officer’s paychecks but the city would be forced to lay off 16 officers while being able to hire back four through the federal grant. That would leave Manteca with 12 less officers.

The city’s strategy is predicated on at least three officers with seniority – higher pay – retiring during the coming 12 months. That would translate into savings that would allow the requested concession to work through at least June 30, 2010 without any layoffs. If the officers – who will be in a position to retire based on eligibility – opt not to do so, the city would then be forced to make layoffs in July 2010.

City leaders have been calling Measure M – the half cent public safety sales tax – a “god send” as without it there would be at least 10 less police officers right now.

The city needs to complete exhaustive cost recovery studies under state law before putting them in place. In the best case scenario, it could start generating money roughly halfway into the fiscal year. That is why the $2.5 million left to be cut after $7 million in budget adjustments were made through reorganization, early retirements, and employee concessions that allowed the  3.8 percent furlough pay cut is for all practical purposes $3.5 million as the revenue won’t arrive quick enough.

The city would be in a much better position if the state didn’t hadn’t hijacked $1 million in local property tax receipts in an attempt to cover their own budget shortfall.

The other employee groups that are being asked to make concession are the Manteca Firefighters Association, Technical and Support Services, General Services Bargaining Unit, Manteca Police Employees Association, and Managers and Mid-managers.

The city’s goal is to protect public safety as much as possible and to avoid making deep cuts in public services. The strategy being undertaken by the city is working with all employee groups is to avoid layoffs to keep servcie levels as high as possible.