The will vote tonight on an agreement to cut the pay of members of the Benicia Police Officers Association (BPOA). The vote to change the contract with the BPOA is part of the city’s plan to trim $1.7 million from the 2011-2012 budget.
“It’s not the usual process,” said City Manager Brad Kilger, noting that usually the council vote comes after the union members have ratified the agreement. “We were trying to accommodate them (BPOA). We were trying to meet a deadline so the retro wouldn’t go into another pay period.”
The “retro” refers to the retroactive pay cut officers will have to absorb. The pay cuts are retroactive to July 1, 2011.
The police union has scheduled its ratification vote for Wednesday, Aug. 24.
The City and the Benicia Police Officers Association have been in contract negotiations since May. On Aug. 8, 2011, the City and BPOA representatives tentatively agreed to a number of compensation and benefit reductions that achieve a total savings of approximately $298,786 per fiscal year in ongoing savings, and is the equivalent of a 6.86 percent reduction in base pay plus associated payroll costs.
The salary and benefit reductions are similar to the types of concessions that have already been agreed to by four other employee bargaining units at the City and include a significant cost-share of the City’s rising pension costs.
In a statement released Friday Kilger said that, “if approved by both parties, this action will greatly assist the City’s efforts to make the necessary reductions in order to address the City’s structural deficit.”
He also said, “I understand that a reduction of this level in compensation is significant for City employees, and I greatly appreciate the efforts of the BPOA to come to tentative agreement with the City.”
Asked if he thought the rank and file would agree to the pay concessions, Kilger wasn’t ready to make a prediction. “At this stage, I do not know if it will pass,” he said. “We have a signed tentative agreement. We have to rely on their representatives.”