Talks between city labor officials and the police union have broken down, meaning more than a dozen police officers will almost certainly lose their jobs at the end of the month.
Leaders of the Sacramento Police Officers Association notified city officials late Wednesday that they were walking away from the negotiating table. The union said it was backing away as a result of the City Council's decision on Tuesday to spend $621,000 on a November ballot measure seeking to create an elected charter commission.
"It seemed as discussions progressed, this became less about reform, saving jobs and fiscal responsibility and more about the council's political agenda," acting union president Dustin Smith said in a statement. Union leaders called the council charter commission vote "reckless."
City officials said they were surprised by the union's actions, but were hopeful talks could resume.
The union had agreed to ask officers to pay the full employee share of their pensions, an agreement they said would have saved the city nearly $15 million over the next three years.
But the union's proposal also included wage increases that would have created a $5 million deficit starting in the 2015/16 fiscal year, city officials said.
"While the SPOA's proposal may have offered short-term budget relief that would have temporarily save jobs, it added more than $5 million to the long-term budget imbalance," said Mark Gregersen, the city's lead labor negotiator.
An agreement with the police union would have spared 16 officers slated to be laid off. Another 31 vacant positions would have been saved.
A breakdown with the police union also means the City Council may end up ditching its effort to place a sales tax measure on the November ballot. Council members have said they would only seek a tax measure if they got pension concessions from all employees.