Reporting Steve Large
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The police union is taking heat for breaking off negotiations that could have saved officer jobs.
Next week will be the last week at work for 16 cops on the Sacramento police force.
The police union continues to stick to its guns with its pension plan.
It’s a cop cash crisis in Sacramento.
“I’m terribly concerned what this does to the overall city,” said Dustin Smith, Sacramento Police Officers Association.
Layoffs are looming after the police union walked away from negotiations over pension reform.
“They are cutting their pension by picking up part of the cost,” said Marcia Fritz, California Foundation For Fiscal Responsibility.
Fritz is a pension reform activist who says the move doesn’t look good.
“What the police are doing is flunking PR 101,” said Fritz.
Right now for every cop in Sacramento earning an average salary of $83,000, the city not only pays the employer contribution of their pension, nearly $23,000, but also picks up what is supposed to be the officer’s contribution, $7,500.
Sacramento cops don’t pay a dime of their pensions. By comparison, Modesto police pick up more than $1100 a year. In Stockton, police pay $8300 toward their retirement.
Sacramento contract talks broke off after police only agreed to pay their pension contribution if a raise came with it.
“The whole goal was at some point stay as close to even as possible, not take raises and not take cuts,” said Smith.
“They want wage increases, to offset there pickup, so they’re giving nothing up in this economic climate,” said Fritz.
Now in Sacramento, with pension talks dead, 16 more officers are facing layoffs. Union leaders say it leaves the city with the second lowest staffing per capita in the country.
“We’re getting to the point where that I don’t know how we can provide any level of proper service to the citizens of Sacramento,” said Smith.
Smith feels that it is not the Sacramento Police Officers Association that is deciding to walk away from negotiations.
“Well to be honest with you, ultimately the city has decided to spend their money elsewhere,” said Smith.
A pension deal brokered when times were good in Sacramento, is now creating a sketchy public safety scenario.
Unlike police, Sacramento Firefighters Union has reached a tentative agreement on pension reform. If the members pass it, they will survive another fiscal year with no layoffs.