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RPOA: Ripon cuts officer pay while increasing salaries of other workers
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RIPON — Ripon’s Police officers are not happy that they are taking a $7,000 per officer compensation hit while other city employees received a 2.5 percent salary increase.

The Ripon Police Officers Association said its membership is having $125,000 in compensation taken from them by the Ripon City Council while the city is increasing its reserves.

The RPOA contends the council action Wednesday night is in violation of City Merit System Rules and state law. That is prompting the RPOA to file a suit against the City of Ripon for damages and to compel bargaining in good faith.  A Public Entity Claim will be filed Tuesday morning on City Clerk Lynette Van Laar.  A Public Entity Claim is a demand for corrective action and damages filed with the city prior to the filing of a lawsuit.

The claim alleges that the city repeatedly violated the Myers-Millias-Brown Act (Government Code 3500 et seq), by bargaining in bad faith, and failing to follow City Merit System Rules to resolve bargaining impasse. 

A press release from the RPOA states, “in a rare and unlawful act by an employer, the City Council held a special meeting to impose compensation cuts on the RPOA without noticing the RPOA, or even having notified the RPOA that the City considered the bargaining process at impasse.  City negotiator, Ken Caves, who did not participate in the negotiation process this year, was misled by City Administrator Leon Compton, and misrepresented the status of negotiations to the City Council prior to their vote.  Only four council members were present, and Mr. Compton did not interrupt his vacation to attend the special meeting.”

“The RPOA is very disappointed that after two years of significant pay cuts and layoffs, the city never intended to reach an agreement this year,” RPOA President Paul Staley said. “However, as we work to resolve this dispute via the appropriate legal channels, Ripon Police officers are committed to continuing to provide the public with top notch public safety services, with professionalism, and concern for the citizens of Ripon.”