City officials today unveiled a new three-year contract with San Leandro police officers.
It will hold police compensation essentially flat over the next three years in a deal that requires officers to contribute toward their pensions in return for raises to offset the new deductions from their paychecks.
Until now the city had paid the entire 9 percent of salary that officers in most other cities pay into their own pension funds.
But under the deal announced by Mayor Stephen Cassidy and Sergeant Isaac Benabou of the Police Officers Association, the city's sworn employees will move toward paying their own pension costs in three steps.
- In 2013 officers will pay 3 percent of salary toward their pensions, with the city making up the other six percent.
- In 2014, officers will pay 6 percent of salary, with the city share decreasing to 3 percent.
- By 2015, the third and final year of the contract, officers will contribute 9 percent of salary and the city will cease its subsidy.
In return, officers will get across the board raises of 4 percent in 2014 and 3 percent in 2015.
Officers who have served the city longer will get some additional sweeteners.
In 2014 officers with more than 20 years seniority will get an additional 1 percent raise on top of the 4 percent overall hike.
And in 2015 the city will create a new pay grade for officers with 6 or more years on the city payroll. Officers in this category will get 5 percent in addition to the across the board 3 percent raise that year.
When all these changes are totaled the city estimates that taxpayers will save about $154,000 in 2013 and $103,000 in 2014. In 2015 the contract will increase the cost of police compensation to $304,500.
That works out to be a total cost of about $50,000 over three years. That figure should be applied against $9.86 million a year in compensation for officers covered by the contract, according to the city.
Another way to look at it is through the paycheck of a current top grade officer who earns $7,754 a month.
In 2013 the pension deduction will be about $232 per month. It take three years to restore that amount -- although senior officers will get even sooner.
"It's pretty much standing still," Sgt. Benabou said. "It's not increases but it's not cuts like some of the neighboring cities."
Mayor Cassidy said he was pleased with the deal because the cost of health and pension benefits have been rising rapidly. Thus even if employees don't get raises, taxpayers face increasing costs.
"This deal helps bring those benefit costs under control," Cassidy said.
The contract announced today covers 82 officers and sergeants. The city has about 400 employees in three other bargaining units. Those contracts have yet to be finalized.
The police contract is set to take effect April 1. It is not retroactive.
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