City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

July 5, 2011
Police union members to weigh in on pension changes

The city police union will survey its membership to gauge interest in officers contributing to their pensions and other benefit concessions.

Any agreement on pensions and benefits would have to come with a condition, the union said: cops, community service officers and dispatchers could not be laid off during the life of the union's current contract, which runs to 2013.

Police officers agreed to their current contract in 2009, delaying raises in the process. That agreement avoided police layoffs at the time.

But with no new agreement and a $39 million deficit this year, the City Council voted to lay off 42 cops and dozens of crime scene investigators and community service officers. Those officers lost their jobs last week.

Mayor Kevin Johnson and some council members have pressured the union into discussing pension contributions as a way to save jobs.

"To approach us now to ask for further concessions, without providing any measure of job security, just doesn't work," police union president Brent Meyer said in a written statement. "If our members were to be open to additional options that could avoid laying off even more officers, we think the mayor would need to personally lead the City Council in helping to develop a plan that rescinds the current layoffs and guarantees police officers, community service officers and dispatchers stay on the job through the remainder of our contract."

Police officers and firefighters do not pay into their pensions. If they paid the same percentage of their salaries into their retirements as most other city workers, the city would save more than $4 million a year, city budget officials said.

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About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at rlillis@sacbee.com

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