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Manteca Police concessions put public safety first
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Manteca Police officers understood what was at stake.

Manteca had a $4.2 million deficit to eliminate. Without compensation concessions the city would be forced to eliminate law enforcement positions that would reduce the safety of both the public and remaining officers.

“We understand what is going on,” Manteca Police Officers Association President Stephen Schluer said Wednesday. “We’ve been monitoring what has been happening in other cities as well.”

That, however, didn’t make it any easier when officers were told their share of the $4.2 million deficit that had to be dealt with was $1.5 million. And in order not to revisit the possibility of layoffs by eliminating a structured deficit caused by pension shortfalls, officers would have to cut compensation by $6 million over four years.

It hit many officers hard.

“There were officers when they first heard of the amount months ago were concerned that they might lose their house or have to sell a car,” noted Manteca Police officer Bryan Holland.

In the end, the police stepped up and delivered on the lion’s share of what was needed to eliminate both the deficit for the fiscal year starting July 1. They also made concessions that will make it possible for Manteca’s financial albatross - the structured deficit from funding shortfalls - to go away over the next four years.

Police and the city were able to come up with a package that got the job done while minimizing the impact as much as possible on individual officers. Still, the MPOA conceded a net of 33 percent in salary and 21 percent in total compensation to make it happen.

The current contract does not expire until Dec. 31. Schuler said by entering a new four-year contract this Friday they essentially reduced the amount of money that they would have had to concede in order to keep all officers on the job.

Among the key points of the new contract:

• Officers will now contribute 18 percent of the cost of their retirement each month.

• Holiday In Lieu Pay will replace holiday pay to eliminate double and triple overtime on holidays.

• Overtime associated with patrol sergeant vacations and patrol sergeant discretionary days off has been eliminated.

• Vacation accruals are capped at 2.5 times the employee’s annual accrual rate.

• The elimination of payment of vacation accruals in excess of 300 hours per calendar year.

• Movement to a two-tiered retirement system with all employees hired after Jan. 1, 2012 receiving the 3 percent at 55 retirement formula with the three highest years of the compensation formula through California Public Employee Retirement System.

• The elimination of the mandate to provide 100 rounds of ammunition each month for training purposes.