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Jul 2011
[Glendale, Calif.] Police union agrees to cut pay, contribute more to retirement

GLENDALE - The main Glendale police officers union has agreed to reduce salaries by 2% and increase contributions for benefits as part of a plan that will save the city roughly $2.2 million over the next year.

The agreement is a major shift for the Glendale Police Officers Assn., which has locked horns with city council over concessions in the past. The City Council is expected to sign off on the deal Tuesday.

"We understood with the economic times and the sacrifices by other employee unions that certain sacrifices had to be made and, by implementing this contract, we strengthen our relationship with the city and City Council," union president Larry Ballesteros said.

Mayor Laura Friedman agreed that the officers have taken the city's financial state seriously and "are willing to do their part."

The agreement is set to save Glendale $2.21 million, according to city reports.

"I think we are getting real concessions," Friedman said.

More than half the police union members voted for the one-year agreement, which includes a 2% reduction for all base salaries, officials said.

The agreement, which runs through June 30, 2012, will also require officers to contribute more to their retirement benefits.

Officers currently pay a 9% employee share and another 1.5% employer's share, which increased to 3.5% under the new agreement.

The increased contribution would sap another 2% from officer pay, and increase their total input to 12.5% for retirement benefits, according to a city report.

Officers will also have to pay 100% of increased costs on medical insurance premiums. Before taking over insurance costs, officers paid 50% of increased medical premiums after annual renewals.

Officers hired on or after Jan. 1 would participate in a second-tier retirement formula, which would increase the retirement age and even out the pay benchmarks for pensions.

Officers currently participate in a retirement formula that entitles them to retire at age 50 with 3% of pay based on the highest salary year, multiplied by the number of years on the job.

The new contract would bump up the retirement age to 55 with the pay benchmark set by an average of the three highest salary years, preventing so-called "spiking," in which employees can significantly increase their pensions by securing a major salary bump just before retiring.

Under the new contract, court-related overtime costs, including "on-call" pay and mandatory court appearances, will also be reduced by 50%, saving the city $400,000 annually.

"It's a very good deal for the people of Glendale," Friedman said.



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