City Manager Jim Jakel said members of the Antioch Police Officers Association (APOA) agreed to give up raises that have been deferred since 2009 – totaling 12.5 percent. Jakel said the move will save the cash-strapped city roughly $1.9 million.
Under the new agreement, sworn officers will receive a 6-percent raise and non-sworn members 5 percent. The increase won’t have much impact on take-home pay, however, as the agreement increases employee contributions to their pension plans by the same amounts. Sworn employees will now contribute nine percent to their retirement, non-sworn employees will contribute eight percent. Both had previously contributed three percent.
The agreement, which is tentative until the Antioch City Council votes on it Tuesday, also ensures that no officers will be laid off for a year. The new contract ends Aug. 31, 2016.
“It’s not a deal that either side is going to be jumping up and down (about), but it’s at least a deal that both sides are happy with and it provides some economic stability for the city,” said Antioch Police Officers Association President Sgt. Tom Fuhrmann. “It’s about saving jobs and bringing some peace of mind to the employees that are here.”
At deadline, city officials were still determining the total financial impact of the new agreement. Full details will be conveyed in the staff report for Tuesday’s Antioch City Council meeting.
There is some relief for officers under the new agreement, which gives them a 3-percent salary increase in March of 2013 and a 4-percent hike in September of 2013.
The new agreement also makes some reductions to the officers’ retirement benefits. Cost-of-living adjustments to their pensions will go from a maximum of 5 percent to 2 percent. For new hires to the department, retirement pay will start at age 55 instead of 50 (50 is the level for current officers). Also, the base salary used to determine retirement will change from the highest salary earned by the employee during their career. The new pact changes the base to the average of the highest three salaries that the officer earned.
Jakel noted that other labor organizations in the city have conceded roughly a combined $3 million in salary and raises. The concessions made by the APOA will help keep the city afloat.
“It was nip and tuck for the city’s financial stability,” Jakel said. “It’s been a long series of discussions. But I can’t speak more highly of the people who work here.”
The latest round of negotiations, which amended the contract ending Dec. 31, was cheerier than last year’s talks in which six Antioch officers received layoff notices that were later rescinded.
The Antioch Police Department is now in a position to heal some of the wounds. City Council members decided at a recent meeting to allow the department to hire three full-time officers and five non-sworn part-time cops, who will not receive benefits.